Micro Text Editor: Lightweight and Intuitive Terminal-Based Editor

Micro command-line text editor is modern, easy-to-use, and designed to replace Nano as the text editor for the masses.

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Micro command-line text editor is designed to replace Nano as the text editor for the masses. It is modern and easy to use cross-platform text editor.

A newcomer to the wonderful world of Linux will eventually need to place or alter some text in a file. In addition to, numerous programs and system settings in Linux are tucked away in text files. You can open these with your default text editor such as Gedit, Kate, Mousepad or Pluma, but the terminal is often faster, especially when you need administrator permissions.

And so we come to Vi or Vim, but they are not the easiest for new Linux users. Fortunately, most Linux distributions include a text editor called Nano as a standard utility. For most uses, Nano is easy to use and it doesn’t require a significant learning curve. But you don’t have to settle on Nano. There is a middle ground. Something that is a little better than Nano, but certainly not so difficult to learn as Vim, and this is the Micro text editor.

What’s Micro Text Editor

Micro is a cross-platform terminal-based text editor, which is not only used for Linux but on all other platforms like Windows and macOS as well. It comes as one single static binary with no dependencies.

Micro Text Editor on Linux

Micro is written in GO programming language and designed to utilize the full capabilities of modern Linux terminals, with aims to be somewhat of a successor to the Nano editor.

Above all, Micro is so easy to use that the learning curve is almost flat. Even if you’ve never used a terminal-based text editor, you’ll feel right at home while using Micro. You don’t need to learn anything new and it has some very interesting features.

Features

  • Easy to use, small and simple.
  • Syntax highlighting for over 130 languages.
  • Color scheme support & true color support.
  • Extremely good mouse support.
  • Common keybindings.
  • Highly customizable.
  • Built-in plugin manager to automatically install, remove, and update plugins.
  • Split screen and tab features.
  • Simple autocompletion.

How to Use Micro Text Editor

To open Micro editor use the micro command like:

micro

To open the file just mention the file name after the micro command:

micro filename

You’ll find a column for line numbers, in addition to two lines at the bottom for the UI.

Micro Text Editor

One thing you’ll quickly notice is that Micro has proper mouse support. Unlike Nano, you can scroll the whole window properly with the scroll wheel. In addition to, you can click anywhere to move the cursor, click and drag to select the text, double click to select by word, and triple-click to select by line.

Micro supports horizontal and vertical split. To open a new split you need to enter command mode by pressing Ctrl+E. This enables a > prompt for typing commands. Type vsplit or hsplit and use Ctrl-W to move between splits.

Press Ctrl-E to start typing commands and you can see which commands are available by pressing tab, or by viewing the help topic help commands.

Micro Keybindings

Micro’s keybindings are what you would expect from a simple-to-use editor. The bindings may be rebound using the ~/.config/micro/bindings.json file. Each key is bound to an action.

Here is a list with some of Micro’s hotkeys, but probably you already know most of them.

  • Ctrl+O: Open File
  • Ctrl+S: Save File
  • Ctrl+Q: Quit
  • Ctrl+F: Find
  • Ctrl+N: Find Next
  • Ctrl+P: Find Previous
  • Ctrl+Z: Undo
  • Ctrl+Y: Redo
  • Ctrl+C: Copy
  • Ctrl+X: Cut
  • Ctrl+V: Paste
  • Ctrl+E: Command Mode

As you can see, Micro tried using the same set of common keys we use in popular text editors. To get the list of default keybindings open the command bar (CTRL+E) and type help defaultkeys.

You can find out more information by visiting the project website.

Installation

Installing the Micro text editor is simple and straightforward.

Related: Sublime Text 4 Has Finally Arrived, Here’s How to Install it on Linux

On Ubuntu 20.04 and above or any other Debian-based system, type the following command:

sudo apt install micro

Arch Linux users need to execute:

pacman -S micro

If you are using Fedora or CentOS, use this command instead:

sudo dnf install micro

Please keep in mind that for interfacing with the local system clipboard, xclip or xsel packages also must be installed.

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