How to edit files in a terminal with nano?


Need to edit or modify the hosts file on a Mac? This guide will show you exactly how to edit the hosts file in Mac OS. You’ll find hosts in Mac OS X is stored at /private/etc/hosts but it can also be accessed at the more traditional location of /etc/hosts. That said, if you’re looking to edit hosts, you’ll want to target the file located in /private/etc/ though.

We’ll walk through how to manually edit the hosts file in MacOS Sierra, OS X El Capitan, Yosemite, OS X Lion, OS X Mountain Lion, and OS X Mavericks, this will be done with the command line using the simple text editor called nano. Don’t let the command line or Terminal sound intimidating though because it’s not, we’ll make the entire process of editing a Mac hosts file super easy.

How to Edit Hosts File on Mac OS

Let’s get started making some edits to /etc/hosts in macOS and Mac OS X!

Launch Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/ or launched through Spotlight Type the following...
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There are a few different ways to create and edit a file when logged into a DreamHost server via SSH. This article explains how to use two text editors:

nano — Best choice for beginners vim — More features than 'nano', but also more difficult to use. 'vim' is a good choice for advanced users

If you're not comfortable editing files in a terminal, view the following article:

Using 'nano' to create and edit a file

'nano' is easier to use than 'vim' so it's a good choice for newer users. Follow the steps below to create and edit a file using 'nano'.

Creating or editing a file using 'nano'

Log into your server via SSH. Navigate to the directory location you want to create the file, or edit an existing file. Type in nano followed by the name of the file. For example, if you wish to create (or edit) a new file name index.html, run the following: [server]$ nano index.html A new file opens named index.html: Start typing your data into the file. When...
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Sometimes, a graphical text editor like gedit or kate cannot be used (because you're in a virtual console for example). Luckily, there are text editors for the terminal. An easy one is nano, but I cannot understand how to work with it.

If I start nano by running nano, the bottom text is supposed to help me but all I see are things like ^G Get Help ^O WriteOut.

How can I open text files for editing? How can I save the file? How can I quit the editor without saving the changes? How to edit? I heard that you've to enter some commands to begin editing in vi, is this true for nano too? Sometimes, if I manage to open a file, the text is unreadable due to its colors. How can I disable these colors? (see the image below) In the some files, lines are truncated because those do not fit in the screen. How can I prevent that from happening? (see the image below)

Ctrl + G will let you read the help. nano can do some pretty nice things so you might want to pootle around in...

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Authors: Falko Timme, Himanshu Arora

In this tutorial, we will show you how to edit files on the command line. This article covers three command line editors, vi (or vim), nano, and emacs.

Editing Files with Vi or Vim Command Line Editor

To edit files on the command line, you can use an editor such as vi. To open the file, run

vi /path/to/file

Now you see the contents of the file (if there is any. Please note that the file is created if it does not exist yet.).

The most important commands in vi are these:

Press i to enter the Insert mode. Now you can type in your text.

To leave the Insert mode press ESC.

To delete the character that is currently under the cursor you must press x (and you must not be in Insert mode because if you are you will insert the character x instead of deleting the character under the cursor). So if you have just opened the file with vi, you can immediately use x to delete characters. If you are...

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One thing GNU/Linux does as well as any other operating system is give you the tools you need to create and edit text files. Ask ten Linux users what their favorite text editor is and you will probably get ten different answers. On this page, we cover a few of these, but there are many more available.

GUI Text Editors

This section discusses text editing applications for the Linux windowing system, X Windows, more commonly known as X11 or X.

If you are coming from Microsoft Windows, you are no doubt familiar with the classic Windows text editor, Notepad. Linux offers many similar programs, including NEdit, gedit, and geany. Each of these programs are free software, and they each provide roughly the same functionality. It's up to you to decide which one feels best and has the best interface for you. All three of these programs support syntax highlighting, which comes in handy if you are using them to edit source code or documents written in a markup language...

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There is a long-running battle between Linux users about which command line editor is the best. In one camp vi is the editor that rules the roost but in another, it is all about emacs.

For the rest of us who just need something simple to use to edit files there is nano. Don't get me wrong vi and emacs are very powerful editors but sometimes you just need to open, amend and save a file without remembering the keyboard shortcuts.

The nano editor has its own set of keyboard shortcuts of course and in this guide I aim to help you to understand the meaning of all those special keystrokes you can use to make your life easier when using nano.

How To Get Nano

The nano editor is available by default in all the most popular Linux distributions and you can run it with one simple command:

na no

The above command will simply open a new file. You can type into the window, save the file and exit.

How To Open A New File And...

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Great. Have fun with the terminal.

Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger the book
Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference (In a Nutshell (O'Reilly)) the book

A book on Bash would be helpful.

Practical Guide to Linux Commands, Editors, and Shell Programming, A (2nd Edition) [Paperback] the book Don't be fooled by the name, the second addition includes Mac OS X.

Advanced Bash Script. premise: Examples for everything. I have revision 6.2.

BASH Programming - Introduction HOW-TO

Apple administrative commands

Apple Shell Scripting Primer lScripting/ShellScripting.pdf

Check you local library. Any book on Bash syntax will do. There will be minor differences but they...

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When you search the internet for instructions on how to edit any particular file, you will often find that the command utilises a text editor that you don't already have. There are many text editors available for Linux, and nano is a simple command line editor that comes installed on most major Linux distros.

In this practical example I'm going to edit my conky configuration file, so that Conky displays upload/download information for the internet connection that the computer is currently using. Conky is a lightweight system monitor that can be used to display just about anything. Nick on this forum recommended that I should install it if I want to find out more about how my computer works, and after having used it for a few months I would also recommend it to others for the same reason. There are many versions of Conky, but I just have the basic (most lightweight) version which I've modified slightly (which is very easy to do) and which you see in the screenshots...

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Use promo code DOCS10 for $10 credit on a new account.

GNU nano is a popular command line text editor used on many operating systems including Unix-based systems and BSD variants. It is a popular editor for users who may find vi or emacs commands to be non-intuitive.

Nano Set Up and Basic Commands

Nano is included with many Linux distributions by default, but some users may need to install it through their distribution’s package management tool:

Debian/Ubuntu users can issue the following command to install nano:

apt-get install nano

CentOS/Fedora users can issue the following command to install nano:

yum install nano

When using nano, control characters (CTRL) are represented by a carat (^). For example, if you wish to cut a line of text, you would use the “CTRL” key followed by the “K” key. This sequence of commands is represented as ^K in nano. Some commands use the “Alt” key in order to function, which is represented...

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In this tutorial, you will learn how to install and use Nano text editor. Learning Nano will enable you to edit text files in your VPS on the command line when you are logged in using SSH.

While Vim and Emacs can be overwhelming for novice Linux users, Nano is straightforward and easy to use. That’s why it’s one of the most popular text editors for Unix systems.

In this tutorial, we will learn how to install nano on Ubuntu and CentOS. You will also learn some basic nano commands for text editing.

What you’ll need

Before you begin this guide you’ll need the following:

Access to a machine running Ubuntu or CentOS (remote ssh access to a machine running one of these operating systems will also work )

Step 1 — Installing Nano Text Editor

It depends on what OS you have, in particular, some of them already come with the Nano text editor installed. If that is your case, you can click here to skip this step and head over to...

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You’ve provisioned a Linode and booted it up with a cool-sounding distro. You’ve read the Introduction to Linux Concepts and Getting Started guides, and now you’re ready to set your hostname. Go ahead and edit /etc/hosts.

Should you use Vim or Emacs? Is it okay to use Nano? What’s Neovim? Or should you use another text editor entirely?

Emacs versus Vim is a conversation known to strain relationships, but we’ll try to break down some of the differences and steer you in the right direction without losing too many of your developer friends.


Nano is the built-in basic text editor for many popular distros. It’s usually already contained in the distro, doesn’t take any learning or getting used to, and all its commands and prompts are displayed at the bottom.

Use Nano if:

You’re new to the terminal, or you just need to get into a file for a quick change....

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Here is a cool trick to enable you to edit text files in Terminal using a little applications called pico. Its really easy and the text editor is quite powerful. It is really simple to do and can open every file that you can open in text edit.

To enable yo to do this trick open up Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) on a new line type.

pico /path/of/file.txt

Give it a second or two and a text editor will open. As shown in the image below.

You can then edit then proceed to edit the text using the commands below. You can read through the help file associated if you need more help. By the way most commands are accessed through ctrl and a represented though the up arrow (^).

If you want to keep up with the latests post from Mac Tricks And Tips I recommend you subscribe to the RSS...
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Ctrl + G will let you read the help. nano can do some pretty nice things so you might want to pootle around in there for a bit.

When you see ^G (et al) it means Ctrl + G. In the help pages, M-H means Alt + H.

How can I open text files for editing?

This is the default in nano. Open and file and you're set to start editing:

nano filename

Note: you won't be able to save unless you have write permissions for that file.

How can I save the file?

F3 will let you save without exiting. Otherwise, Ctrl + X will prompt you if you've made changes. Press Y when it asks, and Enter to confirm the filename.

How can I quit the editor without saving the changes?

Ctrl + X, then N when it asks if you want to save.

How to edit? I heard that you've to enter some commands to begin editing in vi, is this true for nano too?

As above, no. nano is simple. It drops you in edit mode as soon as it opens. You can use arrow keys, Page Up /...

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New to the Linux command-line? Confused by all of the other advanced text editors? How-To Geek’s got your back with this tutorial to Nano, a simple text-editor that’s very newbie-friendly.

When getting used to the command-line, Linux novices are often put off by other, more advanced text editors such as vim and emacs. While they are excellent programs, they do have a bit of a learning curve. Enter Nano, an easy-to-use text editor that proves itself versatile and simple. Nano is installed by default in Ubuntu and many other Linux distros and works well in conjunction with sudo, which is why we love it so much.

Running Nano

You can run nano in two ways. To open nano with an empty buffer, just type in “nano” at the command prompt.

You can also use the following syntax:

nano /path/to/filename

Nano will follow the path and open that file if it exists. If it does not exist, it’ll start a new buffer with that filename in that...

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Working with Linux servers on a daily basis involves modifying services, tweaking configurations, fixing bugs, and other sysadmin tasks are some tasks that need to be done using some kind of text editor. It can get confusing when you're trying to decide which is the best text editor to use. And with the rise of control panels, people can use the respective control panel GUI text editor or use the Linux terminal and the text editors that the OS has available.

In this article, we will cover the latter category of users, the ones that work with Linux terminal text editors. Their usage differs. And with Vim and Emacs competing for the top spot, many Linux enthusiasts still find them hard to use, which leads to an unwillingness to learn. When this happens, they find comfort in a "simpler" text editor such as nano.


Nanos' Wikipedia page states that nano emulates the Pico text editor and was created in 1999 with the name TIP (This...

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This guide was written to cover basic operations in nano, and is meant to be very concise. For more information about nano check out:

Nano basics

Opening and creating files

For opening and creating files type:

Nano is a modeless editor so you can start typing immediately to insert text. If you are editing a configuration file like /etc/fstab use the -w switch to disable wrapping on long lines as it might render the configuration file unparseable by whatever tools depend on it. For example:

It is very, very important that you use the -w switch when opening a config file. Failure to do so may keep your system from booting or cause other bad things.

Saving and exiting

If you want to save the changes you've made, press Ctrl + O. To exit nano, type Ctrl + X. If you ask nano to exit from a modified file, it will ask you if you want to save it. Just press N in case you don't, or Y in case you do....

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In linux i'm a fun of Nano, i'm always using nano, and is really a great choice. There is a version for windows. Here is the link

However more often we need to open the file in question, from the command line as quick as possible, to not loose time. We can use notepad.exe, we can use notepad++, and yea, we can use sublim text. I think there is no greater then a lightweight, Too powerful editor. Sublime text here. for the thing, we just don't want to get out of the command line, or we want to use the command line to be fast. and yea. We can use sublime text for that. it contain a command line that let you quickly open a file in sublime text. Also there is different options arguments you can make use of. Here how you do it.

First you need to know that there is subl.exe. a command line interface for sublim.

1-> first we create a batch file. the content is

@ECHO OFF "C:\Program Files\Sublime Text...
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This is archived and no longer maintained.

There are several programs available for you to use to edit files while in the Linux command line. Here at InMotion Hosting, our System Administration team primarily uses programs called nano and vi. Vi is a very sophisticated program with somewhat of a high learning curve. Because of this, we're going to show you how to edit files using nano.

When editing files with nano, the first thing you'll need to do is make sure that you've connected to your server via SSH. If you need assistance with doing this, please see How to login to your server via SSH.

We're currently logged in, so let's run pwd to see what directory we're in, and then ls to see what files are in this directory: [~/testa]# pwd
/home/user5/testa [~/testa]# ls -alh
total 8.0K
drwxr-xr-x 2 user5 user5 4.0K Dec 7 18:43 ./
drwx--x--x 10 user5 user5 4.0K Dec 6 08:16 ../
-rw-r--r-- 1 user5 user5...

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Parent page: Programming Applications


GNU nano is a simple terminal-based text editor. Though not as powerful as Emacs or Vim, it is easy to learn and use. Nano is ideal for making small changes to existing configuration files or for writing short plain text files. It was originally created as a free replacement for the non-free Pico editor. Pico is the terminal-based editor used in the Pine email suite from the University of Washington.

Nano can be used in a terminal window or at the system console.

Basic use of nano is covered here. If you want to learn more advanced techniques such as the use of multiple buffers or syntax highlighting of code, see the the nano project's documentation.

Installing Nano

Nano is part of the standard Ubuntu installation, and should be on your system already. If for some reason it's not, use your favorite package manager to install nano.

Using Nano

Nano is a terminal-based...

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If you're setting up a new web server or another device that's going to be connected to the internet and you want to put it through its paces before it's live, or if you're having trouble with spyware and adware networks, there's an invisible file on your Mac that can help. It's called the Hosts file, and this is how to use it.

The Domain Name System

When you type in the domain name of a web site you want to visit there's a lot happening behind the scenes. Every web site, every service, almost every device connected to the Internet has a unique numeric address that tells all the other devices where it is — its TCP/IP address. The Domain Name System (DNS) translates those numeric addresses into something a bit more recognizable and memorable to humans, like, "" for example.

The first time you type in a web address, your Mac pings a DNS server — typically one automatically configured for you by your Internet Service Provider — to find out the TCP/IP...

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Did you ever need to edit a PDF document, like that registration or application form that you needed to complete online?

In the past, you probably had to print the form and manually edit it, filling its fields, adding pictures,highlighting text, and adding your comments. Then, you would either scan it or send a hard copy to wherever it needed to go. Besides needing a printer and a scanner, the process probably took you far too much time to complete.

Now there is a far easier way to edit PDF forms. You can simply use PDFfiller as online document editor!

To get started, you can upload a form to your account or open a document that’s already there. When you open the form you will see the "Edit" toolbar along the top like this:

Choose the "Text" button in the "Edit" tab and start typing. You can move text by dragging the text box. Click the "Signature" or "Picture" button to sign your document or insert an image.

You can also add sticky...

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