Nano: lightweight and flexible text editor

Nano, improved version of Pico, is a friendly, lightweight and flexible text editor, it is ideal to make simple edits. Nano is a modeless text editor (no need to run any command or key combination to start editing the selected file). Once started it shows in the first line: the current version, the name of the file being edited and whether it has been modified or not; then the file in question, in the third line from the bottom up the important messages and in the last 2 lines the most common shortcuts, see figure. The main keys for Nano are: Ctrl (^) and Esc (M), ie with Esc or Ctrl and another key combination we can execute an action. Within its essential features we can mention:

  • Clean interface
  • Low learning curve
  • Internationalization
  • Syntax highlighting for C, C++, Python, Perl, Ruby, HTML, TeX and other
  • Searches / replacement by keywords or regular expressions
  • Forward / back one screen
  • File Explorer
  • Edit multiple files
  • Mouse support
  • Help integrated into the editor
nano flexible and lightweight text editor
nano flexible and lightweight text editor


General syntax


Open the apache2.conf file and go to 20 line, column 23

nano +20,23 /etc/apache2/apache2.conf 

Edit file1.txt

nano file1.txt

Make relevant modifications and

Save the changes

Ctrl o

Nano it will request confirmation on the file that you want to modify, press:


Copy the current line and store it in the buffer

Esc 6

Cut the current line and store it in the buffer

Ctrl k

Paste what is in the buffer

Ctrl u

Use the mouse to select various lines

Esc a

To copy / cut / paste the selected lines use

Esc 6/Ctrl k/Ctrl u



Go to the first line of the file

Ctrl Home

Go to the last line of the file

Ctrl End

Go to line 10, column 20

Esc g

Nano will request the line and column number to which you want to go, type:


Go to the beginning of the current line

Ctrl a

Go to the end of the current line

Ctrl e

Moving to matching braces

Esc ]

Advance one screen

Ctrl v

Go back one screen

Ctrl y

Advanced options

Search by keywords

Ctrl w

Search using regular expressions

Ctrl w Esc r

Repeat last search

Esc w

Enable / disable the mouse support

Esc m

Launch integrated help

Ctrl g

Further reading

YouTube video

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