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Install Nano on FreeBSD

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Nano is a text editor with an incredibly straightforward and easy to use interface. It is commonly used with Unix-like operating systems, including FreeBSD. It is quite similar to the Pico text editor but includes a host of features that are entirely unique to itself. There’s one drawback that it cannot be used in several different modes like other text editors for FreeBSD.

This is going to be a quick tutorial on how to set up nano on a FreeBSD system. Plus, there’s going to be a section in this lesson that’ll help you get started with this text editor.

Installing nano text editor in FreeBSD

To install any software in a FreeBSD system, the pkg method and the ports collection method are your most viable options. The FreeBSD package manager(pkg) installs with packages, and the ports collection method is used to perform a custom installation of the software. In both cases, you have complete control over the compilation method for the package/port.

Install Nano with FreeBSD package manager

Run the command below to install nano with the pkg:

$ pkg install nano


Install Nano with ports method in FreeBSD

You can use the ports collection method to install Nano as well.

Switch the installation directories to the port nano –

$ cd /usr/ports/editor/nano

Then type in the command below to install the package:

$ make install clean

Getting started with Nano text editor

As far as the interface goes, Nano is probably the easiest to work with out of all the text editors for FreeBSD. Its command-line interface is quite intuitive and flexible, and once you start working with it, it’ll show.

So without further ado, let’s get started with our new text editor.

Creating a new file in Nano

The command that creates new files in Nano goes something like this:

$ nano [Enter Filename]

Or you can type nano into the field and hit enter to fire up the text editor and get to writing the document.

$ nano


When you’re done writing the document/file, you can press ctrl+o to save the file. You will be asked to name the file before it is saved.

Copy-pasting text in Nano

Press the ctrl and number 6 keys together to set the mark and select the text portions to copy using the arrow keys. The key combination to copy the highlighted text is alt+6, and to paste the same, take the cursor to that location and press ctrl+u.

You can also cut out the portions of texts this way. Once marked with the arrow keys, press ctrl+k to cut the portion of the text. Then paste it with the ctrl+u keys at a location of your choice.

Lookup words in Nano

Press the ctrl and w keys together to prompt a search field. Type out the words you want to find, hit enter, and Nano’s version of the find tool will look it up and take the cursor to the first search result.

Saving your work in Nano

You can save your file’s contents by pressing the ctrl+s keys together, and your file will be saved under the designated name if you’ve already named the file. Else the editor will ask for a file name before you save it.

To save the contents of a previously saved file but to a different copy, press the ctrl and o keys together, enter a new name and, your work will be saved to a new file.

Quit Nano

Just press the ctrl and s keys together when you’re done, and your file will be saved, then press the ctrl and x keys together to leave the editor.

In summary

In this tutorial, we’ve introduced Nano, a simple yet powerful text editor that goes well with Unix like operating systems. Hopefully, you’ve managed to set up and get started with Nano.

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