Create a plain text file on Linux

Posted in Notes on 1 April 2017

Quick guide to creating simple plain text (.txt) files on Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS and Linux.

Text files are useful for sending code or short pieces of information that may get corrupted or changed if shared directly in an email, messaging platform or support portal.

On Linux distributions there are lots of options for editing plain text files. For this example we’ll use the Pulma GUI editor and Nano in command line.


How you open Pulma will depend on your distribution, but on many Linux distributions you can create a new text file easily:

  1. Right-click on the desktop
  2. Find the “Create Document” menu
  3. Then click on “New Document”

You will be able to create a new file called “Filename.txt


Nano is a terminal application that comes installed on most Linux distributions as well as MacOS. To check you can ask your system for the version number.

nano --version

Create a new file using the command (filename.txt can be whatever you want)

nano filename.txt

This will open your blank file in terminal. Edit the file as usual. Once you’re finished use Ctrl+O to save your file and Ctrl+X to exit. The main commands will be displayed along the bottom mof the screen.

The caret symbol (^) represents the Ctrl key. For example, the ^X commands mean to press the Ctrl and X keys at the same time. The letter M represents the Alt key.

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