If you are serious about working on Linux, especially as a system administrator or DevOps engineer then you'd better learn vim as that is the power editor on Linux. However it has a long and rather steep learning curve. If you are just getting started with Linux on the command line I'd recommend you first start using Nano, a much simpler editor that comes installed with Ubuntu and probably with other distributons as well.

I assume you have logged in and you see the prompt:

Create file with Nano

Type in:

$ nano hello.txt

This will open a text editor in the terminal showing some control options at the bottom:

Type in some text. e.g.

Hello World!
How are You?

In order to save the document click on Ctrl-o (See "Write Out" at the bottom of the screen.) It will offer to write the content with the name "hello.txt".

Press ENTER.

The file is now saved. We can quit Nano. Press Ctrl-X (see at the bottom for the key-bindings).

This will bring us back to the prompt. We can now list the content of the directory using ls. You'll see something like this:

We can also display the content of the file using the cat command:

The same way you can edit any other file.

Edit file

You can also edit an existing file.

Just type in

$ nano hello.txt

again and you'll be back in the editor.


Play around with the editor.

  • Create a new file.
  • Edit an existing file.
  • Exit and check with cat that the changes were saved.
  • Edit and existing file, make some changes, but exit without saving. Verify (using cat) that the changes were not saved.
  • Cut and Paste a line of text. (Paste = Uncut in Nano)
  • Search for some text in the document.