Using ubuntu 10.10 the editor in mc (midnight commander) is nano. How can i switch to the internal mc editor (mcedit)?

6 Answers 6


Press the following keys in order, one at a time:

  1. F9 or Alt + 9 Activates the top menu.
  2. o Selects the Option menu.
  3. c Opens the configuration dialog.
  4. i Toggles the use internal edit option.
  5. s Saves your preferences.


  • 11
    Can you also add how to change the editor to any other editor?
    – trusktr
    Nov 4, 2012 at 20:34
  • It would be better to specify a way to change this from the command line, but not by changing the OS default editor.
    – sorin
    Apr 30, 2013 at 8:10
  • This is great, but is there a way to do the same in the command line, say, by adding/changing an environment variable? I'd like to automate this. Apr 5, 2014 at 17:34
  • 5
    Looks it has changed to 't' instead of 'i' image Feb 15, 2016 at 5:43
  • 1
    @trusktr to change to other editor you need to uncheck the option and set the EDITOR environment variable, easily with select-editor May 20, 2020 at 2:46

Run MC as usual. On the command line right above the bottom row of menu selections type select-editor. This should open a menu with a list of all of your installed editors. This is working for me on all my current linux machines.

  • Thank you! That was the only solution that worked for me with the mc version in the Ubuntu 14.04 repositories. Aug 9, 2015 at 11:57
  • 6
    Doesn't work for me. I get a "Command not found" error from Bash.
    – marlar
    Mar 17, 2016 at 8:50
  • 2
    This solution is useful in Ubuntu (not tested in Debian) but in Redhat or Centos you need to do something like this blog rhel-centos-set-default-editor-to-nano
    – hermeslm
    Aug 9, 2019 at 15:09
  • 1
    @hermeslm, Thank you ^_^
    – Sam Sirry
    May 8, 2022 at 2:16
  • +1 as this works in Debian 11 as well and allows one to change the editor to eg nano after mcedit was selected, as Debian activates mcedit as an external editor so changing it becomes impossible with the menu-based solution given by Isaiah.
    – fvu
    Mar 2, 2023 at 11:34

You can also change the standard editor system-wide. Open a terminal and type this command:

sudo update-alternatives --config editor

You will get a list of the installed editors on your system, and you can choose your favorite.

  • 4
    OP is not asking how to change the system default editor. Dec 9, 2010 at 18:33
  • @RyanC.Thompson yes, but changing the default system editor would also change the default external MC editor, thus answering the OP's question. It's still a valid answer.
    – user213769
    Jul 13, 2023 at 15:41

If you want to leave mc and system settings as it is now, you may just run it like

$ EDITOR=mcedit mc

In user's home folder (/home/<user-name>/) there should be a file named .selected_editor. One can edit it and change it there to a desired editor.

# Generated by /usr/bin/select-editor

Or remove this file to force MC to ask about default editor on first edit.

  • This is the best way to also set a custom editor like micro.
    – Vassilis
    Oct 16, 2020 at 7:38
  • This is the way it worked for me as mc is not showing the "save" option
    – fabatera
    Mar 12 at 11:10

Open Midnight Commander, go to Options -> Configuration and check "use internal editor" Hit save and you are done.

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