I use vi mode in zsh, tmux and my favorite text editor (vim obviously). I'm interested to have this behavior in the whole system. I know I can use plugins in firefox, thunderbird, etc. but if there is an option to do it everywhere may be interesting.

  • Unlikely. Each application is written separately, often by different developers. Applying "vi" mode to that application is purely down to the developers of each app (and not something I'd see all developers doing...)
    – Drav Sloan
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


As far as I know Drav Sloan is correct: there is no universal "vi" mode setting.

You can ease the pain for a lot of more modern command line programs by having a file named $HOME/.inputrc with this line in it:

set editing-mode vi

A lot of programs use readline, gnuplot, psql, impala-shell and others. This may get you most of way to where you want to be.

  • It works with irb and pry. Not the perfect solution but I think it can't be better. May be a solution can be done at desktop manager level...
    – Dougui
    Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 0:44

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