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Console Text Editors


Nano is already included in the base install of many distributions. Insalling alternate keybindings to be more similar to those of Windows Notepad makes it much more comfortable to use.

I don't really like Notepad, but the years I spent using Windows have my fingers trained for those keybindings. I never learned to use vim or emacs or other *nix stalwarts.


Easy to install on most systems; though it is sometimes difficult to install from source if there is not an installer package available. Includes CUA menus and key-bindings, making it very intuitive to use for refugees from Windows or Mac systems. Not as many fancy features as Micro or Ash (see below) but good enough for 99% of the things I need to do.

Sanos Editor

This is only available to install from source code, but is a single 55KB file that is dead simple to compile on most systems. It has no syntax highlighting features, but does have a very useful option to execute shell code and insert the returned content into your document at the current cursor location. Often has spacing issues when displaying non-ASCII characters (Unicode and emoji); the display may appear odd but the file is properly saved and reloaded.


Runs as a single executable, and is easy to install on most systems. No CUA menus, but has good code highlighting, is quite configurable, and is easy to use.


Some of the other editors listed here might be useful. Unfortunately several are only available for MS Windows, others are outdated and unmaintained, and some are proprietary and not freely available.

CTE looks good but their server is returning expired certificates and a 500 error for the download.


Not as nice as Tilde (missing the CUA menus) or even Micro. Has some useful features that the others don't offer. Built using Python, but still fairly usable.

2022-06-13 17:11:25


Not an editor, this is the user-interface standard that we're looking for -- the more CUA-compliant an editor is the more familiar it will be to use and will likely have a less demanding learning curve.

Common User Access (CUA) is a standard for user interfaces to operating systems and computer programs. It was developed by IBM and first published in 1987 as part of their Systems Application Architecture. Used originally in the MVS/ESA, VM/CMS, OS/400, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows operating systems, parts of the CUA standard are now implemented in programs for other operating systems, including variants of Unix.

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