The vi editor provides a powerful, (V)isually (I)nteractive text
editor that provides a continuously updated text display as editing
progresses. However, vi imposes several limits that must be
considered when the user departs from the range of typical
The commands and other conditions that these limits affect are
described below. Although these limits rarely affect most users,
they are grouped here for your convenience should you need to
know what they are.
vi can only be used to edit text files, not binary files
(such as complied programs) or directories.
MAXIMUM LINE LENGTH:
vi allows line lengths up to 1024 characters, including a
small number of characters (about 2 or 3) used for overhead.
In general, unless your line lengths exceed 1024 characters,
you should not have difficulty.
If you load in a text file with lines longer than the
maximum allowed, they will be truncated to the maximum.
Be careful not to store such an editor file away if the
information was important; all the additional text will be
MAXIMUM FILE SIZE:
On some UNIX systems, memory constraints may limit maximum
file size. However, generally the system capacity is such
that the file size is rarely, if ever, of concern since the
silently enforced maximum file length is 250,000 lines.
vi copies the source file being edited into a separate
buffer area (temporary storage location) during the editing
Other limitations you are likely to encounter as you reach
more advanced levels include:
* 256 characters per global command list
* 14 characters in a filename in vi. (Berkeley 4.x-based
UNIX systems usually support longer filenames up to 256
* 128 characters in the previous insert/delete buffer
* 100 characters in a shell escape command
* 63 characters in a string-valued option (:set command)
For more information, refer to the vi(c) in the SCO UNIX
System V/386 or SCO XENIX System V User's Reference manual.