How to password protect files in Vim Editor

Vim is a powerful, feature-rich, extensible text editor that is used on all Linux operating systems. It is available in the repositories of almost all major Linux distributions. Due to its performance and low memory consumption, this is the best choice for most Linux users. Another useful feature of the Vim editor is its built-in encryption support. This is very useful, especially in a multi-user environment where you can encrypt your files so that no one can access your sensitive information.

In this article we will talk about how to password protect your files in the Vim editor. We used the Debian 10 OS to explain the procedure mentioned in this article.

Install Vim

Since Vim is available in the official Debian repositories, we can install it using the apt-get command. Launch a terminal and enter the following command to install the vim editor on your Debian OS.

$ sudo apt-get install vim

The system will ask for confirmation by providing you Y / N option. Click Y confirm and wait a while until the installation is completed on your system.

Create a password protected file using Vim

When you finish installing vim editor, open it.

Now create the file using the Vim editor using -X a flag followed by a file name as follows:

$ vim –x 

For example, I create a file name as testfile.txt:

$ vim –x testfile.txt

-X The flag will allow you to create encrypted files.

Create password protected file

You will be asked to enter the encryption key. Enter the key and press Enter, and you will be asked to remove the same key. Enter key

Now you can add text to the file created above by clicking -I am key. After that, press Esc and enter : WQ save and exit the file.

Save Password Protected File

The password protected file has now been successfully created using the Vim editor.

Access Password Protected File

The encrypted file created by the Vim editor can only be read and accessed through the Vim editor. if you try to access it in other ways, it will be shown to you as unwanted text.

For example, if we try to access it using the cat command:

$ cat testfile.txt

Here’s what our password-protected file will look like:

Encrypted file

Now open it using the Vim editor using the following syntax:

$ vim 

For instance,

$ vim testfile.txt

You will now be asked to enter the same encryption key that was used to encrypt the file. Enter the key, and now you can see the original content.

Change password for file in vim

The password for the encrypted file can also be changed. To do this, open the file in Vim and click :X,

Save file

You will be prompted to enter a new encryption key and confirm it. Enter the key twice and press To come in,

Enter a new password

After that click Esc and enter : WQ save and exit the file.

Password Removal

To remove a password from an encrypted file, open the file in the Vim editor and click :X.

Remove encryption from vim file

Now when you are prompted to enter the encryption key, leave it blank and just click To come in twice. Then click Esc key and type : WQ save and exit the file.

Enter a blank password to remove the password protection from the file

Therefore, now you will not need to specify the encryption key when accessing the file.

We discussed how to password protect files using the vim editor. This is a great way to protect files in the editor. However, when encrypting, be sure to remember the passwords used to encrypt files, otherwise you will not be able to access them.

How to password protect files in Vim Editor