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       mcedit - Internal file editor of GNU Midnight Commander.


       mcedit [-bcCdfhstVx?] [+lineno] file

       mcedit [-bcCdfhstVx?] file:lineno[:]


       mcedit  is  a  link  to  mc,  the  main  GNU Midnight Commander executable.  Executing GNU
       Midnight Commander under this name requests staring the internal editor  and  opening  the
       file  specified  on  the  command  line.   The  editor is based on the terminal version of
       cooledit - standalone editor for X Window System.


              Go to the line specified by number (do not put a space between the + sign  and  the

       -b     Force black and white display.

       -c     Force ANSI color mode on terminals that don't seem to have color support.

       -C <keyword>=<fgcolor>,<bgcolor>,<attributes>:<keyword>= ...
              Specify  a  different  color  set.   See  the  Colors  section  in  mc(1)  for more

       -d     Disable mouse support.

       -f     Display the compiled-in search path for GNU Midnight Commander data files.

       -t     Force using termcap database instead of terminfo.  This option is  only  applicable
              if GNU Midnight Commander was compiled with S-Lang library with terminfo support.

       -V     Display the version of the program.

       -x     Force  xterm mode.  Used when running on xterm-capable terminals (two screen modes,
              and able to send mouse escape sequences).


       The internal file editor is a full-featured full screen editor.  It can edit files  up  to
       64  megabytes.   It  is possible to edit binary files.  The features it presently supports
       are: block copy, move, delete, cut,  paste;  key  for  key  undo;  pull-down  menus;  file
       insertion; macro commands; regular expression search and replace (and our own scanf-printf
       search and replace);  shift-arrow  text  highlighting  (if  supported  by  the  terminal);
       insert-overwrite  toggle; word wrap; autoindent; tunable tab size; syntax highlighting for
       various file types; and an option to pipe text blocks through shell commands  like  indent
       and ispell.


       The editor is easy to use and can be used without learning.  The pull-down menu is invoked
       by pressing F9.  You can learn other keys from the menu and from the button bar labels.

       In addition to that, Shift combined with arrows does text highlighting  (if  supported  by
       the  terminal):  Ctrl-Ins  copies  to  the  file ~/.cache/mc/mcedit/mcedit.clip, Shift-Ins
       pastes      from       ~/.cache/mc/mcedit/mcedit.clip,       Shift-Del       cuts       to
       ~/.cache/mc/mcedit/mcedit.clip, and Ctrl-Del deletes highlighted text.  Mouse highlighting
       also works on some terminals.   To  use  the  standard  mouse  support  provided  by  your
       terminal,  hold the Shift key.  Please note that the mouse support in the terminal doesn't
       share the clipboard with mcedit.

       The completion key (usually Meta-Tab or Escape Tab) completes the word  under  the  cursor
       using the words used earlier in the file.


       To define a macro, press Ctrl-R and then type out the keys you want to be executed.  Press
       Ctrl-R again when finished.  The macro can be assigned to any key by  pressing  that  key.
       The macro is executed when you press the assigned key.

       The macro commands are stored in section [editor] it the file ~/.local/share/mc/mc.macros.

       External  scripts  (filters)  can  be  assigned into the any hotkey by edit mc.macros like


       This means that ctrl-W hotkey initiates the ExecuteScript(25) action, then editor  handler
       translates  this  into  execution  of  ~/.local/share/mc/mcedit/macros.d/ shell

       External scripts are stored in ~/.local/share/mc/mcedit/macros.d/ directory  and  must  be
       named  as  where XXXX is the number from 0 to 9999.  See Menu File Edit for
       more detail about format of the script.

       Following macro definition and directives can be used:

              If this directive is set, then script starts without interactive subshell.

       %c     The cursor column position number.

       %i     The indent of blank space, equal the cursor column.

       %y     The syntax type of current file.

       %b     The block file name.

       %f     The current file name.

       %n     Only the current file name without extension.

       %x     The extension of current file name.

       %d     The current directory name.

       %F     The current file in the unselected panel.

       %D     The directory name of the unselected panel.

       %t     The currently tagged files.

       %T     The tagged files in the unselected panel.

       %u     and %U Similar to the %t and %T macros, but in addition the files are untagged. You
              can  use  this macro only once per menu file entry or extension file entry, because
              next time there will be no tagged files.

       %s     and %S The selected files: The tagged files if there are any. Otherwise the current

       Feel free to edit this files, if you need.  Here is a sample external script:

       l       comment selection
            TMPFILE=`mktemp ${MC_TMPDIR:-/tmp}/up.XXXXXX` || exit 1
            echo #if 0 > $TMPFILE
            cat %b >> $TMPFILE
            echo #endif >> $TMPFILE
            cat $TMPFILE > %b
            rm -f $TMPFILE

       If some keys don't work, you can use Learn Keys in the Options menu.


       mcedit  can  be  used to navigation through code with tags files created by etags or ctags
       commands. If there is no file TAGS code navigation would not work.  In example, in case of
       exuberant-ctags for C language command will be:

       ctags -e --language-force=C -R ./

       Meta-Enter show list box to select item under cursor (cusor should stand at end of word).

       Meta-Minus  where  minus  is symbol "-" go to previous function in navigation list (like a
       browser Back).

       Meta-Equal where equal is symbol "=" go to  next  function  in  navigation  list  (like  a
       browser Forward).


       mcedit  supports  syntax  highlighting.   This  means  that  keywords and contexts (like C
       comments, string constants, etc) are  highlighted  in  different  colors.   The  following
       section  explains  the  format  of  the  file ~/.config/mc/mcedit/Syntax.  If this file is
       missing,    system-wide     /usr/share/mc/syntax/Syntax     is     used.      The     file
       ~/.config/mc/mcedit/Syntax  is  rescanned  on  opening of a any new editor file.  The file
       contains rules for highlighting, each of which is given on a  separate  line,  and  define
       which keywords will be highlighted to what color.

       The  file is divided into sections, each beginning with a line with the file command.  The
       sections are normally put into separate files using the include command.

       The file command has three arguments.  The first argument is a regular expression that  is
       applied  to  the file name to determine if the following section applies to the file.  The
       second argument is the description of the file type.   It  is  used  in  cooledit;  future
       versions  of  mcedit  may  use  it  as  well.   The  third  optional argument is a regular
       expression to match the first line of text of  the  file.   The  rules  in  the  following
       section apply if either the file name or the first line of text matches.

       A  section ends with the start of another section.  Each section is divided into contexts,
       and each context contains rules.  A context is a scope within the text that  a  particular
       set of rules belongs to.  For instance, the text within a C style comment (i.e. between /*
       and */) has its own color.  This is a context, although it has no further rules inside  it
       because there is probably nothing that we want highlighted within a C comment.

       A trivial C programming section might look like this:

       file .\*\\.c C\sProgram\sFile (#include|/\\\*)

       wholechars abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ_

       # default colors
       define  comment   brown
       context default
         keyword  whole  if       yellow
         keyword  whole  else     yellow
         keyword  whole  for      yellow
         keyword  whole  while    yellow
         keyword  whole  do       yellow
         keyword  whole  switch   yellow
         keyword  whole  case     yellow
         keyword  whole  static   yellow
         keyword  whole  extern   yellow
         keyword         {        brightcyan
         keyword         }        brightcyan
         keyword         '*'      green

       # C comments
       context /\* \*/ comment

       # C preprocessor directives
       context linestart # \n red
         keyword  \\\n  brightred

       # C string constants
       context " " green
         keyword  %d    brightgreen
         keyword  %s    brightgreen
         keyword  %c    brightgreen
         keyword  \\"   brightgreen

       Each context starts with a line of the form:

       context  [exclusive]  [whole|wholeright|wholeleft]  [linestart]  delim  [linestart]  delim
       [foreground] [background] [attributes]

       The first context is an exception.  It must start with the command

       context default [foreground] [background] [attributes]

       otherwise mcedit will report an error.  The linestart option  specifies  that  delim  must
       start at the beginning of a line.  The whole option tells that delim must be a whole word.
       To specify that a word must begin on the word boundary only on the left side, you can  use
       the wholeleft option, and similarly a word that must end on the word boundary is specified
       by wholeright.

       The set of characters that constitute a whole word can be changed at any point in the file
       with  the  wholechars command.  The left and right set of characters can be set separately

       wholechars [left|right] characters

       The exclusive option causes the text between the delimiters to be highlighted, but not the
       delimiters themselves.

       Each rule is a line of the form:

       keyword    [whole|wholeright|wholeleft]   [linestart]   string   foreground   [background]

       Context or keyword strings are interpreted, so that you can include tabs and  spaces  with
       the  sequences  \t  and  \s.   Newlines  and  backslashes  are  specified  with  \n and \\
       respectively.  Since whitespace is used as a separator, it may not be used as  is.   Also,
       \*  must  be  used  to  specify  an asterisk.  The * itself is a wildcard that matches any
       length of characters.  For example,

         keyword         '*'      green

       colors all C single character constants green.  You also could use

         keyword         "*"      green

       to color string constants, but the matched string would not  be  allowed  to  span  across
       multiple  newlines.   The  wildcard may be used within context delimiters as well, but you
       cannot have a wildcard as the last or first character.

       Important to note is the line

         keyword  \\\n  brightgreen

       This line defines a keyword containing the backslash and newline  characters.   Since  the
       keywords are matched before the context delimiters, this keyword prevents the context from
       ending at the end of the lines that end in  a  backslash,  thus  allowing  C  preprocessor
       directive to continue across multiple lines.

       The  possible  colors are: black, gray, red, brightred, green, brightgreen, brown, yellow,
       blue, brightblue, magenta, brightmagenta,  cyan,  brightcyan,  lightgray  and  white.  The
       special  keyword  "default"  means  the terminal's default. Another special keyword "base"
       means mc's main colors, it is useful as a placeholder if you want  to  specify  attributes
       without  modifying  the  background  color.  When  256  colors  are available, they can be
       specified either as color16 to color255, or as rgb000 to rgb555 and gray0 to gray23.

       If the syntax file is shared with cooledit, it is possible to specify different colors for
       mcedit and cooledit by separating them with a slash, e.g.

       keyword  #include  red/Orange

       mcedit uses the color before the slash.  See cooledit(1) for supported cooledit colors.

       Attributes  can  be  any of bold, underline, reverse and blink, appended by a plus sign if
       more than one are desired.

       Comments may be put on a separate line starting with the hash sign (#).

       If you are describing case insensitive language you need to use caseinsensitive derective.
       It should be specified at the beginning of syntax file.

       Because of the simplicity of the implementation, there are a few intricacies that will not
       be dealt with correctly but these are a minor irritation.  On the whole, a broad  spectrum
       of quite complicated situations are handled with these simple rules.  It is a good idea to
       take a look at the syntax file to see some of the nifty tricks you can do  with  a  little
       imagination.   If  you cannot get by with the rules I have coded, and you think you have a
       rule that would be useful, please email me with your request.  However,  do  not  ask  for
       regular expression support, because this is flatly impossible.

       A  useful  hint is to work with as much as possible with the things you can do rather than
       try to do things that this implementation cannot deal with.  Also remember that the aim of
       syntax  highlighting  is  to  make  programming less prone to error, not to make code look

       The syntax highlighting can be toggled using Ctrl-s shortcut.


       The default colors may be changed by appending to the MC_COLOR_TABLE environment variable.
       Foreground and background colors pairs may be specified for example with:



       Most  options  can  now be set from the editors options dialog box.  See the Options menu.
       The following options are defined in ~/.config/mc/ini and have obvious counterparts in the
       dialog  box.   You  can  modify  them  to change the editor behavior, by editing the file.
       Unless specified, a 1 sets the option to on, and a 0 sets it to off, as is usual.

              This option is ignored when invoking mcedit.

              Interpret the tab character as being of this length.   Default  is  8.  You  should
              avoid  using  other  than  8 since most other editors and text viewers assume a tab
              spacing of 8. Use editor_fake_half_tabs to simulate a smaller tab spacing.

              Never insert a tab space. Rather insert spaces (ascii 20h) to fill to  the  desired
              tab size.

              Pressing  return  will  tab across to match the indentation of the first line above
              that has text on it.

              Make a single backspace delete all the space to the left margin if there is no text
              between the cursor and the left margin.

              This will emulate a half tab for those who want to program with a tab spacing of 4,
              but do not want the tab size changed from 8 (so that the code will be formatted the
              same  when  displayed  by  other  programs). When editing between text and the left
              margin, moving and tabbing will be as though a tab space  were  4,  while  actually
              using  spaces  and  normal tabs for an optimal fill.  When editing anywhere else, a
              normal tab is inserted.

              Possible values 0, 1 and 2.  The save mode (see the options menu also)  allows  you
              to  change  the  method  of  saving  a  file.   Quick  save  (0)  saves the file by
              immediately, truncating the disk file to zero length (i.e.   erasing  it)  and  the
              writing the editor contents to the file.  This method is fast, but dangerous, since
              a system error during a file save will  leave  the  file  only  partially  written,
              possibly  rendering  the data irretrievable.  When saving, the safe save (1) option
              enables creation of a temporary  file  into  which  the  file  contents  are  first
              written.   In  the  event  of an problem, the original file is untouched.  When the
              temporary file is successfully written, it is renamed to the name of  the  original
              file,  thus replacing it.  The safest method is create backups (2).  Where a backup
              file is created before any changes are made.  You can specify your own backup  file
              extension  in  the dialog.  Note that saving twice will replace your backup as well
              as your original file.

              line length to wrap. 72 default.

              symbol for add extension to name of backup files. Default "~".

              show state line of editor now it show number of file line (in future  it  can  show
              things like folding, breakpoints, etc.). M-n toglle this option.

              Toggle show visible trailing spaces (TWS), if editor_visible_spaces=1 TWS showed as

              Toggle show visible tabs, if editor_visible_tabs=1 tabs showed as '<---->'

              Do not remove block selection after moving the cursor.

              Allow moving cursor beyond the end of line.

              enable syntax highlighting.

              show confirm dialog on save.

              to be described

              to be described

              save file position on exit.

              symbol representation of codepage name for file (i.e. CP1251, ~ - default).

              do UNDO for several of the same type of  action  (inserting/overwriting,  deleting,
              navigating, typing)

              Search  autocomplete  candidates  in  entire  of file or just from begin of file to
              cursor position (0)


       You can use scanf search and replace to search and replace a C format string.  First  take
       a  look  at  the  sscanf  and  sprintf man pages to see what a format string is and how it
       works.  Here's an example: suppose that you want to replace all  occurrences  of  an  open
       bracket,  three  comma  separated  numbers, and a close bracket, with the word apples, the
       third number, the word oranges and then the second number.  You would fill in the  Replace
       dialog box as follows:

       Enter search string
       Enter replace string
       apples %d oranges %d
       Enter replacement argument order

       The  last line specifies that the third and then the second number are to be used in place
       of the first and second.

       It is advisable to use this feature with Prompt On Replace on, because a match is  thought
       to  be found whenever the number of arguments found matches the number given, which is not
       always a real match. Scanf also treats whitespace as being elastic.  Note that  the  scanf
       format %[ is very useful for scanning strings, and whitespace.

       The  editor also displays non-us characters (160+).  When editing binary files, you should
       set display bits to 7 bits in the Midnight Commander options  menu  to  keep  the  spacing



              The help file for the program.


              The  default  system-wide setup for GNU Midnight Commander, used only if the user's
              own ~/.config/mc/ini file is missing.


              Global settings for the Midnight Commander.   Settings  in  this  file  affect  all
              users, whether they have ~/.config/mc/ini or not.


              The  default  system-wide  syntax  files for mcedit, used only if the corresponding
              user's own ~/.local/share/mc/mcedit/ file is missing.


              User's own setup.  If this file is present then  the  setup  is  loaded  from  here
              instead of the system-wide setup file.


              User's  own  directory  where block commands are processed and saved and user's own
              syntax files are located.


       This program is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published
       by  the  Free  Software  Foundation.   See the built-in help of the Midnight Commander for
       details on the License and the lack of warranty.


       The latest version of this program can be found at


       cooledit(1), mc(1), gpm(1), terminfo(1), scanf(3).


       Paul Sheer ( is the original  author  of  the  Midnight  Commander's
       internal editor.


       Bugs should be reported to