MS-DOS and Windows command line edit command
The MS-DOS text editor, edit, allows you to view, create, or modify any text file on your computer. While running edit, a screen similar to the picture below is shown.
Edit is an external command available for the following Microsoft operating systems.
- MS-DOS 5.x and above
- Windows 95
- Windows 98
- Windows ME
- Windows NT
- Windows 2000 (32-bit)
- Windows XP (32-bit)
- Windows Vista (32-bit)
- Windows 7 (32-bit)
The edit command is a legacy 16-bit program, which is incompatible with 64-bit operating systems. Therefore, 64-bit versions of Windows do not come installed with, and cannot run, the edit command. On 64-bit Windows systems, use Notepad to edit files instead.
EDIT [/B] [/H] [/R] [/S] [/<nnn>] [/?] [FileName...]
|/B||Forces monochrome mode.|
|/H||Displays the maximum number of lines possible for your hardware.|
|/R||Load file(s) in read-only mode.|
|/S||Forces the use of short file names.|
|/<nnn>||Load binary file(s), wrapping lines to <nnn> characters wide.|
|/?||Display a summary of command line options.|
|[FileName...]||Specifies initial files(s) to load. Wildcards and multiple file specs can be given.|
Open the file c:\autoexec.bat to be edited, if it exists. If the file does not exist, a blank blue screen is shown.
If you are using new versions of Windows running under a 64-bit processor, the edit command no longer works. See our how to open and view the contents of a file on a computer document for other methods of opening a file from the command line.
Using "copy con"
If you are running an MS-DOS version 4.x or lower or you cannot find edit.com on your hard drive, you can also use the following command to create a file.
copy con FileName
Once you have entered the command above, a file with the name specified is created.
Once you have typed all the lines you want to be in the file, press and hold Ctrl+Z. Once you see "^Z" on the screen, press Enter and one file should be copied.
Using edit to create a new file
Using edit, you can also create a new file. For example, if you wanted to create a file called myfile.txt, you would type the command below.
This command would bring up a blank edit screen. Type your text and save the file, and myfile.txt will be created with the text you entered.
- Edit is only able to open a file with a maximum of 65,280 lines.
- If your mouse drivers are not loaded while in MS-DOS or the Windows command line, you may have no mouse support. It is still possible to navigate the Editor using shortcut keys as seen in the below list.
- Pressing Alt allows you to quickly navigate through edit without having to memorize all the commands listed below.
Commands available in Edit
|Home||Move cursor to the beginning of the line.|
|End||Move cursor to the end of the line.|
|Ctrl+Up||Scroll up one line.|
|Ctrl+Down||Scroll down one line.|
|PageUp||Scroll up one screen.|
|PageDown||Scroll down one screen.|
|Ctrl+PageUp||Scroll left one screen.|
|Ctrl+PageDown||Scroll right one screen.|
|Ctrl+Home||Scroll to the top of the document.|
|Ctrl+End||Scroll to the bottom of the document.|
|Ctrl+Left||Move left one word.|
|Ctrl+Right||Move right one word.|
|Enter||Starts a new line or moves text after cursor down.|
|Delete (Del)||Deletes one character that cursor is on or currently selected text.|
|Backspace||Deletes one character before the cursor.|
|Tab||Moves cursor or text to next tab stop, or indents line if at first character.|
|Insert||Switch between insert and overwrite modes.|
|Ctrl+Y||Deletes the current line.|
|Ctrl+V||Pastes contents currently in the buffer, if any.|
|Ctrl+P||Allows special characters to be inserted into Edit.|
|Shift||Using shift in combination with any of the above scrolling or moving commands will highlight text, such as Ctrl+Shift+Right.|
|Ctrl+C||Copies currently selected text into the buffer.|
|Ctrl+X||Cuts the currently selected text into the buffer.|
|Shift+Tab||Removes indents on the selected line.|
|Ctrl+Q+A||Find and replace text.|
|F3||Repeat the last search.|
|F6||Switch to the next edit window, if any.|
|Ctrl+F6||Open new edit window.|
|Ctrl+F4||Closes second edit window.|
|Ctrl+F8||Resizes edit window.|