nano - macOS


Nano is a text editor designed for the command line with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. It’s a versatile tool for editing text-based files in macOS.


nano [options] [file]


  • -h, –help: Display help information.
  • -i, –ignorecase: Perform case-insensitive searches.
  • -l, –line-numbers: Display line numbers.
  • -M, –macro: Define a macro.
  • -N, –nolinenumbers: Hide line numbers.
  • -s, –search: Search for a pattern.
  • -t, –tabs: Convert leading spaces to tabs.
  • -v, –version: Display version information.


# Open a new file for editing

# Open an existing file
nano myfile.txt

# Search for "example" and replace all occurrences with "new example"
nano -s example myfile.txt

# Edit a file with line numbers displayed
nano -l myfile.txt

Common Issues

  • Error loading file: Ensure the file path specified exists and you have read and write permissions.
  • File not saved: Use Ctrl+X to save changes. Ctrl+Y will discard changes and exit.
  • Cannot search with -i: Enable case-insensitive searches using -i.
  • Accidental keybindings: Use Ctrl+G to view all keybindings and exit help mode.


Nano can be used with other commands to achieve more complex tasks. For example, piping output from a command to nano for editing:

command | nano
  • emacs: Advanced text editor with a graphical user interface.
  • vi: Text editor known for its modal editing interface.
  • pico: Another simple text editor for the command line.