nano.texi   [plain text]

\input texinfo  @c -*-texinfo-*-
@c %**start of header
@settitle nano Command Manual
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@c This file has the new style title page commands.
@c Run `makeinfo' rather than `texinfo-format-buffer'.
@set EDITION 0.1
@set VERSION 1.2.4
@set UPDATED 17 Jan 2003

@dircategory Editors
* nano: (nano).                 Small and friendly text editor.
@end direntry

@c tex
@c \overfullrule=0pt
@c end tex

@title GNU @code{nano}
@subtitle a small and friendly text editor.
@subtitle version 1.2.4

@author Chris Allegretta

This manual documents GNU @code{nano}, a small and friendly text

This manual is part of the GNU @code{nano} distribution.@*
Copyright (C) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Chris Allegretta.

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this
manual provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are
preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to process this file through @TeX{} and print the
results, provided the printed document carries copying permission notice
identical to this one except for the removal of this paragraph (this
paragraph not being relevant to the printed manual).
@end iftex

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this
manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided that the
entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a
permission notice identical to this one.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this manual
into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions,
except that this permission notice may be stated in a translation
approved by the Foundation.

You may contact the author by
e-mail: @email{}@*
@end titlepage

@node Top, Introduction, (dir), (dir)

This manual documents GNU @code{nano}, a small and friendly text

* Introduction::
* Editor Basics::
* Online Help::
* Feature Toggles::
* The File Browser::
* Pico Compatibility::
* Building and Configure Options::
@end menu

@node Introduction, Editor Basics, Top, Top
@chapter Introduction

GNU @code{nano} is a small and friendly text editor.  Besides basic text
editing, @code{nano} offers many extra features like an interactive
search and replace, goto line number, auto-indentation, feature toggles,
internationalization support, and filename tab completion.

* Overview::
* Command Line Options::
@end menu

@node Overview, Command Line Options, Introduction, Introduction
@section Overview

@code{nano} +LINE [GNU long option] [option] [ @var{file ...} ]

The original goal for @code{nano} was a complete bug-for-bug compatible
emulation of Pico, but nano's main goal is to be as compatible as
possible while offering a superset of Pico's functionality.
Also see @xref{Pico Compatibility}, for other differences.

Email bug reports to @email{}. 

@node Command Line Options, , Overview, Introduction
@section Command Line Options

@code{nano} takes the following options from the command line:

@table @code

@item -B, --backup
When saving a file, back up the previous version of it to the current
filename suffixed with a ~.

@item -D, --dos
Write file in DOS format.

@item -F, --multibuffer
Enable multiple file buffers, if available.

@item -I, --ignorercfiles
Don't look at $SYSCONFDIR/nanorc or ~/.nanorc, if nanorc support is

@item -K, --keypad
Do not use the ncurses keypad() call unless necessary.  Try this flag if
you find that the arrow keys on the numeric keypad do not work for you
under @code{nano}.

@item -M, --mac
Write file in Mac format.

@item -N, --noconvert
Do not convert files from DOS/Mac format.

@item -Q [str], --quotestr [str]
Set the quoting string for justifying.  The default is

@code{^([ \t]*[|>:@}#])+}
@end quotation

if regular expression support is available, or ``> '' otherwise.  Note
that @code{\t} above stands for a literal Tab character.

@item -R, --regexp
Turn on regular expression search and search/replace.

@item -S, --smooth
Enable smooth scrolling.

@item -T [num], --tabsize=[num]
Set the displayed tab length to [num] columns.

@item -V, --version 
Print the version number and copyright and quit.

@item -Y, --syntax=[str]
Specify a specific syntax highlighting from the .nanorc to use, if

@item -c, --const
Constantly display the cursor position and line number on the statusbar.

@item -h, --help
Print the usage and exit.

@item -i, --autoindent
Automatically indent new lines to the same number of spaces and tabs as
the previous line.

@item -k, --cut
Makes ^K cut from the current cursor position to the end of the current

@item -l, --nofollow
When writing files, if the given file is a symbolic link it is removed
and a new file is created.

@item -m, --mouse
Enables the use of the mouse to select text (currently only useful for
running under the X window system).

@item -o [dir], --operatingdir=[dir]
Set operating directory. Makes @code{nano} set up something similar to a

@item -p, --preserve
Preserve the ^Q (XON) and ^S (XOFF) sequences so data being sent to the editor
can be can be stopped and started.

@item -r [#cols], --fill=[#cols].
Wrap lines at column #cols.  By default this is the width of the screen,
less eight. If this value is negative, wrapping will occur at #cols from
the right of the screen, allowing it to vary along with the screen width
if the screen is resized.

@item -s [prog], --speller=[prog]
Invoke [prog] as the spell checker.  By default, @code{nano} uses its
own interactive spell checker that requires the @code{spell} program be
installed on your system.

@item -t, --tempfile
Do not ask whether or not to save the current contents of the file when
exiting, assume yes.  This is most useful when using @code{nano} as the
composer of a mailer program.

@anchor{Expert Mode}
@item -x, --nohelp
In Expert Mode, the Shortcut Lists will not appear 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.

@item -v, --view
Do not allow the contents of the file to be altered.  Note that this
flag should NOT be used in place of correct file permissions to implement
a read-only file.

@item -w, --nowrap
Do not wrap long lines at any length. This option overrides any value for

@item -z, --suspend
Enable suspend ability of @code{nano} using the system's suspend
keystroke (usually ^Z).

@item -a, -b, -e, -f, -g, -j
Ignored, for compatibility with Pico.

@item +LINE
Start at line number LINE instead of the default of line 1.
@end table

@node Editor Basics, Online Help, Introduction, Top
@chapter Editor Basics
* Entering Text::
* Special Functions::
* The Titlebar::
* The Statusbar::
* Shortcut Lists::
@end menu

@node Entering Text, Special Functions, Editor Basics, Editor Basics
@section Entering Text

All key sequences in @code{nano} are entered using the keyboard.
@code{nano} is a ``modeless'' editor.  All keys with the exception of
Control and Meta key sequences will enter text into the file being

@node Special Functions, The Titlebar, Entering Text, Editor Basics
@section Special Functions

Special functions use the Control key (displayed in the help and
shortcut lists as ^) or the Meta key (displayed as M).
@itemize @bullet
Control key sequences are entered by holding down the Control key and
pressing the desired letter.  
Meta key sequences can be entered in a number of
possible ways: Pressing the Escape key, then releasing it and pressing
the desired key, or holding down the Alt key while pressing the desired 
key.  This varies from keyboard to keyboard, and certain commercial
operating systems ``swallow'' the Alt key so that it never reaches the
application. If your operating system does this, you should use the
Escape key to generate Meta key sequences.
@end itemize

@node The Titlebar, The Statusbar, Special Functions, Editor Basics
@section The Titlebar

The titlebar is the line displayed at the top of the editor.  There are
three sections: left, center and right. The section on the left displays
the version of @code{nano} being used.  The center section displays the
current file name, or ``New Buffer'' if the file has not yet been named.
The section on the right will display ``Modified'' if the file has been
modified since it was last saved or opened.

Special modes: When @code{nano} is in ``File browser'' mode, the center
section will display the current directory instead of the filename.
@xref{The File Browser}.

@node The Statusbar, Shortcut Lists, The Titlebar, Editor Basics
@section The Statusbar

The statusbar is located three lines from the bottom of the screen (or
the bottom line in Expert Mode.  @xref{Expert Mode}, for more info).

The Statusbar shows important and informational messages.  Any error
messages that occur from using the editor will appear on the statusbar.
Any questions that are asked of the user will be asked on the statusbar,
and any user input (search strings, file names, etc) will be input on
the statusbar.

@node Shortcut Lists, , The Statusbar, Editor Basics
@section Shortcut Lists

The Shortcut Lists are the two lines at the bottom of the screen which
show some of the more commonly used functions in the editor. 

@node Online Help, Feature Toggles, Editor Basics, Top
@chapter Online Help

The online help system in @code{nano} is available by pressing ^G.
It is fairly self explanatory, documenting the various parts of the 
editor and available keystrokes.  Navigation is via the ^Y (Page Up)
and ^V (Page Down) keys.  ^X exits the help system.

@node Feature Toggles, The File Browser, Online Help, Top
@chapter Feature Toggles

Toggles allow you to change certain aspects of the editor that
would normally be done via command line flags. They are invoked via
certain Meta key sequences. @xref{Special Functions}, for more info.
The following global toggles are available:

@table @code

@item Backup File Toggle (Meta-B)
toggles the -B (@code{--backup}) command line flag.

@item DOS Format Toggle (Meta-D)
toggles the -D (@code{--dos}) command line flag.

@item Multiple Files Toggle (Meta-F)
toggles the -F (@code{--multibuffer}) command line flag.

@item AutoIndent Toggle (Meta-I)
toggles the -i (@code{--autoindent}) command line flag.

@item Cut To End Toggle (Meta-K)
toggles the -k (@code{--cut}) command line flag.

@item Mouse Toggle (Meta-M)
toggles the -m (@code{--mouse}) command line flag.

@item Mac Format Toggle (Meta-O)
toggles the -M (@code{--mac}) command line flag.

@item Smooth Scrolling Toggle (Meta-S)
toggles the -S (@code{--smooth}) command line flag.

@item AutoWrap Toggle (Meta-W)
toggles the -w (@code{--nowrap}) command line flag.

@item Expert/Nohelp Toggle (Meta-X)
toggles the -x (@code{--nohelp}) command line flag.

@item Suspend Toggle (Meta-Z)
toggles the -z (@code{--suspend}) command line flag.

@item Open Previous File Toggle (Meta-<)
changes buffer to previously loaded file.

@item Open Next File Toggle (Meta->)
changes buffer to next loaded file.

@end table

@node The File Browser, Pico Compatibility, Feature Toggles, Top
@chapter The File Browser

When reading or writing files, pressing ^T will invoke the file browser.
Here, one can navigate directories in a graphical manner in order to
find the desired file.

Basic movement in the file browser is accomplished with the arrow keys
and page up/down.  The behavior of the enter (or `s') key varies by what
is currently selected.  If the currently selected object is a directory,
the file browser will enter and display the contents of the directory. 
If the object is a file, this filename and path are copied to the
statusbar and the file browser is exited.

@node Pico Compatibility, Building and Configure Options, The File Browser, Top
@chapter Pico Compatibility

@code{nano} attempts to emulate Pico as closely as possible, but there
are certain differences between the editors:

@table @code
@item Search and Replace History
As of version 1.2.4 of @code{nano}, text entered as search or replace
strings will be stored and can be accessed with the up/down
arrow keys.  Previously, @code{nano} offered a more consistent, but incompatible
with Pico, method for entering search and replace strings.  In the old
method, previous entries would be displayed by default as editable text 
in front of the cursor, as opposed to being bracketed and uneditable as 
it is in Pico.  The old behavior could be made compatible with Pico via the
@code{-p} flag, but recent versions of Pico use the @code{-p} flag 
to preserve the XON and XOFF sequences within the editor.  Since with the new 
method search and replace strings can still be edited by simply 
hitting the up arrow key once, the old method was removed completely.

@item Writing or Appending Selected Text to Files
Text selected using the Control-Caret (^^) key can be written out or
appended to a new or existing file using the Writeout key (^O).

@item Toggles
Many options which alter the functionality of the program can be 
"toggled" on or off using Meta key sequences, meaning the program does 
not have to be restarted to turn a particular feature of the editor 
on or off.  Please see the internal help function (^G) for a list of 
what functions can be toggled for a particular version of 
@code{nano}.  Also see @xref{Feature Toggles}, though this may be out
of date.

@item Cursor Position Display
The output of the "Display Cursor Position" in @code{nano} displays
the given column position, as well as the row and total character
position of the cursor.

@item Interactive Replace and Spell Checker
It is worth noting that the @code{nano} replace function is interactive,
i.e. it does not stop after one search string is found and automatically 
replace it.  The @code{nano} implementation will stop at each search
string found and query whether to replace this instance or not.  The 
internal spell checker operates similarly.  Note that these is no way 
to force these functions to behave in the Pico fashion.  As of 
version 1.2.4, misspelled words are sorted and trimmed for 
uniqueness in the internal spell checker such that the words 'apple' 
and 'Apple' will be prompted for correction separately.  
@end table

@node Building and Configure Options, , Pico Compatibility, Top
@chapter Building and Configure Options

Building @code{nano} from source is fairly straightforward if you are familiar
with compiling programs with autoconf support:

@itemize @bullet
@item tar xvfz nano-x.y.z.tar.gz (where x.y.z is the version of nano)
@item cd nano-x.y.z/
@item ./configure
@item make
@item make install
@end itemize

if you are looking to optimize @code{nano} for size, you may want to
consider the following command line options:

@table @code

@item --disable-tabcomp
Disable the tab completion code when reading or writing files.

@item --disable-justify
Disable the justify (^J)/unjustify (^U) functions in the editor.

@item --disable-speller
Disable spell checker ability.

@item --disable-help
Disable the help function (^G).  Disabling this option makes the binary
much smaller, but makes it difficult for new users to learn more than
very basic things about using the editor.

@item --disable-browser
Disable the mini file browser (^T) when reading or writing files.

@item --disable-mouse
Disable all mouse functionality.  This also disables the -m command line
flag, which enables the mouse functions.

@item --disable-operatingdir
Disable setting the operating directory.  This also disables the -o
command line flag.

@item --enable-tiny
This option disables all the above.  It also disables some of the larger
internals of the editor, like the marker code (^^) and the cut to line
(-k) option, which depends on the marker code to work properly.  It also
disables the function toggles.

@item --disable-wrapping
Disable all word wrapping in the editor.  This also eliminates the -w
command line flag, as nonwrapping is then the default behavior.

@item --disable-nls
Disables Native Language support. This will make the available GNU
@code{nano} translations unusable.

@item --with-slang
Compiling GNU @code{nano} with Slang is supported, and will make the
binary notably smaller than if compiled with ncurses or other curses

@end table