How to change default Text editor in Linux

This is a very trivial question but, as I thought someone that is starting with Linux basics Operating might be interested I will shortly explain in this small article how to change default text editor on Linux.

Changing default text editor is especially helpful if you have to administer a newly purchased dedicated servers, that comes with default Operating System preinstalled.

By default many Linux distributions versions such as Debian / Ubuntu comes with nano comes with a default text editor nano (ANOther enhanced free Pico editor clone) many people as me are irritated and prefer to use instead vim (Vi Improved), mcedit (the Midnight Commander), joe or emacs as a default.
 

1. Changing default console text editor on Debian based Linux


On Debian / Ubuntu / Mint and other deb based distributions the easiest way to change text editor is with update-alternatives cmd.
 

update-alternatives –config editor


changing-default-text-editor-in-linux

Using Debian update-alternatives is useful as it makes the change OS global wide and the default mc viewer program mcview will also understand the change in the default text editor, which makes it the preferrable way to do it on deb based OS family.

An alternative way to set the default programs for the OS system wide is to create the respective symbolic link in /etc/alternatives actually what update-alternatives wrapper script does is exactly this it creates the required symlink.

2. Changing default text editor on any Linux


To change the text editor for only a single system existing user in /etc/passwd you need to edit $HOME/.bashrc, e.g. ~/.bashrc on Debian based Linux or on Fedora / RHEL / CentOS by adding to ~/.bash_profile
 

vim ~/.bashrc


And add

alias editor=vim

or

export EDITOR='/path/to/text-editor/program'
export VISUAL='/path/to/text-editor/program'

To change to mcedit for example when opening in any program that triggers to run default text editor

export EDITOR='/usr/bin/mcedit'
export VISUAL='/usr/bin/mcedit'


To make the change system wide on any Linux distribution you have to add the export EDITOR / export VISUAL at the end of /etc/bash.bashrc

To load the newly included .bashrc* instructions use source command
 

source ~/.bashrc

 

3. Changing the default text editor for mcview if all else fails

 

Once mc is running, use following menu keys order (also visible from Midnight Commander) menus:
 

    F9 Activates the top menu.
    o Selects the Option menu.
    c Opens the configuration dialog.
    i Toggles the use internal edit option.
    s Saves your preferences.

mcview-how-to-change-default-text-editor-screenshot

That's all folks Enjoy !

 

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