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1.2 Command Line Options

nano takes the following options from the command line:


Start at line number LINE and column number COLUMN (at least one of which must be specified) 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 available.

-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

Don't convert 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 value is

^([ \t]*[|>:}#])+

if extended regular expression support is available, or "> " otherwise. Note that \t above stands for a literal Tab character.

-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 displayed tab length 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 parts of words.

-Y <str>, --syntax=<str>

Specify a specific syntax highlighting from the nanorc to use, if available. See See section Nanorc Files, for more info.

-c, --const

Constantly display the cursor position and line number on the statusbar. 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

Automatically indent new lines to the same number of spaces and tabs as the previous line.

-k, --cut

Cut from the current cursor position to the end of the current line.

-l, --nofollow

When writing files, if the given file is a symbolic link, it is removed and a new file is created.

-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 chroot.

-p, --preserve

Preserve the ^Q (XON) and ^S (XOFF) sequences so data being sent to the editor can be can be stopped and started.

-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, allowing it to vary along with the width of the screen if the screen is resized. The default value is -8.

-s <prog>, --speller=<prog>

Invoke the given program as the spell checker. By default, nano uses the command specified in the SPELL environment variable, or, if SPELL is not set, its own interactive spell checker that requires the spell program to be installed on your system.

-t, --tempfile

Don't ask whether or not to save the current contents of the file when exiting, assume yes. This is most useful when using nano as the composer of a mailer program.

-v, --view

Don't allow the contents of the file to be altered. Note that this option should NOT be used in place of correct file permissions to implement a read-only file.

-w, --nowrap

Don't wrap long lines at any length. This option overrides any value for -r.

-x, --nohelp

Expert Mode: don't show the Shortcut Lists at the bottom of the screen. This affects the location of the statusbar as well, as in Expert Mode it is located at the very bottom of the editor.

Note: When accessing the help system, Expert Mode is temporarily disabled to display the help system navigation keys.

-z, --suspend

Enable nano's suspend ability using the system's suspend keystroke (usually ^Z).

-a, -b, -e, -f, -g, -j

Ignored, for compatibility with Pico.

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