Editing text at the command line with micro

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Article from Issue 248/2021
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Editing text at the command line doesn't have to be daunting. Micro brings the ease and intuitiveness of a graphical editor to the Linux terminal.

Linux users are spoiled for choice when it comes to many types of software. That's especially true for text editors. When I first started writing this article, I tried to count as many editors as I could just off the top of my head. I stopped when I got to around 32.

Quite a few of those editors run at the command line. While I've used several, I've never had great relationships with command-line text editors. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's just we don't have enough in common with each other to form a strong bond. Recently, though, I was working with a command-line application that played better with terminal text editors than with graphical ones. So, I duly set my default editor to the venerable GNU nano editor, which was the only terminal editor installed on my computer. While I've used nano in the past, I was quickly reminded that it isn't for me.

Instead of using software I don't particularly like, I searched around for an alternative and came across micro [1]. Billed as "a modern and intuitive terminal-based text editor," micro turned out to be great substitute for nano. In this article, I look at how any Linux user, regardless of their level of comfort with the command line, can start using micro and configure it to meet their needs.

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