Creating and editing files is the most basic part of using a Linux based system. There are different ways to edit files in Linux.
This tutorial we go over the ways that you can use to edit a file in Linux. You can either use a GUI text editor or you can do it using the terminal. This tutorial will cover the tools you can use to edit a file in the terminal.
Tools/Text Editors to Edit Files in Linux
We’ve already worked with multiple text editors like vim, nano, emacs, etc. Let’s look at these different tools one by one.
1. Vim Editor
Vim text editor comes by default in most Linux distributions. To check the version of your Vim editor you can use the following command:
Open a file
To open a file in Vim editor use the command :
$ vim [filename]
If the file does not exist then this command will create the file for you.
To edit a file you need to enter the insert mode. Press ‘i’ to do so.
The screen will look like as shown above. You can notice ‘INSERT‘ written at the bottom. It indicates that we are in insert mode. You can go ahead and type out some text to put in the file. You can now edit the file.
Save and Quit
To save your changes and exit vim use the command :
To exit without saving your changes use the command:
2. Nano Editor
Nano editor comes pre-installed on most Linux distributions. To check the version of nano editor on your system use the command:
If you need to install nano editor on your system you can use the following commands:
sudo apt update sudo apt install nano
Open and edit a file
To open a file in nano editor use the command :
This command will open a screen where you can edit the contents of your file. Unlike Vim editor you won’t have to enter insert mode to edit.
Save and Quit
You can see the options available in nano editor at the bottom of the screen.
To save your changes and exit use Cntrl + X.
The bottom of the screen will ask you if you want to save the changes.
Press Y followed by enter if you want to save the changes otherwise press N followed by enter to quit without saving.
To learn more about nano editor, refer to their official website.
Emacs is one of the oldest and most versatile text editors available for Linux UNIX-based systems. It has been around for over 20 years. It is known for its powerful and rich editing features.
To install Emacs editor on your system use the command :
sudo apt-get install emacs
During installation you will be prompted to confirm the installation.
Press Y to continue.
After installation you can check the version using the command :
Open and Edit a File
To open and edit a file use the command :
emacs -nw [filename]
Here -nw mean no window. This makes sure that the editor window open in the terminal itself.
This will open a screen that will look like :
You can edit the content directly without entering any mode like in the case of nano editor.
Save and Exit
After editing you can save your changes and exit using Cntrl + X followed by Cntrl + C. The editor will ask you if you want to save before quitting Emacs.
If you only wish to save and not exit the editor, press Cntrl + X followed by Cntrl + S.
This tutorial was about the different ways you can use to edit a file in Linux. To learn different ways of creating a file in Linux read this tutorial.