I know "expose one more line" for Ctrl-E, but why use Ctrl-Y to expose one more line at the top? Is there an easy mnemonic for this that I'm missing?

  • 4
    It goes y'up the file.
    – Rich
    Nov 16, 2017 at 11:29

2 Answers 2


Bill Joy and Mark Horton wrote in their original vi manual:

If you want to see more of the file below where you are, you can hit ^E to expose one more line at the bottom of the screen, leaving the cursor where it is. The command ^Y (which is hopelessly non-mnemonic, but next to ^U on the keyboard) exposes one more line at the top of the screen.

So, "next to u" was the motivation, and can serve as a mnemonic, I guess.

The Y also sort of represents an arrow pointing up (↑) if you squint a little bit (it has the head of the arrow inverted).

  • 8
    if you squint a little bit ;-)
    – romainl
    Oct 20, 2015 at 10:24
  • 2
    I see control e and control y as both being "sort of to the left of the control d and control u keys they're related to".
    – user859
    Oct 20, 2015 at 16:18

I like to call <C-y> "Yester-line"™ like "Yesterday". Explaining it along with <C-e> rhymes, too. "Extra-line" and "Yester-line"™.

  • 5
    This is brilliant and you deserve some sort of award.
    – mtraceur
    Jun 29, 2019 at 21:20
  • Well at least he got reputation points. I christen it "The 21 points in VI stackexchange" award Jul 17, 2023 at 19:26
  • Like Vim golf, every point makes a difference.
    – ddrscott
    Sep 15, 2023 at 15:24

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