How to use visudo

If you don’t know what it is, you probably shouldn’t be using it. That said, to edit your /etc/sudoers file you need to use

sudo visudo

You have two “modes”
• Command mode – Press ‘ESC’ to access.
• Insert mode – Press ‘I’ to access.
You’re always in one or the other.

• To move the insertion point around, press ‘ESC’ and use the arrow keys.
• Once you’re where you want to be, press ‘I’ and start entering text.
• To delete a character, you need to be in command mode, select the character and press the delete key. (Note: not the Backspace key) You can do this in insert mode, but it does some funky things with the text.
• To save your changes, in command mode, type :w and press enter.
• To quit, in command mode, type :q and press enter.
• To quit without saving any changes, in command mode, type :q! and press enter.

Be careful, if you mess it up, you will no longer be able to sudo. Then you need to sudo to fix it. Bit of a problem there. To fix it, you need to login as root, run visudo, and fix the file.

Posted in Linux. 12 Comments »

12 Responses to “How to use visudo”

  1. mihai2k Says:

    Thank you for this post. Helped me a lot with my ubuntu:)

  2. Keith Says:

    I spent an hour trying to figure out the V! editor; thanks so much for the post.

  3. Dan Says:

    Very clear and concise. Helped me. Thanks.

  4. Jared Says:

    This was helpful. Thanks for posting it. For some reason I couldn’t delete text correctly until I realized I had to type ‘d’ and then press the right arrow. Pressing ‘d’ then down would delete a whole line! ‘Vi’va la Emacs!

  5. deb Says:

    This was helpful — Thx

  6. Van Vo Says:

    This is wonderful documents. Good job! Mathew

  7. Muhammed Refaai Says:

    Reblogged this on Muhammed Refaai and commented:
    Interesting tip for adding your account on sudoers.d file!😉

  8. dtrain Says:

    Thanks for the help, you really saved me some time.
    Reblogged on dtraindesigns

  9. Vincenzo Says:

    Clear and concise explanation, thank you!!!!
    You saved me:)

  10. Rayoomh Says:

    please I have a question but I can’t solve it, can you solve me. I must to do it in LUNIX.


    – enter the command (visudo) t edit the /etc/sudoers file. what is the command Alias for /usr/bin/updated?

  11. dowlers Says:

    My sudo is messed up but I could run visudo using: pkexec visudo

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