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Manual Reference Pages  -  NEDIT (1)

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NEdit - Text Editor



nedit [-read] [-create] [-line n | +n] [-server]
[-do command] [-tags file] [-tabs n]
[-wrap] [-nowrap] [-autowrap]
[-autoindent] [-noautoindent]
[-autosave] [-noautosave]
[-lm languagemode] [-rows n] [-columns n]
[-font font]
[-geometry|-g geometry] [-iconic] [-noiconic]
[-display [host]:server[.screen]]
[-xrm resourcestring]
[-svrname name] [-import file]
[-background|-bg color] [-foreground|-fg color]
[-tabbed] [-untabbed] [-group]
[-V|-version] [-h|-help] [--] [file...]


NEdit is a standard GUI (Graphical User Interface) style text editor for programs and plain-text files. It provides mouse based editing and a streamlined editing style, based on popular Macintosh and MS Windows editors, for users of X workstations and X terminals.


-read Open the file read-only regardless of the actual file protection.
-create Don’t warn about file creation when a file doesn’t exist.
-line n, +n Go to line number n.
-server Designate this session as an NEdit server, for processing commands from the nc(1) program. nc(1) can be used to interface NEdit to code development environments, mailers, etc., or just as a quick way to open files from the shell command line without starting a new NEdit session.
-do command Execute an NEdit macro or action on the file following the -do argument on the command line. -do is particularly useful from the nc(1) program, where ‘nc -do’ can remotely execute commands in an nedit -server session.
-tags file Load a file of directions for finding definitions of program subroutines and data objects. The file must be of the format generated by Exuberant Ctags, or the standard Unix ctags(1) command.
-tabs n Set tab stops every n characters.
-wrap, -nowrap Wrap long lines at the right edge of the window rather than continuing them past it. (Continuous Wrap mode)
-autowrap, -noautowrap Wrap long lines when the cursor reaches the right edge of the window by inserting newlines at word boundaries. (Auto Newline Wrap mode)
-autoindent, -noautoindent Maintain a running indent.
-autosave, -noautosave Maintain a backup copy of the file being edited under the name ~filename (on Unix) or _filename (on VMS).
-lm languagemode Initial language mode used for editing succeeding files.
-rows n Default height in characters for an editing window.
-columns n Default width in characters for an editing window.
-font font, -fn font Font for text being edited. Font for menus and dialogs can be set with -xrm *fontList:font.
-geometry geometry, -g geometry The initial size and/or location of editor windows. The argument geometry has the form:


where C‘<width>’ and <height> are the desired width and height of the window, and <xoffset> and C‘<yoffset>’ are the distance from the edge of the screen to the window, + for top or left, - for bottom or right. -geometry can be specified for individual files on the command line.

-iconic, -noiconic Initial window state for succeeding files.
-display [host]:server[.screen] The name of the X server to use. host specifies the machine, server specifies the display server number, and screen specifies the screen number. host or screen can be omitted and default to the local machine, and screen 0.
-background color, -bg color Background color. The background color for text can be set separately with -xrm nedit*text.background: color.
-foreground color, -fg color Foreground color. The foreground color for text can be set separately with -xrm nedit*text.foreground: color.
-xrm resourcestring Set the value of an X resource to override a default value.
-svrname name When starting nedit in server mode, name the server, such that it responds to requests only when nc(1) is given a corresponding -svrname argument. By naming servers, you can run several simultaneously, and direct files and commands specifically to any one. Specifying a non-empty name automatically designates this session as an NEdit server, as though -server were specified.
-import file Loads an additional preferences file on top of the existing defaults saved in your nedit.rc file. To incorporate macros, language modes, and highlight patterns and styles written by other users, run nedit with -import <file>, then re-save your nedit.rc file with Preferences->Save Defaults.
-tabbed Open all subsequent files in new tabs. Resets -group option.
-untabbed Open all subsequent files in new windows. Resets -group option.
-group Open all subsequent files as tabs in a new window.
-V, -version Prints version and build information, to be mentioned when reporting bugs and problems.
-h, -help Prints the command line help and then exits.
-- Treats all subsequent arguments as file names, even if they start with a dash. This is so NEdit can access files that begin with the dash character.


DISPLAY NEdit requires an X-based workstation or X-Terminal. If you have used telnet or rlogin to access the host Unix system, set the Unix environment variable for your display:

csh-type shells:

   % setenv DISPLAY devicename:0

sh-type shells:

   % DISPLAY=devicename:0 && export DISPLAY

NEDIT_HOME This environment variable can be set to the name of a directory. This directory will then be used instead of ‘$HOME/.nedit’ as the base directory for NEdit’s special files (see section FILES, below).

This variable is new to NEdit 5.4.


From version 5.4 on, NEdit creates a directory in which NEdit’s special files reside. This directory is named ’.nedit’ by default.
nedit.rc This is an X resource file which contains most user settings for NEdit. It is read at startup and written by selecting the item ’Save Defaults...’ in the Preferences menu. Do not edit this file by hand, all settings can be reached via the ’Default Settings’ menu.
nedit.history The list of recently opened files. Do not edit this file by hand.
autoload.nm A file that can contain a number of NEdit Macro Language statements and subroutine definitions. The statements will be executed when an NEdit server starts, the subroutines will be loaded for later reference. This file will not be created or modified by NEdit (unless you load it and edit it of course).
Note that NEdit still supports the older names for these files, which were used by version 5.3 and below. These file names are ‘$HOME/.nedit’, ‘$HOME/.neditdb’ and ‘$HOME/.neditmacro’, respectively. The old naming scheme will be used if NEdit detects that ‘$HOME/.nedit’ is a regular file and NEDIT_HOME isn’t set.

See also the entry for NEDIT_HOME under ENVIRONMENT, above.


For more information see NEdit’s online help, or nedit.doc in the NEdit distribution kit.

NEdit sources, executables, additional documentation, and contributed software are available from the NEdit web site at


nc(1), X(1), mwm(1), ctags(1), etags(1)


NEdit was written by Mark Edel, Joy Kyriakopulos, Christopher Conrad, Jim Clark, Arnulfo Zepeda-Navratil, Suresh Ravoor, Tony Balinski, Max Vohlken, Yunliang Yu, Donna Reid, Arne Forlie, Eddy De Greef, Steve LoBasso, Alexander Mai, Scott Tringali, Thorsten Haude, Steve Haehn, Andrew Hood, Nathaniel Gray, and TK Soh.

The regular expression matching routines used in NEdit are adapted (with permission) from original code written by Henry Spencer at the University of Toronto.

Syntax highlighting patterns and smart indent macros were contributed by: Simon T. MacDonald, Maurice Leysens, Matt Majka, Alfred Smeenk, Alain Fargues, Christopher Conrad, Scott Markinson, Konrad Bernloehr, Ivan Herman, Patrice Venant, Christian Denat, Philippe Couton, Max Vohlken, Markus Schwarzenberg, Himanshu Gohel, Steven C. Kapp, Michael Turomsha, John Fieber, Chris Ross, Nathaniel Gray, Joachim Lous, Mike Duigou, Seak Teng-Fong, Joor Loohuis, Mark Jones, and Niek van den Berg.


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

In addition, as a special exception to the GNU GPL, the copyright holders give permission to link the code of this program with the Motif and Open Motif libraries (or with modified versions of these that use the same license), and distribute linked combinations including the two. You must obey the GNU General Public License in all respects for all of the code used other than linking with Motif/Open Motif. If you modify this file, you may extend this exception to your version of the file, but you are not obligated to do so. If you do not wish to do so, delete this exception statement from your version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License in the Help section Distribution Policy for more details.

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5.6 NEDIT (1) 2014-12-28

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