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"GNU nano is a small and friendly text editor. It aims to emulate the Pico text editor while also offering a few enhancements."

License: GPL v3 or later

GNU nano (or nano) is a text editor. It is an emulation of the Pico text editor.


Command Line

Can start nano with commands from the command line with "nano [OPTION]... [FILE]".

The single command "nano" without an option will start the text editor and you can use the special keys from then on.

No Graphic Environment Needed

The editor GNU nano needs no graphic environment (like GNOME or KDE). In that aspect it differs from the text editors konsole or GNOME terminal. You can use nano also to edit the text in files if you run only a console in text modus (meaning: Command Line Interface - CLI).

Single Modus

In contrast to vi or Vim nano uses only one mode (while it is running) - not different modes for a writing text and for operations/functions.

Special Functions

The archetype of nano, Pico, was developed long before the usage of a mouse was common.

Because of this and the single modus functions can used while nano is running via special keys. To run a function you have to use ether the Escape key or a combination of a special key with an alphabetic character.

The special keys in the context menu or in the help pages of nano are also specially represented:

  • Control (Ctrl) as "^"
  • the Meta key as "M"
  • the Escape key as "Esc".

Comparison With Pico

The behavior of nano is nearly the same as of Pico with only a few differences. (See: nano Command Manual : Pico Compatibility) Nano has also some small features added like displaying the position of the cursor and an interactive replace and spell checker.

See also

External links


nano Command Manual : Pico Compatibility