I want to add a crontab entry.
When I run the command

crontab -e

I just get a number as output! How to fix this issue?


  • Hello and welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Can you edit your question and post the output of crontab -l? – Mr Shunz Sep 25 '18 at 12:18
  • HI, crontab -l lists the contents of crontab correctly. only the crontab -e command was not working.. i followed the steps outlined by Rovo and selected the editor.. Now its working fine.. – Ravi Kumar CH Sep 26 '18 at 9:12

crontab gets opened with the default editor, which is saved in the EDITOR environment variable.

for me, this is vim:

$ echo $EDITOR

You can run crontab overriding the default editor like this:

EDITOR=editor-of-your-choice crontab -e

to permanently select a default editor, you can simply run this and choose the right number:


then, crontab -e should now open with your editor of choice.

See this related question: Changing default crontab editor

  • In particular, the number followed by an apparently empty prompt is the behavior expected when EDITOR=ed (969 being the number of lines in the file) – steeldriver Sep 25 '18 at 17:16
  • select-editor command did the trick.. thank you verymuch. – Ravi Kumar CH Sep 26 '18 at 9:12

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