I run into a problem while practicing the Ex mode by running sh command, following this tutorial. I cannot go back to the editing file[s].

  1. I can see the .swp dot file by running ls -a.
  2. None listed by running jobs
  3. fg can neither call it back.

I cannot find a relavant question here, except this one, but absolutely it cannot tackle this problem. Please point me in the right direction.

2 Answers 2


Type exit at the prompt and press Enter to terminate the current shell session and come back to Vim and your previous session.

$ jobs and $ fg don't work because you don't have background jobs in the current shell session. Those commands would work if you used <C-z> instead of :sh, though.

:sh suspends the current shell session and starts a new one in which you can't access processes running or suspended in the previous one. The only way to get back the previous session is to terminate the current one.

<C-z> only suspends Vim. This puts you back in the shell where you started Vim and where you can see Vim with $ jobs and switch back to it with $ fg.


I've found that typing Ctrl+C would go back to command input and then typing visual should bring you back to normal editing the document.

  • I think you are confusing the command line window (opened with q:) and the :sh command which opens a new shell session.
    – statox
    Jul 13, 2017 at 6:53

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