from within vi, pipe a chunk of lines to a command line and replace the chunk with the result

The vi key sequence !}command will send the file contents from the cursor to the next blank line as STDOUT to the command specified and replace that sequence of file lines with the output of the command. For example: sorting a block of data - !}sort The sequence !{command will do the same but "upwards" (from the current position towards the start of the file.
Sample Output

By: mpb
2009-03-28 00:18:39

What Others Think

this works in normal mode, not command mode as I first thought.
bwoodacre · 616 weeks and 6 days ago
I think you mean the block will be passed as STDIN to the command... A more useful(for me) variant is to highlight the text/lines in visual mode then type ":!sort"(the colon seems to be optional), leaving out the curly brace. You can also specify line ranges "10,20!sort" to sort lines 10 through 20. You can also pass parameters to the command (":!sort -f" to ignore case).
leper421 · 605 weeks and 3 days ago
@leper421 No, I mean as STDOUT from using "!}sort" inside vi which is the piped to the sort command. It is, of course, STDIN for the sort command.
mpb · 470 weeks and 5 days ago

What do you think?

Any thoughts on this command? Does it work on your machine? Can you do the same thing with only 14 characters?

You must be signed in to comment.

What's this? is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again. That way others can gain from your CLI wisdom and you from theirs too. All commands can be commented on, discussed and voted up or down.

Share Your Commands

Stay in the loop…

Follow the Tweets.

Every new command is wrapped in a tweet and posted to Twitter. Following the stream is a great way of staying abreast of the latest commands. For the more discerning, there are Twitter accounts for commands that get a minimum of 3 and 10 votes - that way only the great commands get tweeted.


Subscribe to the feeds.

Use your favourite RSS aggregator to stay in touch with the latest commands. There are feeds mirroring the 3 Twitter streams as well as for virtually every other subset (users, tags, functions,…):

Subscribe to the feed for: