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How to select all in Nano text editor

If you are looking for a simple editor, you can always pick Nano. Whenever you are working on the command line, you need to edit or create several text files. 

Linux Tutorial Oct 15, 21 by Nisal N 5 min Read
How to select all in Nano text editor

To accomplish your purpose, you have GNU Nano to the rescue. It is an extremely easy to use text editor for both Linux and UNIX operating systems. 

There are ample functionalities associated with it. For instance, syntax highlighting, spell checking, multiple buffers, and much more.

Here, in this article, let us understand the basic commands and their execution in Nano.

Let’s begin!

Firstly, here is how you can install Nano in your system.

How to install Nano?

This text editor comes pre-installed in Linux and macOS. If you want to be sure that your system has Nano, type in the following command:

nano --version

The output screen looks like this:

GNU nano, version 2.9.3
(C) 1999-2011, 2013-2018 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
(C) 2014-2018 the contributors to nano
Email: nano@nano-editor.org Web: https://nano-editor.org/

In case your system does not show the text editor, you can install it any time that you want!

Follow these simple commands to install the text editor on your system, if you work on Ubuntu or Debian:

sudo apt install nano

On the other hand, if you are a CentOS or Fedora user, type in the following command:

sudo yum install nano

Now, to open or create files in the Nano text editor, simply type the filename in this format:

nano filename

This command takes you to the new editor window. There, you can easily edit the files. 

Additionally, there are abundant command shortcuts to work within Nano text editor

For instance:

  • ^J: this symbol means to press Ctrl and J keys together
  • M: this signifies the Alt key
  • ^: this symbol means the Ctrl key

Mostly, all the commands begin with either ^ or M. If you want a complete list of all the commands, you need to type Ctrl+g.

Next up is the procedure to select the entire text in the Nano editor. 

How to select all the text in Nano?

To select all the text in Nano, open the text file first. Go to the terminal and write this command as stated below:

sudo nano abc.text

Execute this command. It opens your file in the text editor. Now, with the help of the cursor, head towards the beginning of the file through the arrow keys. Press Ctrl+A. 

This key combination highlights your text as shown in the snapshot below.

Now that you can notice the mark set, drag the cursor and select the entire text file. 

That’s it!

Let us now grasp the method to save or exit a file in the Nano text editor.

How to save and exit in Nano?

Press Ctrl+o to save any changes that you make in a file. In order to save changes, you must have the write permissions to the file.

Now, to exit, press Ctrl+x. 

Moving on, the next segment tells you how to edit files using the Nano text editor.

How to edit files in Nano?

Using Nano is pretty simple. If you want to edit some files, go to the desired file and perform these steps:

  • If you want to move your cursor to a particular line or a character number, press the Ctrl+_ command
  • As soon as you enter this command, the menu changes on the bottom of your screen
  • To enter the number(s), insert in the ‘Enter the line number, column number’ field and then press Enter

Now, to search or replace text in the file, follow these commands.

How to search and replace text in Nano?

In order to search and replace text, you can press Ctrl+\. Type in the text that you wish to search followed by the text to replace it with.  

As soon as the editor traces the first match, it asks you to press Y or N. It then passes on to the next match. When you reach your desired match, press A. 

This replaces all the text matches at once.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, Nano is an extremely simple and easy to use a text editor.

Other text editors like Vim and Emacs are also widely used by users. But, both of them possess a steep learning curve, which can be a bit of a challenge for novice users. 

Therefore, Nano is a safe choice for everyone. Loaded with tons of features and easy command executions, this text editor provides you with an easy way to find your way through the hard work!

This article presents you with some of the most basic commands that may help to ease down your work. 

We hope that this information assists you to solve your queries regarding the topic.

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Nisal N

Computers has always fascinated me since I was a kid and here we are. I love travelling for 2 reasons: the first one to see a new part of the world and second (the most important one) to experience the rich culture hidden among the country and people. I'm pretty good at cooking but very poor when it comes to baking.

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