To create a text file by using the nano UNIX command, simply type nano at the command line. At the bottom of the screen is a menu of common commands. Above the menu is a large, empty space where you can enter text, much the same as in the word processors that you already know and love.


This is the rough-and-tumble world of UNIX, which preceded the Macintosh by many years. Perhaps this will also help you to appreciate why the Macintosh was so revolutionary when it was introduced.

Type some text in that area. Anything will do . . . a letter to a friend, a grocery list, or your school homework.

When you’re finished entering your desired text, save the document with the WriteOut command in the nano menu. Directly next to each command in the nano menu is a keyboard sequence used to perform that command.

To save a file, press Control+O. This flies in the face of standard Mac keyboard conventions, where the letter O is traditionally used to mean Open.

After pressing the Control+O sequence, pico prompts you for a filename. Like most UNIX files, you’re permitted to enter a simple filename here or a full path to a file. For this example, save the file to your Documents folder, naming it MyNanoDocument.

After you’ve completed and saved the document, pressing Control+X will transport you away from Planet Nano and back to the command line.