Linux text editing

From Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology - University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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  • Linux has several text editors available in the terminal.
  • Feel free to use which ever you feel more comfortable with.

Create a text file using vi[edit]

  • To create a file called (or edit a file called
  • This will start the vi editor and you should see a blank screen.
  • To switch vi into text insertion mode simply type :i and hit Enter
  • You should now see -- INSERT -- at the bottom of the screen which means vi is ready to accept text
  • Now simply type in what ever text you would like just like you would on a normal text editor.
  • Once you are done hit Esc on the keyboard and vi should leave text insertion mode.
  • To save the file type :wq this will write to the file foo.txt and quit vi.
  • To edit the file simply follow the same procedure

Create a text file using nano[edit]

  • To create a file called (or edit a file called
  • This will start nano and you can simply start typing.
  • Once you are done click Ctrl + O to write the file
  • Type in the file name or keep it the same and hit Enter
  • To quit nano click Ctrl + X
  • All of the nano commands are available at the bottom of the editor ^ means Ctrl.