Getting Started With Nano Editor [ Quick Guide ]

Posted on  5/18/2015

Nano is one of the simplest and easy to learn text-editors out there , if you are new in system administration or just editing normal config files its become very handy to use nano .


Nano comes pre-installed in MacOSX , also in Linux distros like Ubuntu and Other Debian based distributions . You can use Pico or you can install nano in redhat or other centos Like distros simply using their respected package managers .

Update or Install ( Debian / Ubuntu / Mint )

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install nano 

Centos , Fedora

yum update 
yum install nano 

For Windows :
You can download windows binaries from here :

then add binaries in windows path , to access directly from command prompt .

Interface Introduction

nano hello.txt_008
nano hello.txt_008

Basic Editing

Create new file :

$ nano MyFile.txt 

where MyFile is file name

Editing existing file :

$ sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config

you can use nano with sudo to edit as root , and nano accept location or file name as parameter .

Buffer Navigation :

for next page

ctrl + v

for previous page

ctrl + y

Cut , Copy and paste

you can use cursor to set selection of lines then you can ctrl + U to paste
for selecting lines use ctlr + ^ ( ctrl key in linux ) same key for done selecting
use Meta + ^ to copy and Ctrl + U to paste
you can cut or delete a line just by using ctrl + k

ctrl + K    :   to cut current or selected lines 
ctrl + ^    :   to select multiple lines ( same key to unset selection ) 
meta + ^    :   to copy current line or selected lines
ctrl + U    :   to paste or uncut 

useful Shortcuts

<br />^G    (F1)      Display this help text
^X    (F2)      Close the current file buffer / Exit from nano
^O    (F3)      Write the current file to disk
^R    (F5)      Insert another file into the current one

^W    (F6)      Search for a string or a regular expression
^    (M-R)     Replace a string or a regular expression
^K    (F9)      Cut the current line and store it in the cutbuffer
^U    (F10)     Uncut from the cutbuffer into the current line

^J    (F4)      Justify the current paragraph
^T    (F12)     Invoke the spell checker, if available
                Invoke the linter, if available
                Invoke formatter, if available

^C    (F11)     Display the position of the cursor
^_    (M-G)     Go to line and column number

^Y    (F7)      Go one screenful up
^V    (F8)      Go one screenful down
M-   (M-|)     Go to the first line of the file
M-/   (M-?)     Go to the last line of the file

M-W   (F16)     Repeat the last search
M-]             Go to the matching bracket
^^    (M-A)     Mark text starting from the cursor position
M-^   (M-6)     Copy the current line and store it in the cutbuffer

M-}             Indent the current line
M-{             Unindent the current line

M-U             Undo the last operation
M-E             Redo the last undone operation

^B              Go back one character
^F              Go forward one character
M-Space         Go back one word
^Space          Go forward one word
^A              Go to beginning of current line
^E              Go to end of current line
^P              Go to previous line
^N              Go to next line

M-(   (M-9)     Go to beginning of paragraph; then of previous paragraph
M-)   (M-0)     Go just beyond end of paragraph; then of next paragraph
M--   (M-_)     Scroll up one line without scrolling the cursor
M-+   (M-=)     Scroll down one line without scrolling the cursor

M-< (M-,)     Switch to the previous file buffer
M->   (M-.)     Switch to the next file buffer

Other useful resources


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