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YZlatFlag for United States of America

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having trouble with vi editor

I am using vi editor to edit file on the UNIX server. In vi editor x deletes a character and dd deletes a whole line.

Sometimes both x and dd work for me and sometimes when I hit x it just types in 'x' character. How do i switch back and forth between being able to type and using UNIX shortcuts?
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woolmilkporc
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Sorry, <R> for replace mode.
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Thanks!