I have been using

sudo find / -iname '*foo*' 2>/dev/null | vim

to get a list of directories/files containing foo, and then I inspect this list, edit it, and write a bunch of new commands inside of vim.

After writing my commands inside of vim, I copy what I have written and quit vim then I paste it into the new command line.

Vim is my C-x C-e command line editor.

Can I make it so that :wq from inside of this vim session automatically fills the command line with the buffer?

As it would had I started vim with C-x C-e instead of vim.

How can I start a C-x C-e vim session with piped input?

  • 1
    To be clear, you want to open vim, and then in an empty buffer type echo something in that empty buffer and then you want to execute that buffer content? Then basically superuser.com/questions/266934/… ?
    – KamilCuk
    Dec 27, 2020 at 15:32
  • @KamilCuk I want to write the buffer to the command line, not :! execute the command from within vim. Dec 27, 2020 at 15:37
  • I want to write the buffer to the command line So like save to temporary file and then output that file? Along .... | ( tmp=$(mktemp); trap 'rm "$tmp"' EXIT; cat > "$tmp"; vim "$tmp"; cat "$tmp"; ) ?
    – KamilCuk
    Dec 27, 2020 at 15:53
  • @KamilCuk you know if you press C-x C-e while you are at the command line, it opens up your configured text editor, so that you can edit the command line in your preferred environment. I want to start that C-x C-e session with buffer contents as provided by previous command's pipeline Dec 27, 2020 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


You could use vipe (from moreutils) as:

sudo find / -iname '*foo*' 2>/dev/null | vipe | "$SHELL"

Where vipe lets you edit the piped input and then feed it to your preferred shell.


sudo find / -iname '*foo*' 2>/dev/null | vipe | xclip -sel c

To save the edited pipe into the CLIPBOARD X11 selection.

vipe will launch the editor stored in $VISUAL, or $EDITOR if $VISUAL is not set or vi if neither is set.

If you want to push the result of that editing directly onto your shell's history, with zsh, that could be:

print -rs -- "$(sudo find / -iname '*foo*' 2>/dev/null | vipe)"

(and recall that with the Up key).

To put it directly into the shell's editing buffer, still with zsh, replace print -rs with print -rz.

Or if you don't have vipe:

(){vim $1 && print -rz -- "$(<$1)"} =(sudo find / -iname '*foo*' 2> /dev/null)

You could make a function for it like:

vif sudovif() {
  () {
    vim $1 &&
      print -rz -- "$(<$1)"
  } =(${0%vif} find "$@")
vif / -iname '*foo*'

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