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 NANO(1)                      November 30, 2009                      NANO(1)
                                version 2.2.0

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

      nano [OPTIONS] [[+LINE,COLUMN] FILE]...

      This manual page briefly documents the nano command.

      nano is a small, free and friendly editor which aims to replace Pico,
      the default editor included in the non-free Pine package.  Rather than
      just 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".

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

      -?   Same as -h (--help).

      -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 to the
           current filename suffixed with a ~.

      -C dir (--backupdir=dir)
           Set the directory where nano puts unique backup files if file
           backups are enabled.

      -D (--boldtext)
           Use bold text instead of reverse video text.

      -E (--tabstospaces)
           Convert typed tabs to spaces.

      -F (--multibuffer)
           Enable multiple file buffers, if available.

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                                version 2.2.0

      -G (--locking)
           Enable vim-style file locking when editing files.

      -H (--historylog)
           Log search and replace strings to ~/.nano_history, so they can be
           retrieved in later sessions, if nanorc support is available.

      -I (--ignorercfiles)
           Don't look at SYSCONFDIR/nanorc or ~/.nanorc, if nanorc support
           is available.

      -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 enabled.

      -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.

      -Q str (--quotestr=str)
           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; read any nanorc files; allow suspending; allow
           a file to be appended to, prepended to, or saved under a
           different name if it already has one; or use backup files or
           spell checking.  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 cols (--tabsize=cols)
           Set the size (width) of a tab to cols columns.  The value of cols
           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.

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      -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 str (--syntax=str)
           Specify a specific syntax highlighting from the nanorc to use, if

      -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 command line options and exit.

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

      -k (--cut)
           Enable cut from cursor to end of 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

      -o dir (--operatingdir=dir)
           Set operating directory.  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.

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                                version 2.2.0

      -q (--quiet)
           Do not report errors in the nanorc file and ask them to be
           acknowledged by pressing Enter at startup.

      -r cols (--fill=cols)
           Wrap lines at column cols.  If this value is 0 or less, wrapping
           will occur at the width of the screen less cols 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 prog (--speller=prog)
           Enable alternative spell checker command.

      -t (--tempfile)
           Always save changed buffer without prompting.  Same as Pico's -t

      -u (--undo)
           Enable experimental generic-purpose undo code.  By default, the
           undo and redo shortcuts are Meta-U and Meta-E, respectively.

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

      -w (--nowrap)
           Disable wrapping of long lines.

      -x (--nohelp)
           Disable help screen at bottom of editor.

      -z (--suspend)
           Enable suspend ability.

      -$ (--softwrap)
           Enable 'soft wrapping'.  nano will attempt to display the entire
           contents of a line, even if it is longer than the screen width.
           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:
      SYSCONFDIR/nanorc, then ~/.nanorc.  Please see nanorc(5) and the
      example file nanorc.sample, both of which should be provided with

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 NANO(1)                      November 30, 2009                      NANO(1)
                                version 2.2.0

      If no alternative spell checker command is specified on the command
      line or 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


      /usr/share/doc/nano/ (or equivalent on your system)

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

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