How To Quit Vim
A lot of people would have you believe that Vim is near impossible to quit. I'm here to dispel the rumors and show that there are quite a few ways to quit Vim.
The Basic Quit
First thing if you start up a new Vim session with just
vim, you'll see a
sort of splash screen. Below the title and copyright information is this
type :q<Enter> to exit
This is a good place to start because it is perhaps the most straightforward
way to quit a Vim session -- the
:quit command. It does come with
some minor caveats.
Here is the first caveat. If the current file (or some other file open in another buffer) has been edited, but not yet saved, then Vim will stop you from quitting. It wants to make sure you don't accidentally lose your changes.
If you're sure you want to quit and discard any unsaved changes, then you
can use a more forceful version of the quit command --
:q!. This will quit
without writing changes to the modified file.
The other caveat to the
:quit command is that what it is really doing is
quitting the current window. If you have split windows or multiple tabs
:q will only quit the one that is in focus.
Save And Quit
More often than not -- whether we use Vim as our primary editor or just need
it occasionally to edit files on a remote server -- we want to save the
changes we make. We can write the changes to the current file to disc and
quit in one command with
Something to note about the
:wq command is that it will always do a disc
write, even if the file hasn't actually been edited. That means the
modified date on the file will be updated even if no actual changes were
made to the file. If you'd like only do a disc write when the file has
actually changed, then you should use the
:x command. It is short for
:xit. It will write only if changes have been made and then quit.
Normal Mode Quits
There are two keybindings that allow you to quit from Normal mode, rather than Command mode.
ZZ binding can be used to write and quit. It works in the exact same
:x. You may find it easier to hold shift and hit
Z twice than to
fumble for the
: key. Do what works best for you.
There is an accompanying
ZQ binding which quits without checking for
changes. It works in the same way as
:q command only quits the current window or tab, we have the
:qall) command which we can use to quit all of it at once. Vim
will only quit files that are unmodified. If you'd like to quit everything
and ignore unwritten changes, use the more forceful version,
Another command that behaves similarly is
:cq. Vim describes this command
Quit always, without writing, and return an error code.
It works nearly the same as
:qa, but returns a non-zero exit code. One
place in particular that I have found this useful is quitting out of a Git
commit message screen, especially during an amend, when I want to back out
of the commit.
Vim gets a tough rap for being hard to use and hard to quit. This post shows that there are quite a few different ways to quit a Vim session. Each of these ways can be utilized in different situations depending on the effect you want quitting to have.
Cover photo: Alexander Andrews