Sometime I have to use the text files created in Ubuntu, using editors, in Windows editors. So basically when ever I create a text file in Ubuntu I append the extension .txt, and it does make the file open in Windows very easily.

But the actual problem is the text files created in Ubuntu are so difficult to understand (read) when opened in Windows' Notepad. No matter how many lines have been used, all the lines appear in the same one line.

Is there a easy way to save the text files in Ubuntu's basic editors so that it can be seen exactly the same in Windows' notepad?

  • 2
    If you're open to alternatives, I'd recommend Notepad++, a free source code editor with syntax highlighting and more. It handles standard Unix file endings perfectly and offers a conversion function.
    – kiri
    Nov 16, 2013 at 7:33

2 Answers 2


Unlike Unix where a new line is represented by a LF character we need a combination CR/LF for files in DOS/Windows:


We can let Gedit save text documents with Windows-style line endings in the File -> Save as dialog.

  • Adjust the settings for Line Endings in the drop down menu to Windows.

    enter image description here


To make nano write text files in DOS format we have to run it with the following command line option 1:

nano --dos <filename>


Vim can convert files from Unix to DOS format with the following control sequences 2 :

:e ++ff=dos


To set the buffer coding to DOS style issue Meta + x :

set-buffer-file-coding-system utf-8-dos
  • Thanks Takkat for your answer. I'm in Office and currently using Windows(no Ubuntu installed). I'll let you know as soon as I reach my home. :) Nov 13, 2013 at 10:56
  • It would be this much simple I didn't expect. Yes it worked for gedit. Do you know how to achieve it for other editors like nano, vi and Emacs. I'm accepting this answer in a hope you'll find a way and make this question complete and perfect. Thanks.. :) Nov 13, 2013 at 14:55
  • 1
    That's brilliant. Thanks for asking the question and thanks @Takkat for your answer. I will use this a lot! Dec 11, 2013 at 19:13

Converting Unix-style line termination to Windows-style and back

I'm not sure if it's installed by default. Try this to be sure

sudo apt-get install dos2unix

You can convert the files with this to Windows-style

unix2dos myFileFromUbuntu.txt

And with this back to Unix-style

dos2unix myFileFromWindows.txt

Changing them back is often unnecessary. You will find, that the standard text editors handle Windows-style line termination just fine.

  • Good!! +1 for alternate way.. :) Nov 13, 2013 at 17:05
  • A bit overkill I would say... May 8, 2014 at 14:13
  • 2
    "Write programs that do one thing and do it well." - Doug McIllroy about the Unix philosophy
    – MadMike
    May 9, 2014 at 14:33
  • 2
    @Dualinity Not an overkill if you have many files to convert
    – warvariuc
    Sep 6, 2014 at 15:51

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