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Nano is the editor I use in command prompts.

When I open a large file I would like to search for some text (think Ctrl + F).

Is there a way to do this?

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up vote 119 down vote accepted

Ctrl + W is the shortcut for searching. After entering the search term, press Enter. To repeat the search, issue Alt + W. In this menu, you can select earlier searches using the arrow up/ down keys.

To toggle backwards searching, you need to press Alt + B in the search dialog.

For more shortcuts, press F1

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Alt + W is closing out the iterm shell for me and not repeating the search on Mac – anon58192932 May 18 '15 at 21:36
Alt-B isn't working for me – par Dec 22 '15 at 0:18
@ParsaAkbari Your terminal emulator is probably intercepting the keystroke. Try modifying the terminal shortcuts or use a different one. Konsole works for me. – Lekensteyn Dec 24 '15 at 9:12
If you type ctrl + W again and press enter, you will go to the next item. (But I agree that Alt + W is faster.) – Emiel Jun 9 at 9:20


Nano Basics Guide

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How would you search for a string that occurs multiple times, so loop through highlighting the matched text? – par Dec 22 '15 at 0:18

^W (F6) Search for a string or a regular expression

  1. Not in all system work F1 for help page. Try ^G.
  2. Not in all system nano has help page

Yep, it's just help page below. For those who see this message [ Sorry, support for this function has been disabled ] instead of nano help page

^G (F1) Display this help text

^X (F2) Close the current file buffer / Exit from nano

^O (F3) Write the current file to disk

^J (F4) Justify the current paragraph

^R (F5) Insert another file into the current one

^W (F6) Search for a string or a regular expression

^Y (F7) Go to previous screen

^V (F8) Go to next screen

^K (F9) Cut the current line and store it in the cutbuffer

^U (F10) Uncut from the cutbuffer into the current line

^C (F11) Display the position of the cursor

^T (F12) Invoke the spell checker, if available

M-\ (M-|) Go to the first line of the file

M-/ (M-?) Go to the last line of the file

^_ (F13) (M-G) Go to line and column number

^\ (F14) (M-R) Replace a string or a regular expression

^^ (F15) (M-A) Mark text at the cursor position

M-W (F16) Repeat last search

M-^ (M-6) Copy the current line and store it in the cutbuffer

M-} Indent the current line

M-{ Unindent the current line

^F Go forward one character

^B Go back one character

^Space Go forward one word

M-Space Go back one word

^P Go to previous line

^N Go to next line

^A Go to beginning of current line

^E Go to end of current line

M-( (M-9) Go to beginning of paragraph; then of previous paragraph

M-) (M-0) Go just beyond end of paragraph; then of next paragraph

M-] Go to the matching bracket

M-- (M-_) Scroll up one line without scrolling the cursor

M-+ (M-=) Scroll down one line without scrolling the cursor

M-< (M-,) Switch to the previous file buffer

M-> (M-.) Switch to the next file buffer

M-V Insert the next keystroke verbatim

^I Insert a tab at the cursor position

^M Insert a newline at the cursor position

^D Delete the character under the cursor

^H Delete the character to the left of the cursor

M-T Cut from the cursor position to the end of the file

M-J Justify the entire file

M-D Count the number of words, lines, and characters

^L Refresh (redraw) the current screen

^Z Suspend the editor (if suspend is enabled)

(M-X) Help mode enable/disable

(M-C) Constant cursor position display enable/disable

(M-O) Use of one more line for editing enable/disable

(M-S) Smooth scrolling enable/disable

(M-P) Whitespace display enable/disable

(M-Y) Color syntax highlighting enable/disable

(M-H) Smart home key enable/disable

(M-I) Auto indent enable/disable

(M-K) Cut to end enable/disable

(M-L) Long line wrapping enable/disable

(M-Q) Conversion of typed tabs to spaces enable/disable

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You can search for text in nano using Ctrl W.

Alt W (or Esc, W) will repeat the find. (Alternatively, leaving the box blank will default to the last text searched for.)

Pressing Ctrl R while in the Find prompt will activate Replace mode.

(Sadly, Ctrl W does't seem to work while in nano's Ctrl G help screen..)

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