NANO(1)                     General Commands Manual                    NANO(1)


       nano - Nano's ANOther editor, an enhanced free Pico clone


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


       nano is a small, free and friendly editor which aims to replace Pico,
       the default editor included in the non-free Pine package.  On top of
       copying Pico's look and feel, nano also implements some missing (or
       disabled by default) features in Pico, such as "search and replace" and
       "go to line and column number".


       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
       overwrite the cutbuffer.  A ^U will paste the current contents of the
       cutbuffer at the current cursor position.

       When a more precise piece of text needs to be cut or copied, one 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. One can also save the marked text to a file with ^O, or
       spell check it with ^T.

       The two lines at the bottom of the screen show the most important
       commands; the built-in help (^G) lists all the available ones.  The
       default key bindings can be changed via the .nanorc file -- see


              Places the cursor on line number line and at column number
              column (at least one of which must be specified) on startup,
              instead of the default line 1, column 1.

       -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
              backwards).  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.  The uniquely numbered files are stored in the
              specified directory.

       -D, --boldtext
              Use bold text instead of reverse video text.

       -E, --tabstospaces
              Convert typed tabs to spaces.

       -F, --multibuffer
              Enable multiple file buffers (if support for them has been
              compiled in).

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

       -H, --historylog
              Log search and replace strings to ~/.nano/search_history, so
              they can be retrieved in later sessions.

       -I, --ignorercfiles
              Don't look at the system's nanorc nor at ~/.nanorc.

       -K, --rebindkeypad
              Interpret the numeric keypad keys so that they all work
              properly.  You should only need to use this option if they
              don't, as mouse support won't work properly with this option

       -L, --nonewlines
              Don't add newlines to the ends of files.

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

       -O, --morespace
              Use the blank line below the titlebar as extra editing space.

       -P, --poslog
              Log and later read back the location of the cursor and place it
              there again.

       -Q "characters", --quotestr="characters"
              Set the quoting string for justifying.  The default is
              "^([ \t]*[#:>\|}])+" if extended regular expression support is
              available, or "> " otherwise.  Note that \t stands for a Tab.

       -R, --restricted
              Restricted mode: don't read or write to any file not specified
              on the command line; don't read any nanorc files nor history
              files; don't allow suspending nor 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 use backup files.  This
              restricted mode is also accessible by invoking nano with any
              name beginning with 'r' (e.g. "rnano").

       -S, --smooth
              Enable smooth scrolling.  Text will scroll line-by-line, instead
              of the usual chunk-by-chunk behavior.

       -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
              Do quick statusbar blanking.  Statusbar messages will disappear
              after 1 keystroke instead of 25.  Note that -c overrides this.

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

       -W, --wordbounds
              Detect word boundaries more accurately by treating punctuation
              characters as part of a word.

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

       -c, --const
              Constantly show the cursor position.  Note that this overrides

       -d, --rebinddelete
              Interpret the Delete key differently so that both Backspace and
              Delete work properly.  You should only need to use this option
              if Backspace acts like Delete on your system.

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

       -i, --autoindent
              Indent new lines to the previous line's indentation.  Useful
              when editing source code.

       -k, --cut
              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, --nofollow
              If the file being edited is a symbolic link, replace the link
              with a new file instead of following it.  Good for editing files
              in /tmp, perhaps?

       -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, --quiet
              Do not report errors in the nanorc files nor ask them to be
              acknowledged by pressing Enter at startup.

       -r number, --fill=number
              Hard-wrap lines at column number.  If this value is 0 or less,
              wrapping will occur at the width of the screen less 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.
              This option conflicts with -w -- the last one given takes

       -s program, --speller=program
              Use this alternative spell checker command.

       -t, --tempfile
              Always save a changed buffer without prompting.  Same as Pico's
              -t option.

       -v, --view
              View-file (read-only) mode.

       -w, --nowrap
              Disable the hard-wrapping of long lines.  This option conflicts
              with -r -- the last one given takes effect.

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

       -z, --suspend
              Enable the suspend ability.

       -$, --softwrap
              Enable 'soft wrapping'.  This will make nano attempt to display
              the entire contents of any line, even if it is longer than the
              screen width, by continuing it over multiple screen lines.
              Since '$' normally refers to a variable in the Unix shell, you
              should specify this option last when using other options (e.g.
              'nano -wS$') or pass it separately (e.g. 'nano -wS -$').

       -a, -b, -e, -f, -g, -j
              Ignored, for compatibility with Pico.


       nano will read initialization files in the following order: the
       system's nanorc (if it exists), and then the user's ~/.nanorc (if it
       exists).  Please see nanorc(5) for more information on the possible
       contents of those files.


       If no alternative spell checker command is specified on the command
       line nor in one of the nanorc files, nano will check the SPELL
       environment 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 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.


       Please send any comments or bug reports to

       The nano mailing list is available from

       To subscribe, email to with a subject of





       Chris Allegretta <>, et al (see the files AUTHORS and
       THANKS for details).  This manual page was originally written by Jordi
       Mallach <>, for the Debian system (but may be used by

June 2015                        version 2.4.2                         NANO(1)

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