I pressed :wq to write and quit.

Except now I see a Command Line at the bottom and nothing I do makes vi respond (Enter, Esc, Ctrl+c, :, q, etc.). How do I get back to civilisation from here? If you can save my file at the same time, bonus! Otherwise, I'll try editing it again... if I can ever exit!

  • That's annoying! It unfroze itself (and deleted the contents, but didn't save it) while I was asking this question. Apparently you need to ask a question on this site to get it to work again... Answers still welcome for next time!
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 5:56
  • 2
    Assuming you are using vim in a terminal, not gvim: could you have press Ctrl+s by accident, thus freezing the terminal? This would have rendered vi irresponsive. If that was the case, you could have used Ctrl+q to unfreeze.
    – guillem
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 6:06
  • @guillem How can I tell if vi runs vi or vim... or gvim?
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 6:09
  • The command :echo has('gui_running') shows 1 for gvim, and 0 for vim. Furthermore, gvim does not freeze by pressing Ctrl+s.
    – guillem
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 14:06
  • Thanks for the edit @Carpetsmoker. However, you deleted the bit that I pressed a whole bunch of other keys first. I think that was important.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Nov 2, 2017 at 22:45

2 Answers 2


You probably pressed q: instead of :q. The q: command opens the commandline window.

You can close it like any other window by using :q, :close, or <C-w>w.

Some people like to disable this mapping:

:nnoremap q: <Nop>

Or have it auto-correct to :q:

:nnoremap q: :q

Maybe you are in Ex mode? You can get there by typing Q in command mode. Type :visual and press Enter to exit from it.

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