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Updated: Wednesday, February 9, 2022

nano (1)


nano - Nano's ANOther editor, inspired by Pico


nano [options] [[+line[,column]] file]...

nano [options] [[+[crCR](/|?)string] file]...


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]...

       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", you 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, you 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.  You can also save the marked text to a file with ^O, or
       spell check it with ^T^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).

       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).

       -A, --smarthome
              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.

       -B, --backup
              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
              specified directory.

       -D, --boldtext
              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).

       -E, --tabstospaces
              Convert each typed tab to spaces -- to the number of spaces that
              a tab at that position would take up.

       -F, --multibuffer
              Read a file into a new buffer by default.

       -G, --locking
              Use vim-style file locking when editing files.

       -H, --historylog
              Save the last hundred search strings and replacement strings and
              executed commands, so they can be easily reused  in  later  ses-

       -I, --ignorercfiles
              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.)

       -K, --rawsequences
              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.

       -L, --nonewlines
              Don't automatically add a newline when a text does not end  with
              one.  (This can cause you to save non-POSIX text files.)

       -M, --trimblanks
              Snip  trailing  whitespace  from the wrapped line when automatic
              hard-wrapping occurs or when text is justified.

       -N, --noconvert
              Disable automatic conversion of files from DOS/Mac format.

       -O, --bookstyle
              When justifying, treat any line that starts with  whitespace  as
              the beginning of a paragraph (unless auto-indenting is on).

       -P, --positionlog
              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.

       -R, --restricted
              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").

       -S, --softwrap
              Display over multiple screen rows lines that exceed the screen's
              width.  (You can make this  soft-wrapping  occur  at  whitespace
              instead   of   rudely  at  the  screen's  edge,  by  using  also
              --atblanks.)  (The old short option, -$, is deprecated.)

       -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.

       -U, --quickblank
              Make  status-bar messages disappear after 1 keystroke instead of
              after 20.  Note that options -c (--constantshow) and -_ (--mini-
              bar) override this.

       -V, --version
              Show the current version number and exit.

       -W, --wordbounds
              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.  When using this
              option, you probably want to omit -W (--wordbounds).

       -Y name, --syntax=name
              Specify the name of the syntax highlighting to  use  from  among
              the ones defined in the nanorc files.

       -Z, --zap
              Let  an  unmodified  Backspace or Delete erase the marked region
              (instead of a single character, and without affecting  the  cut-

       -a, --atblanks
              When  doing soft line wrapping, wrap lines at whitespace instead
              of always at the edge of the screen.

       -b, --breaklonglines
              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.)

       -c, --constantshow
              Constantly show the cursor position on  the  status  bar.   Note
              that this overrides option -U (--quickblank).

       -d, --rebinddelete
              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.

       -e, --emptyline
              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.

       -g, --showcursor
              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.

       -h, --help
              Show a summary of the available command-line options and exit.

       -i, --autoindent
              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).

       -j, --jumpyscrolling
              Scroll the buffer contents per half-screen instead of per line.

       -k, --cutfromcursor
              Make the 'Cut Text' command (normally ^K) cut from  the  current
              cursor  position  to the end of the line, instead of cutting the
              entire line.

       -l, --linenumbers
              Display line numbers to the left of the text  area.   (Any  line
              with an anchor additionally gets a mark in the margin.)

       -m, --mouse
              Enable  mouse  support,  if  available  for  your  system.  When
              enabled, 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.

       -n, --noread
              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
              disk first.

       -o directory, --operatingdir=directory
              Set  the  operating directory.  This makes nano set up something
              similar to a chroot.

       -p, --preserve
              Preserve the XON and XOFF sequences (^Q and ^S) so they will  be
              caught by the terminal.

       -q, --indicator
              Display  a "scrollbar" on the righthand side of the edit window.
              It shows the position of the viewport in the buffer and how much
              of the buffer is covered by the viewport.

       -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,
              allowing 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,
              instead of using the built-in corrector that  calls  hunspell(1)
              or spell(1).

       -t, --saveonexit
              Save  a changed buffer without prompting (when exiting with ^X).
              (The old form of the long option, --tempfile, is deprecated.)

       -u, --unix
              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.)

       -v, --view
              Just view the file and disallow editing: read-only  mode.   This
              mode  allows  the  user  to  open  also other files for viewing,
              unless --restricted is given too.

       -w, --nowrap
              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.)

       -x, --nohelp
              Don't show the two help lines at the bottom of the screen.

       -y, --afterends
              Make Ctrl+Right and Ctrl+Delete stop at  word  ends  instead  of

       -z, --suspendable
              Allow the user to suspend the editor (with ^Z by default).

       -%, --stateflags
              Use  the  top-right  corner of the screen for showing some state
              flags: I when auto-indenting, M when the  mark  is  on,  L  when
              hard-wrapping  (breaking  long lines), R when recording a macro,
              and S when soft-wrapping.  When the buffer is modified,  a  star
              (*) is shown after the filename in the center of the title bar.

       -_, --minibar
              Suppress  the  title  bar and instead show information about the
              current buffer at the bottom of the screen, in the space for the
              status  bar.   In  this  "minibar"  the filename is shown on the
              left, followed by an asterisk if the buffer has  been  modified.
              On  the  right are displayed the current line and column number,
              the code of the character under the cursor (in  Unicode  format:
              U+xxxx), the same flags as are shown by --stateflags, and a per-
              centage that expresses how far  the  cursor  is  into  the  file
              (linewise).   When  a  file  is  loaded  or saved, and also when
              switching between buffers, the number of lines in the buffer  is
              displayed  after  the filename.  This number is cleared upon the
              next keystroke, or replaced with an [i/n] counter when  multiple
              buffers  are open.  The line plus column numbers and the charac-
              ter code are displayed only when --constantshow is used, and can
              be  toggled  on and off with M-C.  The state flags are displayed
              only when --stateflags is used.

       -!, --magic
              When neither the file's name nor its first line give a clue, try
              using libmagic to determine the applicable syntax.

       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.

       The M-X toggle is special: it works in all menus except the help viewer
       and the linter.  All other toggles work in the main menu only.

       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.

       See /usr/share/nano/ and /usr/share/nano/extra/ for  available  syntax-
       coloring definitions.

       See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | editor/nano      |
       |Stability      | Uncommitted      |

       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
       exists 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
       respective emergency files.

       Source  code  for open source software components in Oracle Solaris can
       be found at https://www.oracle.com/downloads/opensource/solaris-source-

       This     software     was    built    from    source    available    at
       https://github.com/oracle/solaris-userland.   The  original   community
       source       was       downloaded      from       https://www.nano-edi-

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at https://www.nano-editor.org/.

       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)

October 2021                      version 5.9                          NANO(1)