Hi Sun Managers,
The overwhelming response was to use :set list to display
characters from within vi (:set nolist to turn them off)
Other aproaches involved using od (cat file | od -c > /tmp/filename)
and a binary editor called beav which i haven't tried.
cat -vet filename also works well
If emacs(1) is installed, you can use the hexl-find-file and hexl-mode
commands to display and edit the binary content of files.
Many thanks to all that replied (~40 messages!)
> Is there any way of displaying 'hidden' characters in a text file
> as spaces, newlines, tabs from within vi or from a utility.
> e.g to distinguish between...
> this line has no characters
> this line has a trailing space and a return line<space><returnline>
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