1. NAME

nanorc - GNU nano's rcfile

2. DESCRIPTION

This manual page briefly documents GNU nano's rcfile.

nano is a small, free and friendly editor which aims to replace Pico, the default editor included in the non-free Pine package. Rather than just copying Pico's look and feel, nano also implements some missing (or disabled by default) features in Pico, such as "search and replace" and "go to line and column number".

The nanorc file contains the default settings for nano. It should not be in DOS or Mac format. During startup, nano will first read its system-wide settings from SYSCONFDIR/nanorc, and then user-specific settings from ~/.nanorc.

3. OPTIONS

The configuration file accepts a series of set and unset commands, which can be used to configure nano on startup without using the command line options. Additionally, the syntax, color, and icolor keywords are used to define syntax highlighting rules for different text patterns. nano will read one command per line. Options in nanorc files take precedence over nano's defaults, and command line options override nanorc settings. Also, options are unset by default, except for those that take arguments. Quotes inside string parameters don't have to be escaped with backslashes. The last double quote in the string will be treated as its end. For example, for the brackets option, ""')>]}" will match ", ', ), >, ], and }. The supported commands and arguments are:

set/unset autoindent

   Use auto-indentation.

set/unset backup

    Create backup files in filename~.

set backupdir

    Set the directory where nano puts unique backup files if file backups are enabled.

set/unset backwards

    Do backwards searches by default.

set/unset boldtext

    Use bold text instead of reverse video text.

set brackets

    Set the characters treated as closing brackets when justifying paragraphs. They cannot contain blank characters. Only closing punctuation, optionally followed by closing brackets, can end sentences. The default value is ""')>]}".

set/unset casesensitive

    Do case sensitive searches by default.

set/unset const

    Constantly display the cursor position in the status bar.

set/unset cut

    Use cut to end of line by default.

set fill n
    Wrap lines at column number n. If n is 0 or less, the maximum line length will be the screen width less n columns. The default value is -8.

set/unset historylog

    Enable ~/.nano_history for saving and reading search/replace strings.

set matchbrackets

    Set the opening and closing brackets that can be found by bracket searches. They cannot contain blank characters. The former set must come before the latter set, and both must be in the same order. The default value is "(<[{)>]}".

set/unset morespace

    Use the blank line below the titlebar as extra editing space.

set/unset 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.

set/unset multibuffer

    Allow inserting files into their own buffers.

set/unset noconvert

    Don't convert files from DOS/Mac format.

set/unset nofollow

    Don't follow symlinks when writing files.

set/unset nohelp

    Don't display the help lists at the bottom of the screen.

set/unset nonewlines

    Don't add newlines to the ends of files.

set/unset nowrap

    Don't wrap text at all.

set operatingdir

    nano will only read and write files inside directory and its subdirectories. Also, the current directory is changed to here, so files are inserted from this diractory. By default, the operating directory feature is turned off.

set/unset preserve

    Preserve the XON and XOFF keys (^Q and ^S).

set punct

    Set the characters treated as closing punctuation when justifying paragraphs. They cannot contain blank characters. Only closing punctuation, optionally followed by closing brackets, can end sentences. The default value is "!.?".

set/unset quiet

    nano will not report errors in the nanorc file and ask them to be acknowledged by pressing enter at startup. If this is used it should be placed at the top of the file to be fully effective.

set/unset quickblank

    Do quick statusbar blanking. Statusbar messages will disappear after 1 keystroke instead of 25.

set quotestr

    The email-quote string, used to justify email-quoted paragraphs. This is an extended regular expression if your system supports them, otherwise a literal string. The default value is "^([ \\t]*[#:>\ }])+" if you have extended regular expression support, or "" otherwise. Note that '\\t' stands for a literal Tab character.

set/unset 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.

set/unset 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.

set/unset regexp

    Do extended regular expression searches by default.

set/unset 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.

set/unset smooth

    Use smooth scrolling by default.

set/unset softwrap

    Enable soft line wrapping for easier viewing of very long lones.

set speller

    Use spelling checker spellprog instead of the built-in one, which calls spell.

set/unset suspend

    Allow nano to be suspended.

set tabsize n
    Use a tab size of n columns. The value of n must be greater than 0. The default value is 8.

set/unset tabstospaces

    Convert typed tabs to spaces.

set/unset tempfile

    Save automatically on exit, don't prompt.

set/unset undo

    Enable experimental generic-purpose undo code.

set/unset view

    Disallow file modification.

set/unset softwrap

    Enable soft line wrapping for easier viewing of very long lones.

set whitespace

    Set the two characters used to display the first characters of tabs and spaces. They must be single-column characters.

set/unset wordbounds

    Detect word boundaries more accurately by treating punctuation characters as parts of words.

syntax

    Defines a syntax named str which can be activated via the -Y/--syntax command line option, or will be automatically activated if the current filename matches the extended regular expression fileregex. All following color and icolor statements will apply to syntax until a new syntax is defined. The none syntax is reserved; specifying it on the command line is the same as not having a syntax at all. The default syntax is special: it takes no fileregex, and applies to files that don't match any other syntax's fileregex.

color fgcolor,bgcolor
    For the currently defined syntax, display all expressions matching the extended regular expression regex with foreground color fgcolor and background color bgcolor, at least one of which must be specified. Legal colors for foreground and background color are: white, black, red, blue, green, yellow, magenta, and cyan. You may use the prefix "bright" to force a stronger color highlight for the foreground. If your terminal supports transparency, not specifying a bgcolor tells nano to attempt to use a transparent background.

icolor fgcolor,bgcolor
    Same as above, except that the expression matching is case insensitive.

color fgcolor,bgcolor start=
    Display expressions which start with the extended regular expression sr and end with the extended regular expression er with foreground color fgcolor and background color bgcolor, at least one of which must be specified. This allows syntax highlighting to span multiple lines. Note that all subsequent instances of sr after an initial sr is found will be highlighted until the first instance of er.

icolor fgcolor,bgcolor start=
    Same as above, except that the expression matching is case insensitive.

include

    Read in self-contained color syntaxes from syntaxfile. Note that syntaxfile can only contain syntax, color, and icolor commands.

4. KEY BINDINGS

Key bindings may be reassigned via the following commands:

bind key function menu
    Rebinds the key key to a new function named function in the context of menu menu. The format of key should be one of:

^

    followed by an alpha character or the word "Space". Example: ^C

M-

    followed by a printable character or the word "Space". Example: M-C

F

    followed by a numeric value from 1 to 16. Example: F10

  • Valid function names to be bound include:

help

   Invoke the help menu.

cancel

    Cancel the current command.

exit

    Exit from the program.

writeout

    Write the current buffer to disk.

justify

    Justify the current text.

insert

    Insert a file into the current buffer (or into a new buffer when multibuffer is enabled).

whereis

    Search for text in the current buffer.

searchagain

    Repeat the last search command.

up

    Move up in the editor or browser.

down

    Move down in the editor or browser.

left

    Move left in the editor or browser.

right

    Move right in the editor or browser.

cut

    Cut the current line of text and store it.

uncut

    Copy the currently stored text into the current buffer position.

curpos

    Show the current line, column, word positions in the file.

firstline

    Move to the first line of the file.

lastline

    Move to the last line of the file.

gotoline

    Move to a specific line (and column if specified).

replace

    Interactively replace text within the current buffer.

mark

    Begin selecting text for cutting or pasting at the current position.

copytext

    Copy the currently marked text without deleting it.

indent

    Indent the currently marked text (shift to the right).

unindent

    Un-indent the currently marked text (shift to the left).

nextword

    Move the cursor to the beginning of the next word.

prevword

    Move the cursor to the beginning of the previous word.

home

    Move the cursor to the beginning of the current line.

end

    Move the cursor to the end of the current line.

beginpara

    Move the cursor to the beginning of the current paragraph.

endpara

    Move the cursor to the end of the current paragraph.

findbracket

    Move the cursor to the matching bracket (brace, parenthesis, etc.) of the one under the cursor.

scrollup

    Scroll up one line of text from the current position.

scrolldown

    Scroll down one line of text from the current position.

prevbuf

    Switch to editing/viewing the previous buffer when using multibuffer mode.

nextbuf

    Switch to editing/viewing the next buffer when using multibuffer mode.

verbatim

    Insert the next character verbatim into the file.

tab

    Insert a tab at the current cursor location.

enter

    Insert a new line below the current one.

delete

    Delete the character under the cursor.

fulljustify

    Justify the entire current file.

wordcount

    Count the number of words in the current buffer.

refresh

    Refresh the screen.

undo

    Undo the text action peformed (add text, delete text, etc).

redo

    Redo the last undone action (i.e., undo an undo).

suspend

    Suspend the editor (if the suspend function is enabled, see the "suspendenable" entry below).

casesens

    Toggle case sensitivity in searching (search/replace menus only).

regexp

    Toggle whether searching/replacing is based on literal strings or regular expressions.

prevhistory

    Show the previous history entry in the prompt menus (e.g. search).

nexthistory

    Show the next history entry in the prompt menus (e.g. search).

dontreplace

    Switch back to searching instead of replacing.

gototext

    Search for files matching a string in the file browser (reading or writing files).

dosformat

    When writing a file, switch to writing a DOS format (CR/LF).

macformat

    When writing a file, switch to writing a Mac format.

append

    When writing a file, append to the end instead of overwriting.

prepend

    When writing a file, 'prepend' (write at the beginning) instead of overwriting.

backup

    When writing a file, create a backup of the current file.

firstfile

    Move to the first file when using the file browser (reading or writing files).

lastfile

    Move to the last file when using the file browser (reading or writing files).

nohelp

    Toggle showing/hiding the two-line list of key bindings at the bottom of the screen.

constupdate

    Constantly display the current line, column, word positions.

morespace

    Toggle showing/hiding the blank line which 'separates' the 'title' from the file text.

smoothscroll

    Toggle smooth scrolling when moving via the arrow keys.

whitespacedisplay

    Toggle whether whitespace is shown.

smarthome

    Toggle whether the smart home key function is enabled.

autoindent

    Toggle whether new lines will contain the same amount of whitespace as the line above.

cuttoend

    Toggle whether cutting text will cut the whole line or just from the current cursor position to the end of the line.

nowrap

    Toggle whether long lines will be wrapped to the next line.

suspendenable

    Toggle whether the suspend sequence (normally ^Z) will suspend the editor window.


  •     Valid menu sections are:

main

    The main editor window where text is entered.

search

    The search menu (AKA whereis).

replace

    The 'search to replace' menu.

replacewith

    The 'replace with' menu, which comes up after 'search to replace'.

gotoline

    The 'goto line (and column)' menu.

writeout

    The 'write file' menu.

insert

    The 'insert file' menu.

extcmd

    The menu for inserting output from an external comman, reached from the insert menu.

help

    The help menu.

spell

    The interactive spell checker Yes/no menu.

browser

    The file browser for inserting or writing a file.

whereisfile

    The 'search for a file' menu in the file browser.

gotodir

    The 'go to directory' menu.

all

    A special name meaning: apply to all menus where this function exists.

unbind key menu
    Unbind the key key from the menu named menu or from all menus by using all. Same key syntax as for binding. Rebinds the key key to a new function named function in the context of menu menu. The format of key should be one of:

5. FILES

  • SYSCONFDIR/nanorc
        System-wide configuration file
  • ~/.nanorc
        Per-user configuration file

6. SEE ALSO

  • nano(1)
        .PP /usr/share/doc/nano/examples/nanorc.sample (or equivalent on your system)

7. AUTHOR

Chris Allegretta < >, et al (see AUTHORS and THANKS for details). This manual page was originally written by Jordi Mallach < >, for the Debian system (but may be used by others).