Use it with pride:
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iE :8888Et. .G8888. d88P Y88b 8888b 888 888 888
;i E888, ,8888, 888 888 88888b 888 888 888
D888, :8888: 888 888Y88b 888 888 888
D888, :8888: 888 88888 888 Y88b888 888 888
D888, :8888: 888 888 888 Y88888 888 888
D888, :8888: Y88b d88P 888 Y8888 Y88b. .d88P
888W, :8888: "Y8888P88 888 Y888 "Y88888P"
W88W: :8888: 88888b. 8888b. 88888b. .d88b.
DGGD: :8888: 888 "88b "88b 888 "88b d88""88b
:8888: 888 888 .d888888 888 888 888 888
:W888: 888 888 888 888 888 888 Y88..88P
:8888: 888 888 "Y888888 888 888 "Y88P"
tW88D Text Editor
NANO(1) General Commands Manual NANO(1)
nano - Nano's ANOther editor, inspired by Pico
nano [options] [[+line[,column]] file]...
nano [options] [[+[crCR](/|?)string] file]...
Since version 4.0, nano by default:
o does not automatically hard-wrap lines that become overlong,
o includes the line below the title bar in the editing area,
o does linewise (smooth) scrolling.
If you want the old, Pico behavior back, you can use --breaklonglines,
--emptyline, and --jumpyscrolling (or -bej for short).
nano is a small and friendly editor. It copies the look and feel of
Pico, but is free software, and implements several features that Pico
lacks, such as: opening multiple files, scrolling per line, undo/redo,
syntax coloring, line numbering, and soft-wrapping overlong lines.
When giving a filename on the command line, the cursor can be put on a
specific line by adding the line number with a plus sign (+) before the
filename, and even in a specific column by adding it with a comma.
(Negative numbers count from the end of the file or line.) The cursor
can be put on the first or last occurrence of a specific string by
specifying that string after +/ or +? before the filename. The string
can be made case sensitive and/or caused to be interpreted as a regular
expression by inserting c and/or r after the + sign. These search
modes can be explicitly disabled by using the uppercase variant of
those letters: C and/or R. When the string contains spaces, it needs
to be enclosed in quotes. To give an example: to open a file at the
first occurrence of the word "Foo", one would do:
nano +c/Foo file
As a special case: if instead of a filename a dash (-) is given, nano
will read data from standard input.
Entering text and moving around in a file is straightforward: typing
the letters and using the normal cursor movement keys. Commands are
entered by using the Control (^) and the Alt or Meta (M-) keys. Typing
^K deletes the current line and puts it in the cutbuffer. Consecutive
^Ks will put all deleted lines together in the cutbuffer. Any cursor
movement or executing any other command will cause the next ^K to over-
write the cutbuffer. A ^U will paste the current contents of the cut-
buffer at the current cursor position.
When a more precise piece of text needs to be cut or copied, one can
mark its start with ^6, move the cursor to its end (the marked text
will be highlighted), and then use ^K to cut it, or M-6 to copy it to
the cutbuffer. One can also save the marked text to a file with ^O, or
spell check it with ^T.
On some terminals, text can be selected also by holding down Shift
while using the arrow keys. Holding down the Ctrl or Alt key too will
increase the stride. Any cursor movement without Shift being held will
cancel such a selection.
The two lines at the bottom of the screen show some important commands;
the built-in help (^G) lists all the available ones. The default key
bindings can be changed via a nanorc file -- see nanorc(5).
Make the Home key smarter. When Home is pressed anywhere but at
the very beginning of non-whitespace characters on a line, the
cursor will jump to that beginning (either forwards or back-
wards). If the cursor is already at that position, it will jump
to the true beginning of the line.
When saving a file, back up the previous version of it, using
the current filename suffixed with a tilde (~).
-C directory, --backupdir=directory
Make and keep not just one backup file, but make and keep a
uniquely numbered one every time a file is saved -- when backups
are enabled (-B). The uniquely numbered files are stored in the
For the interface, use bold instead of reverse video. This will
be overridden by setting the options titlecolor, statuscolor,
keycolor, functioncolor, numbercolor, and/or selectedcolor in
your nanorc file. See nanorc(5).
Convert typed tabs to spaces.
Read a file into a new buffer by default.
Use vim-style file locking when editing files.
Save the last hundred search strings and replacement strings and
executed commands, so they can be easily reused in later ses-
Don't look at the system's nanorc nor at the user's nanorc.
-J number, --guidestripe=number
Draw a vertical stripe at the given column, to help judge the
width of the text. (The color of the stripe can be changed with
set stripecolor in your nanorc file.)
Interpret escape sequences directly (instead of asking ncurses
to translate them). If you need this option to get your key-
board to work properly, please report a bug. Using this option
disables nano's mouse support.
Don't automatically add a newline when a text does not end with
one. (This can cause you to save non-POSIX text files.)
Snip trailing whitespace from the wrapped line when automatic
hard-wrapping occurs or when text is justified.
Disable automatic conversion of files from DOS/Mac format.
Obsolete and ignored option, since the line below the title bar
is included into the editing space by default. If you prefer to
keep this line blank, use -e or --emptyline.
For the 200 most recent files, log the last position of the cur-
sor, and place it at that position again upon reopening such a
-Q "regex", --quotestr="regex"
Set the regular expression for matching the quoting part of a
line. The default value is "^([ \t]*([!#%:;>|}]|//))+". (Note
that \t stands for an actual Tab.) This makes it possible to
rejustify blocks of quoted text when composing email, and to re-
wrap blocks of line comments when writing source code.
Restricted mode: don't read or write to any file not specified
on the command line. This means: don't read or write history
files; don't allow suspending; don't allow spell checking; don't
allow a file to be appended to, prepended to, or saved under a
different name if it already has one; and don't make backup
files. Restricted mode can also be activated by invoking nano
with any name beginning with 'r' (e.g. "rnano").
Obsolete and ignored option, since smooth scrolling has become
the default. If you prefer the chunk-by-chunk scrolling behav-
ior, use -j or --jumpyscrolling.
-T number, --tabsize=number
Set the size (width) of a tab to number columns. The value of
number must be greater than 0. The default value is 8.
Do quick status-bar blanking: status-bar messages will disappear
after 1 keystroke instead of 25. Note that option -c (--con-
stantshow) overrides this.
Show the current version number and exit.
Detect word boundaries differently by treating punctuation char-
acters as part of a word.
-X "characters", --wordchars="characters"
Specify which other characters (besides the normal alphanumeric
ones) should be considered as part of a word. This overrides
option -W (--wordbounds).
-Y name, --syntax=name
Specify the name of the syntax highlighting to use from among
the ones defined in the nanorc files.
Let an unmodified Backspace or Delete erase the marked region
(instead of a single character, and without affecting the cut-
When doing soft line wrapping, wrap lines at whitespace instead
of always at the edge of the screen.
Automatically hard-wrap the current line when it becomes over-
long. (This option is the opposite of -w (--nowrap) -- the last
one given takes effect.)
Constantly show the cursor position on the status bar. Note
that this overrides option -U (--quickblank).
Interpret the Delete and Backspace keys differently so that both
Backspace and Delete work properly. You should only use this
option when on your system either Backspace acts like Delete or
Delete acts like Backspace.
Do not use the line below the title bar, leaving it entirely
-f file, --rcfile=file
Read only this file for setting nano's options, instead of read-
ing both the system-wide and the user's nanorc files.
Make the cursor visible in the file browser (putting it on the
highlighted item) and in the help viewer. Useful for braille
users and people with poor vision.
Show a summary of the available command-line options and exit.
Automatically indent a newly created line to the same number of
tabs and/or spaces as the previous line (or as the next line if
the previous line is the beginning of a paragraph).
Scroll the buffer contents per half-screen instead of per line.
Make the 'Cut Text' command (normally ^K) cut from the current
cursor position to the end of the line, instead of cutting the
Display line numbers to the left of the text area.
Enable mouse support, if available for your system. When en-
abled, mouse clicks can be used to place the cursor, set the
mark (with a double click), and execute shortcuts. The mouse
will work in the X Window System, and on the console when gpm is
running. Text can still be selected through dragging by holding
down the Shift key.
Treat any name given on the command line as a new file. This
allows nano to write to named pipes: it will start with a blank
buffer, and will write to the pipe when the user saves the
"file". This way nano can be used as an editor in combination
with for instance gpg without having to write sensitive data to
-o directory, --operatingdir=directory
Set the operating directory. This makes nano set up something
similar to a chroot.
Preserve the XON and XOFF sequences (^Q and ^S) so they will be
caught by the terminal.
-r number, --fill=number
Set the target width for justifying and automatic hard-wrapping
at this number of columns. If the value is 0 or less, wrapping
will occur at the width of the screen minus number columns, al-
lowing the wrap point to vary along with the width of the screen
if the screen is resized. The default value is -8.
-s "program [argument ...]", --speller="program [argument ...]"
Use this command to perform spell checking and correcting, in-
stead of using the built-in corrector that calls hunspell or GNU
Save a changed buffer without prompting (when exiting with ^X).
Save a file by default in Unix format. This overrides nano's
default behavior of saving a file in the format that it had.
(This option has no effect when you also use --noconvert.)
Just view the file and disallow editing: read-only mode. This
mode allows the user to open also other files for viewing, un-
less --restricted is given too.
Do not automatically hard-wrap the current line when it becomes
overlong. This is the default. (This option is the opposite of
-b (--breaklonglines) -- the last one given takes effect.)
Don't show the two help lines at the bottom of the screen.
Make Ctrl+Right stop at word ends instead of beginnings.
Enable the suspend ability.
Enable 'soft wrapping'. This will make nano attempt to display
the entire contents of any line, even if it is longer than the
screen width, by continuing it over multiple screen lines.
Since '$' normally refers to a variable in the Unix shell, you
should specify this option last when using other options (e.g.
'nano -wS$') or pass it separately (e.g. 'nano -wS -$').
Several of the above options can be switched on and off also while nano
is running. For example, M-L toggles the hard-wrapping of long lines,
M-S toggles soft-wrapping, M-N toggles line numbers, M-M toggles the
mouse, M-I auto-indentation, and M-X the help lines. See at the end of
the ^G help text for a complete list.
When --rcfile is given, nano will read just the specified file for set-
ting its options and syntaxes and key bindings. Without that option,
nano will read two configuration files: first the system's nanorc (if
it exists), and then the user's nanorc (if it exists), either ~/.nanorc
or $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/nano/nanorc or ~/.config/nano/nanorc, whichever is
encountered first. See nanorc(5) for more information on the possible
contents of those files.
If no alternative spell checker command is specified on the command
line nor in one of the nanorc files, nano will check the SPELL environ-
ment variable for one.
In some cases nano will try to dump the buffer into an emergency file.
This will happen mainly if nano receives a SIGHUP or SIGTERM or runs
out of memory. It will write the buffer into a file named nano.save if
the buffer didn't have a name already, or will add a ".save" suffix to
the current filename. If an emergency file with that name already ex-
ists in the current directory, it will add ".save" plus a number (e.g.
".save.1") to the current filename in order to make it unique. In
multibuffer mode, nano will write all the open buffers to their respec-
tive emergency files.
The recording and playback of keyboard macros works correctly only on a
terminal emulator, not on a Linux console (VT), because the latter does
not by default distinguish modified from unmodified arrow keys.
Please report any other bugs that you encounter via:
When nano crashes, it will save any modified buffers to emergency .save
files. If you are able to reproduce the crash and you want to get a
backtrace, define the environment variable NANO_NOCATCH.
/usr/share/doc/nano/ (or equivalent on your system)
February 2020 version 4.8 NANO(1)