Quick Tip – Show Hidden Characters In Editor VI

So back when I started in IT 1999 one of my first jobs was to set up a bind (DNS) server on Linux. Before I was allowed to take on that task I was told to learn the default editor in Linux and UNIX systems, meaning visual editor also known as vi.

There are a ton of good and useful quick commands available in vi which I will not get into here but I wanted to highlight one command that I have used twice in the past week and that is the command to see hidden characters in a file.

When you want to show hidden characters in vi you simply write the below (including the semi colon)

:set list

What you’ll see can be similar to the below

When you want to remove the hidden characters you simply write the below (including the semi colon)

:set nolist

And the file gets back to its normal layout