How to Delete Line in Vim on Linux?

Vim (Vi IMproved) is one of the most popular text editors used in the Linux environment. It is a command-line based editor that was initially developed as a free and open-source alternative to the widely-used Vi editor. However, Vim has evolved to be much more than just an alternative.

It has become an indispensable tool for programmers, system administrators, and power users who work with text files regularly. One of the primary reasons why Vim is so important for Linux users is its efficiency and flexibility.

Unlike traditional graphical user interface (GUI) editors, Vim focuses on quick navigation and editing through keyboard shortcuts, making it ideal for those who prefer working on the command line or those who want to optimize their workflow.

Basic Commands for Navigation in Vim

Vim is a text editor widely used by developers and programmers working on Linux systems. It’s a powerful tool that allows users to navigate through files, perform editing tasks, and execute commands with ease.

However, for beginners, Vim can be quite intimidating. To get started with Vim, it’s important to learn the basic commands for navigation first.

Explanation of Basic Commands for Navigating Through a File in Vim

When opening a file in Vim, it's important to understand how to move around within the document. The most crucial commands that allow for movement within the document are h (left), j (down), k (up), and l (right).

Instead of reaching out for your mouse or trackpad every time you need to scroll up or down, these commands allow you to move quickly and efficiently through a file. Another important command is G which allows users to jump directly to the end of the file.

Examples of Basic Commands such as Moving Up/Down, Scrolling and Searching

Moving up or down within a document can be done using j and k keys respectively. In addition to this basic movement mechanism provided by these two letters keypresses which moves one line at a time there are options like Ctrl+F which scrolls forward one page at a time or Ctrl+B which scrolls back one page at time instead of moving one line at once.

Searching within files is an important feature in any text editor including Vim. The '/' command followed by search term allows us search forward inside our current buffer while '?' does so backwards inside our current buffer.

Deleting a Line in Vim

Deleting a line in Vim is a basic operation that every beginner should learn. It comes handy when you want to remove unwanted lines from your code or text files. There are various ways to delete a line in Vim, and this section will cover two of the most common methods: using the dd command and using visual mode.

Step-by-step guide on how to delete a line in Vim

The easiest way to delete a line in Vim is by using the dd command. The following steps will guide you through the process −

  • Open the file in which you want to delete a line by typing vim filename.ext on your terminal.

  • Use the arrow keys, or alternatively, press j or k keys to move the cursor to the line you want to delete.

  • Once you have positioned your cursor on that specific line, type dd (that’s two d’s) and then press enter.

  • The entire current line will be deleted from your file.

Remember that when you use this method, only one line will be deleted at once. If you want to delete multiple lines, repeat steps 2-4 for each of them.

Explanation of different ways to delete a line such as using visual mode

Another technique for deleting lines is through visual mode. This method allows you to select multiple lines before deleting them all at once. To use visual mode for deleting lines −

  • Open your file with vim filename.ext command

  • Use arrow keys, or alternatively j/k keys until the cursor reaches first character of first row which should be deleted

  • Type Shift-v (capital V) - this enters Visual Line mode

  • Move Cursor down till last row which needs deleting

  • Type d - deletes all highlighted rows This can be quicker than using 'dd', especially if multiple lines need deleting.

Advanced Techniques for Deleting Lines

The Power of Advanced Line Deletion Techniques

While basic line deletion in Vim is a powerful tool, there are more advanced techniques available for deleting lines that can save you time and increase your efficiency. These techniques include deleting multiple lines at once and deleting lines based on specific criteria. One of the main benefits of mastering these advanced line deletion techniques is their ability to speed up your workflow.

Deleting Multiple Lines at Once

To delete multiple lines at once in Vim, you can use the d command followed by a number indicating how many lines you want to delete. For example, to delete five consecutive lines starting from the current cursor position, type "5dd". This deletes the current line plus four additional lines below it.

Deleting Lines Based on Specific Criteria

In addition to deleting multiple consecutive or non-consecutive lines at once, Vim also allows users to easily delete only those lines that match specific criteria. For example, if there are several blank or comment-only-lines spread across a file which needs removing all together then this feature comes handy. To do so in Vim on Linux, first enter Ex mode by pressing ":" while in normal mode.

Then type "%g/pattern/d" where "pattern" represents the word or phrase for which you want to search. This command deletes all lines that contain the specified pattern.

Tips and Tricks

Customizing Vim for Faster Line Deletion

Vim is an incredibly customizable text editor, which means that you can create custom key mappings or macros to make deleting lines even more efficient. For example, you might create a custom key mapping that deletes the current line and moves your cursor to the beginning of the next line with just a single command.

To do this, you would add "map dd :normal dd^M" to your .vimrc file, where ^M represents a carriage return (which can be inserted by pressing Ctrl-V followed by Ctrl-M in insert mode). Another way to customize Vim for faster line deletion is to use plugins like vim-multiple-cursors or vim-surround.

The Power of Macros

Macros are one of Vim's most powerful features, allowing you to record a sequence of commands as a macro and then repeat it with just a single keystroke. This is particularly useful for repetitive tasks like deleting lines or blocks of text. To record a macro that deletes the current line and moves your cursor down one line, press "q" followed by any letter (e.g., "a").

Then type "ddj" (which deletes the current line and moves down one), followed by "q" again to stop recording the macro. Once you've recorded your macro, you can repeat it as many times as necessary by pressing "@" followed by the letter you chose for your macro (e.g., "@a").


Being able to delete lines efficiently in Vim is an essential skill for any Linux user. Whether you are editing configuration files or writing code, being able to delete unwanted lines quickly can save you time and streamline your workflow.

By using the basic commands for navigation and deletion, users can easily remove individual lines with ease. With the advanced techniques such as deleting multiple lines or deleting based on specific criteria, users can save even more time with their editing tasks.

Updated on: 07-Jun-2023

7K+ Views

Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started