Don't like vim? Start with nano!

For Unix and similar systems, Nano is an easy-to-use text editor. Its intended use is as a no-cost alternative to the Pico text editor that comes with the Pine email suite developed by the University of Washington. Due to its relative ease of use, Nano is frequently chosen by first-time users over more advanced editors such as Vim or Emacs. Important aspects consist of:

  • Ease of Use: Nano provides a straightforward editing interface, showing all the key commands at the bottom of the screen. This makes it easy for beginners to use without having to memorize commands.

  • Basic Text Editing: It supports basic text editing features like inserting, deleting, cutting, pasting, and searching text.

  • Syntax Highlighting: Nano supports syntax highlighting for a variety of programming and markup languages, which helps in editing code.

  • Customization: While simple, Nano can be customized through its configuration file (~/.nanorc).

Installing Nano on Ubuntu

Nano is typically pre-installed on most Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. However, if it's not installed, or if you need to install the latest version, you can do so using the package manager. Here's how:

  1. Update Package Lists: First, update the package lists to have the most recent version of the repository listings:

     sudo apt update
  2. Install Nano: Install Nano using the apt package manager:

     sudo apt install nano
  3. Verify Installation: Once the installation is complete, you can verify it by checking the version of Nano:

     nano --version
  4. Using Nano: To use Nano, simply type nano followed by the filename. For example:

     nano myfile.txt

    This will open myfile.txt in Nano, creating the file if it doesn't exist.

  5. Exit Nano: To exit Nano, press Ctrl + X. If you've made changes to the file, it will prompt you to save them. Press Y for yes or N for no, and then press Enter to confirm.

For those who like a plain text editor and for short edits, Nano is a great option because of its simplicity and ease of use.

The basic steps to utilize the nano text editor are as follows:

  1. Opening nano: To open nano with a new file or an existing file, type nano followed by the filename in the terminal:

     nano filename.txt
  2. Writing and Editing Text: Once nano is open, you can simply start typing to add text to the file. Use the arrow keys to navigate through the text.

  3. Cutting and Pasting Text:

    • To cut a line, press Ctrl + K.

    • To paste the cut text, move the cursor to the desired location and press Ctrl + U.

  4. Searching Text:

    • To search for text within the file, press Ctrl + W, then type the search term and press Enter.
  5. Saving Changes:

    • To save the changes you've made to the file, press Ctrl + O. This will prompt you to confirm the filename. Press Enter to confirm.
  6. Exiting nano:

    • To exit nano, press Ctrl + X. If you have unsaved changes, nano will ask if you want to save them. Press Y for yes or N for no, and then press Enter to confirm the filename.
  7. Getting Help:

    • For a list of all commands, press Ctrl + G to open the help window.
  8. Undo and Redo:

    • To undo the last action, press Alt + U.

    • To redo the last undone action, press Alt + E.

  9. Go to a Specific Line:

    • To go to a specific line number, press Ctrl + _ (or Ctrl + Shift + - on some keyboards), then type the line number and press Enter.
  10. Enable Soft Wrapping:

    • To enable soft wrapping of long lines, press Alt + $.