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Exit Vim How to exit Vim

jeremy profile image Jeremy Schuurmans Updated on ・1 min read

To exit Vim:

  1. If you are in edit mode, first press the <Esc> key.
  2. Then enter :wq + <Enter> to save and exit.

It's rare that you would ever want to, but to exit without saving, you can run
:q! + <Enter>

UPDATE (7-31-2020): When I wrote this I was a beginner at Vim, and couldn't understand why anyone would exit the editor without saving. Now that I've been using it for a while, I use :q! all the time.


markdown guide

Come now, we're just scratching the surface...

Given you're in command mode:

  • :wqa will write, quit all buffers (in case you have more than one)
  • :x will also save and quit
  • :ex as above
  • ZZ will save and quit
  • ZQ will just quit
  • :1,5wq will save only lines 1 to 5 and quit

There's more. A lot more. Interested? :h quit will take you to the Vim help section on quitting.


Haha! Absolutely! I was hoping for comments just like this. Thank you, and keep the Vim tricks coming!


It's day 728

I'm still stuck in Vim

With 2.54839e30 possible key-press combinations, it has become evident that my human typing capabilities alone are not going to brute force the phrase that will allow my exit

I am now on the 7th revision of my quantum computer program in an attempt to solve this issue

Send help


It's rare that you would ever want to

You must be far more organized than I am. I feel like I do this all the time.


That's fair. I wish I was much more organized than I am. It was just drilled in me by all my teachers to never close my editor without saving, so I do it almost as a reflex. I used Atom before starting to learn Vim, and would always <Ctrl-S> before exiting, so now it's :wq all the time.


I think part of it is that I also use Vim as a quick way to just read a file, to reference it or check a value. When I do that, I want to ensure I haven't inadvertently made an edit. Vim is helpful in that it defaults to normal mode, but :q! gives me some extra peace of mind that I haven't done something dumb.

Good point! I'll keep that in mind for the future as well. I'm looking forward to learning all the things I can do with it aside from writing code more efficiently.



"How do I undo in vim? Ugh. I hate vim. Stuff this, I'll do it over."

ESC :q!

goes to find a friendly editor, or SCP the file to workstation

SSHFS and VS-Code's remote extension are saving my sanity.


To exit without saving, I suggest

:!kill -9 $PPID


I was taught to pronounce :wq as "write and quit" and :q! As "quit, dammit". 😊


I wish I could find the original where I saw this...

Gandalf, reading a battered old file from the server:

They have taken the bridge… and the second hall.
We have barred the gates… but cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes.
Drums… drums… in the deep
:wq :w :q!
A shadow moves in the dark
:x :x! :quit :help
^Z ^C ^X ^[^[x ^D
We cannot get out. They are coming


To remember when to use :wq and :q! without getting confused, I always say it out loud.

wq = write (to disk) and quit
q! = quit without writing (to disk)


Please can someone tell me why this rugged editor is worth using.