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Improvements in GNU nano
Since 6.0:
- Option --zero hides the interface and uses the whole terminal for editing.
- Colors can be given also in #rgb hexadecimal, to select the nearest color
from the 6x6x6 color-cube palette available on 256-color terminals.
- Fourteen new color names are available, from rosy to crimson.
Since 5.0:
- A search briefly spotlights the found text, in black on yellow by default.
- Option --minibar reduces the interface to a bottom bar with basic info.
- The cursor skips over combining characters, <Del> deletes them together
with the character they combine with, but <Bsp> deletes them separately.
- For using libmagic the option --magic or -! or 'set magic' is required.
- With --stateflags the state of some things is shown in the title bar.
- M-Bsp deletes a word leftward.
- With --indicator a "scrollbar" is shown, indicating position+portion.
- M-Ins places an anchor, M-PgUp/M-PgDn jump to the nearest anchor.
- Toggling help lines (M-X) and Refresh (^L) work nearly everywhere.
- Colors can be modified with the attributes "bold," and/or "italic,".
- Nine new color names: from pink and purple to orange and latte.
Since 4.0:
- Pasting from outside into nano suppresses auto-indentation.
- Such an external paste can be undone with a single M-U.
- Shift+Meta+letter key combos can be bound with 'bind Sh-M-letter ...'.
- A custom nanorc file may be specified with -f / --rcfile.
- What the <Tab> key produces can be specified per syntax with 'tabgives'.
- The ability to perform a search at startup with +/string or +?string.
- Comment characters are copied when automatic hard-wrapping occurs.
- The ability to both read from and write to a FIFO.
- Automatic hard-wrapping is no longer the default.
- Addition of --guidestripe to draw a helpful vertical bar.
- Meta-Up and Meta-Down scroll the screen linewise.
- Continuation is shown with a highlighted ">" instead of a plain "$".
- A marked region gets justified into a single, separate paragraph.
- Any number of justifications can be undone.
Since 3.0:
- Addition of --zap to make <Del> and <Bsp> obliterate marked text.
- <Ctrl+Delete> wipes next word and <Shift+Ctrl+Delete> preceding word.
- An external spell check can be undone.
Since 2.9.0:
- The ability to filter text through an external command.
- Better detection of paragraphs, allowing a less indented beginning.
- Option 'set afterends' for making Ctrl+Right stop at word ends.
- A crash handler that saves changed buffers in case of a crash.
- Addition of the color name "normal", meaning the default color.
- A key can be bound to a string -- any mix of text and control codes.
- Error messages are shown by default in bright white on red.
- <Tab> and <Shift+Tab> can be used to indent/unindent a marked region.
- Can snip trailing whitespace while typing, with 'set trimblanks'.
- The ability to record and replay a series of keystrokes (a macro).
- Assigned functions to ^S (save file) and ^Q (start backward search).
- Indenting and unindenting have been integrated into the undo system.
- Support for $XDG_CONFIG_HOME for the nanorc file, and $XDG_DATA_HOME
for the history files (of search strings and cursor positions).
Since 2.8.0:
- ^U pastes the first line of the cutbuffer at a prompt.
- Softwrapping can be done at whitespace (with --soft --atblanks).
- The ^G help texts have become searchable (with ^W and M-W).
- Ctrl+Home and Ctrl+End jump to start and end of file.
- In softwrap mode the cursor now moves per visual row instead of
per logical line, and the screen will scroll per row.
Since 2.7.0:
- The keystroke ^] to complete a fragment to an existing full word.
- The ability to display line numbers in front of the text (M-#).
Since 2.6.0:
- Shift plus the cursor keys can be used for selecting text.
- Ctrl+Arrow should now work also on a Linux virtual console.
- Ctrl+Up and Ctrl+Down jump to previous or next block of text.
- Feedback during Unicode Input (M-V followed by six digits).
- The option 'wordchars' for specifying extra word characters.
- Hi-bit control characters are shown in a more readable manner.
- The ability to use negative numbers at the Go To Line prompt.
- The ability to comment/uncomment lines with a single keystroke (M-3).
- The ability to refresh the file list in the browser (^L).
- The ability to abort re-searches (^C after an M-W).
- Better feedback at startup when opening large or multiple files.
Since 2.5.0:
- The option 'justifytrim' for snipping whitespace from justified lines.
- The ability to discard a buffer (^O ^Q) when --tempfile is used.
- On most terminals Ctrl+Left / Ctrl+Right now work for PrevWord/NextWord.
- When in the middle of a word, PrevWord now jumps to the start of this
word (like Pico does) instead of to the start of the preceding word.
- The ability to delete whole words with 'cutwordleft' and 'cutwordright'.
- The ability to save a file without prompting for its name ('savefile').
- The ability to search backward without having to toggle the direction.
Since 2.4.0:
- Replacing things in a marked region now takes place in situ, in context,
instead of changing the view to only the marked text.
- Invalid byte sequences are properly displayed and not mistakenly found.
- Resizing the window does not exit from help viewer nor file browser.
Since 2.3.0:
- System syntaxes can be improved upon with the 'extendsyntax' command.
- Whitespace display (M-P) does not require configuration to be useful.
- Undo/redo is enabled by default (M-U/M-E) and works nearly everywhere
-- just not yet for justifying and indenting/unindenting.
- The ability to color the title bar, the status bar and the help lines.
- The ability to run a linter or formatter (^T) on the current buffer.
- The ability to only write to named pipes with --noread.
- Determination of the applicable syntax through libmagic -- when the
file extension nor the first line give an answer.
- The option 'positionlog' for saving/restoring the cursor position.
- The ability to read and write vim-style lock files.
Since 2.0.0:
- The ability to rebind keys, via a nanorc file.
- The ability to read standard input like a pager ("nano -").
- Color syntax highlighting can be set by the first line of a file.
- The ability to silence nanorc error messages (-q).
- Undo/redo operations (M-U/M-E, enabled with -u).
- Soft wrapping of text (-$).
- Better handling of backup files: if nano can't write a backup file,
it won't try to write the original file afterward.
- Emergency savefiles retain ownerships and permissions when possible.
- Performance improvements in color syntax highlighting.
Since 1.2.0:
- Support for UTF-8.
- Moving to a specified line and column of a file, instead of just a
line (+LINE,COLUMN).
- Smart home key (-A).
- Creation of unique backup files in a specified directory (-C <dir>).
- Insertion of spaces instead of a tab when Tab is pressed (-E).
- The long option for -K is now --rebindkeypad.
- Regular expression searching can now be toggled when nano is built
with --enable-tiny, so -R now means something else (see next item).
- Restricted mode that provides more security than -o (-R).
- Blanking of the statusbar after 1 keystroke instead of 25 (-U).
- Word searches can optionally skip over punctuation (-W).
- Workaround for Delete's acting like Backspace (-d).
- Many more options are supported in the nanorc.
- Improvements to color syntax highlighting support: case insensitive
matching, the ability to include color syntaxes in separate files,
the ability to specify background colors without foreground colors...
- Insertion of single-byte characters via Esc Esc <000-255>.
- Insertion of any character via Meta-V, "Verbatim Input".
- Workaround for the "NumLock glitch".
- Meta-W now repeats the last search. Wrapping is toggled via Meta-L.
- Replacing and spell checking only selected text.
- Indenting lines with one keystroke.
- Copying text into the cutbuffer without cutting it.
- Scrolling the text up and down single lines without moving the cursor.
- PageUp and PageDown work more smoothly when using -S.
- Scrolling the help text up and down single lines.
- Cutting all text from the current position to the end of the file
with one keystroke (Meta-T).
- Justifying the entire file with one keystroke (Meta-J).
- Justifying without removing spaces from the ends of lines.
- Unjustifying after justifying and immediately resizing.
- Going to the first or last line of the current paragraph.
- Going to the first or last line of the file without having to go to
the "Search" prompt.
- Searching for filenames in the file browser.
- Spaces and tabs are shown differently to make it easier to tell them apart.
- Many more functions are available at the prompt: moving to the next or
previous word, searching for matching brackets, "Verbatim Input"...
- "To Line" (^W^T) and "Read from Command" (^R^X) return to their parent
menu when their keystroke is entered again (^W^T^T and ^R^X^X).
- Automatic adding of newlines to the ends of files without them can
now be disabled (-L).
- Converting from and to DOS/Mac file format is now toggled only at the
"Write File" prompt, via Meta-D and Meta-M, and the default file format
to save in is now set depending on what format the file was originally
in. -D now makes nano use bold text instead of reverse video text,
and Meta-D at the edit window now does a word/line/character count.
-O now makes the unused second line of the screen part of the edit
window, and Meta-O now toggles this behavior while editing.
- Converting files that contain a mix of DOS and Mac format lines.
- Automatic switching on of -N with binary files has been removed, as
it causes problems with UTF-8 support.
Since 1.0
- Complete Pico compatibility (option --pico has been removed,
and -p now means something else, see below).
- Support for nanorc files.
- Smooth scrolling (-S).
- Jumping to the matching brace, bracket, etc.
- Help for all editor features.
- Color syntax highlighting support.
- Quote string support, useful for mail agents, etc. (-Q).
- Insertion of output of external commands.
- Optional enabling of XON and XOFF control characters (-p).
- Option -o (--operatingdir) implements a chroot of sorts.
- Mouse support (-m) also allows clicking on shortcuts.
- Option -r allows a negative argument.
- Overwriting and appending or prepending to files.
- Writing marked text to separate files.
- Multiple file buffers (-F).
- Converting from and to DOS/Mac file format (-D/-M, -N to disable).
- Better control character handling.
- Creation of backup files (-B).
- Search/replace history (-H).
Available in 1.0:
- Spell checking (^T).
- Justification (^J) and unjustification (^U).
- Internationalization (more translations are welcome).
- Help texts (^G).
- Resizing in X.
- On PageUp/Down, the cursor is put on the first screen line (like Pico).
- Tab completion at the prompt (for filenames and ~user).
- Cut-to-end-of-line option (-k).