NANO(1)                      General Commands Manual                     NANO(1)

       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.

       -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

       -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.

       -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 -U.

       -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 running.

       -o dir (--operatingdir=dir)
              Set operating directory.  Makes nano set up something similar to a

       -p (--preserve)
              Preserve the XON and XOFF sequences (^Q and ^S) so they will be
              caught by the terminal.

       -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

       -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.

       -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 nano.

       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).

October 28, 2006                  version 2.0.0                          NANO(1)