I'm using grep -e Peugeot -e PeuGeot carlist.txt to search through carlist.txt and pull out some items and I presumed that grep -e Peugeot -e PeuGeot carlist.txt | vi would pipe it through for me but this is what I get:

Vim: Warning: Input is not from a terminal
Vim: Error reading input, exiting...
Vim: preserving files...
Vim: Finished.
  • if you want to include it in a file, I'd first use vi on the file, and then : :read !grep -e Peugeot -e PeuGeot carlist.txt . :read !cmd... will include the output of cmd... in the file (at the cursor's location) – Olivier Dulac Nov 21 '13 at 17:13
  • It's not clear what you mean by a "vi file". If you want the output to go into a file, use grep ... > /tmp/foo. You can add && vi /tmp/foo on the end if you want to edit that file immediately. – LarsH Nov 21 '13 at 18:29
  • 1
    In fact there's no such thing as a "vi file". vi operates on arbitrary text files; the files themselves are not directly associated with vi. (Or, as I just learned, vi - will cause vi to operate on the contents of stdin; vim does this, but not all versions of vi do.) – Keith Thompson Nov 21 '13 at 19:45
  • Related: How to edit content from the standard input? at Vim SE – kenorb Feb 19 '15 at 13:06

Running vi or vim with '-' as an argument makes it read the file to edit from standard input. Hence:

grep -e Peugeot -e PeuGeot carlist.txt | vi -

will do what you need.

  • 2
    For anyone seeing this, attention: it expects from stdin. In some cases you'll have to redirect from stderr to stdin, e.g: valgrind my_file.out 2>&1 | vi - – Ciro Costa Sep 30 '15 at 3:08
  • This removes search highlightings – MD. Mohiuddin Ahmed Nov 6 '16 at 9:28
  • 2
    @MD.MohiuddinAhmed, how do you expect to keep grep's search coloring (composed of nonprintable characters) inside of Vim? You can always just do a search in Vim. – Wildcard Nov 15 '16 at 6:25
  • I thought we can go with vim.org/scripts/script.php?script_id=302 plugin within vim. – MD. Mohiuddin Ahmed Nov 15 '16 at 13:20

You should use output redirection:

grep ... > newfile.txt && vi newfile.txt

Also, I think your grep can be improved:

grep 'Peu[gG]eot' carlist.txt > newfile.txt && vi newfile.txt

Apart of vim -, you can also use process substitution using the <(command) syntax, in example:

vim <(echo This is example.)
vim <(cat /etc/hosts)

See also:


Output redirection can also be used like this:

vi <(grep ...)

Even multiple command outputs can be redirected, as if they were saved in separate files:

vim -d <(ls) <(ls -a)

In ~/bin/r:

[ $# -eq 0 ] && set -- -;
exec vi -R "$@"

in ~/.vimrc:

:  au StdinReadPost * set buftype=nofile


ls |r
grep -e Peugeot -e PeuGeot carlist.txt | r

and I've got

r- () { "$@" | r; }

in my ~/.bashrc, so

r- ls -l

There are many effective ways to do what you want, either within vi(m) or outside vi(m).

Run your command, produce a (temporary) file, then edit the file (see Joseph R.'s answer)

grep -e"Peu[gG]eot" carlist.txt && vi /tmp/peugeot.txt

Run your command (in the background) to produce a temporary file, and edit the file, using ":e!" to refresh your file as it is produced (this is useful for logfiles, and other files being produced by another process, e.g. cron?),

grep -e "Peu[gG]eot" carlist.txt > /tmp/peugeot.txt &
vi /tmp/peugeot.txt

Run vi(m), and run a child process to create the temporary file, and then read it,

:!grep -e "Peu[gG]eot" carlist.txt > /tmp/peugeot.txt
:r /tmp/peugeot.txt

Or, just switch to the file,

:e /tmp/peugeot.txt

Run vi(m), and use the double-bang "!!" to have vi run the child command, taking the results and inserting them into the current location (overwrites the current line, so make sure you have a blank line),

!!grep -e "Peu[gG]eot" carlist.txt

And now you can write the file (if you want to) to any filename,

:w /tmp/someotherfilename.txt

And Petr Uzel's answer is also good,

grep -e "Peu[gG]eot" carlist.txt | vi -

Which reads from stdin

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