nano

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GNU's nano is an easy to use text editor with additional functionality. nano is Gentoo's default editor and is part of each installation. It can be replaced without problems by any other text editor.

Installation

USE flags

USE flags for app-editors/nano GNU GPL'd Pico clone with more functionality

debug Enable debug messages and assert warnings. Note that these will all be sent straight to stderr rather than some logging facility. local
justify Enable justify/unjustify functions for text formatting. local
magic Add magic file support (sys-apps/file) to automatically detect appropriate syntax highlighting local
minimal Disable all fancy features, including ones that otherwise have a dedicated USE flag (such as spelling). local
ncurses Add ncurses support (console display library) global
nls Add Native Language Support (using gettext - GNU locale utilities) global
slang Add support for the slang text display library (it's like ncurses, but different) global
spell Add dictionary support global
static !!do not set this during bootstrap!! Causes binaries to be statically linked instead of dynamically global
unicode Add support for Unicode global

Emerge

root #emerge --ask app-editors/nano

Usage

First steps

Start nano by typing nano in a terminal followed by options or a file. Passing a file name is the most common use:

user $nano filename

Nano now shows the content of the text file and which can be modified as desired. Navigate through the text with the arrow keys.

At the bottom nano shows shortcuts for common actions, e.g. save or exit. The shortcut to save is shown as ^O. Prefix the shortcut with the Ctrl key. So to save a document (after editing it) press Ctrl+O. To exit press Ctrl+X.

Important
To edit configuration files always pass nano the -w option. Without the -w option long lines become wrapped lines. This creates problems when saving because the lines are saved as wrapped lines instead of how they were in the original file. Many time this will break configuration files.

To see an overview over all options run nano --help

Cut, copy and paste

Lines can be cut with the shortcut Ctrl+K (copied with Alt+^) and paste with Ctrl+U. To cut or copy multiple lines press the shortcut multiple times.

Search

Search the text with Ctrl+W. Continue the search with Alt+W.

More shortcuts

Action Shortcut Other shortcut
Show the help Ctrl+G F1
Close file Ctrl+X F2
Save file Ctrl+O F3
Search text Ctrl+W F6
Continue search Alt+W F16
Copy line to clipboard Alt+^ Alt+6
Cut line to clipboard Ctrl+K F9
Paste line from clipboard Ctrl+U F10

Configuration

Set options permanently in the /etc/nanorc configuration file. This configuration applies system wide to all users. To change options only for one user, set the option in the user's ~/.nanorc file. As a general rule, files present in a user's home directory override system wide settings.

See also