Keyboard shortcuts in Pico or GNU Nano

Basic operations

Pico displays a menu bar of commonly used commands at the bottom of the screen. Pico accepts commands from your keyboard but not from your mouse. The following are some of Pico’s basic operations:

  • Inserting text: To insert text into your Pico editing screen at the cursor, just begin typing. Pico inserts the text to the left of the cursor, moving any existing text along to the right. Each time the cursor reaches the end of a line, Pico’s word wrap feature automatically moves it to the beginning of the next line. (Also see ”Justifying text”.)
  • Cursor movement: To move the cursor, use the arrow keys or use the following commands:
    Ctrl-f Moves the cursor forward one character

    Note: See the Command overview for more cursor movement commands.

  • Deleting text: To delete the character to the left of the cursor, press Backspace, Delete, or Ctrl-h . To delete the character highlighted by the cursor, press Ctrl-d . To delete the current line, press Ctrl-k .
  • Saving your work: To save your edited file to disk, press Ctrl-o . Pico displays the current filename. (To save the file under a different name, delete the filename that Pico displays and type a new one.) Press Enter.
  • Exiting Pico: To exit Pico, press Ctrl-x . If you made any changes since the last save, Pico will ask whether or not to save them. Type y (for yes) or n (for no). If you type y , Pico displays the filename. (To save the edited file under a different name, delete the filename and type a new one.) Press Enter.


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