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A vi text editor clone for the MSX 8-bit home computer.


MSX-vi is a clone of the vi text editor for the MSX computer.

MSX is a 8-bit computer system created in 1983 by Microsoft and ASCII Corporation. It was very popular in Japan, some European countries, Korea and Brazil. Although it's not widely used nowadays, it still has a great number of enthusiasts creating hardware and software for the platform.

Vi is a text editor originally created for the Unix operating system. It became very popular and today there are many different clones available on multiple platforms.

Minimum requirements

  • MSX2 computer (or emulator)
  • MSX-DOS2


My passion for technology started when my parents gave me as a present my first computer. I was 9 years old and the computer was a MSX. At the beginning I was using it just to play games, but I started learning programming by myself (first Logo and Basic later). Nowadays I still enjoy playing with MSX and trying to learn better how it works internally.

Thanks to Javi Lavandeira's tutorials Relearning MSX on how to program with C for the MSX, I started writing my first programs and tests, and I started to have the idea on writing a vi clone. As far as I know there is nothing similar on the MSX.

I started writing code, but a text editor is way more complex than it looks. Memory management was very difficult for my limited C knowledge. At the end I abandoned the project.

Few months later I discovered the Build Your Own Text Editor tutorial. It is a step by step guide on how to write Antirez's kilo text editor. I started reading it and I decided to try again writing the vi clone for MSX.


Online Emulator

Try it online:

Note: In some keyboards, the : key doesn't work in WebMSX.


MSX-vi welcome screen

MSX-vi editing large file

Supported commands

Exiting and saving

  • :q: Exit the editor as long there are no changes
  • :q!: Exit the editor without saving any changes
  • :w: Save changes to current file
  • :w filename: Save changes to filename
  • :wq: Save changes to current file and exit


  • ESC: Enter command mode
  • CONTROL d: Move one page down
  • CONTROL u: Move one page up
  • h: Move left
  • j: Move down
  • k: Move up
  • l: Move right
  • 0: Move to the begining of the line
  • $: Move to the end of the line
  • H: Go to top of the screen
  • M: Go to middle of the screen
  • L: Go to bottom of the screen
  • gg: Go to the beginning of the file
  • G: Go to the end of the file
  • w: Move to next word
  • b: Move to previous word
  • e: Move to the end of the word
  • :N: Go to line N

Deleting text

  • dd: Delete current line
  • d0: Delete until the beginning of the line
  • d$: Delete until the end of the line
  • dG: Delete ultil the end of the file
  • x: Delete a single character
  • X: Delete a single character to the left of cursor

Inserting text

  • r: Replace current character
  • a: Enter insert mode after the cursor
  • A: Enter insert mode after the current line
  • i: Enter insert mode at the cursor
  • I: Enter insert mode before the current line
  • o: Insert a new line after the current one
  • O: Insert a new line before the current one


  • /string: Search forward for string
  • ?string: Search backards for string
  • n: Search next ocurrence (forward)
  • N: Search next ocurrence (backards)

Other commands

  • :color fg bg bd: Changes the screen colors
  • CONTROL l: Refresh screen

Compile requirements

  • SDCC 3.5.0 (it doesn't work with newer versions)
  • GNU make
  • openMSX (for testing)