Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

there, ladies and gentlemen :)

I started to write a novel, and cause it's mostly IT stuff - I decided to make all the things around this book - as IT as possible. So, I started to write it in the terminal, I'm on Linux, and more specifically - in nano. But, the more the text grows, the more I feel uncomfortable - it doesn't have word-wrapping, the page down / page up works so badly, and finally - today a colleague of mine told me that there is a chance for the whole terminal to shut down suddenly, erasing all the text you've written from the last save.

So, can you recommend me editor? I want it to have these things I mentioned above.

PS: Tried emacs and vim a while ago - writing code, not some big plain text - but I'm not sure they have these, and also - I prefer no highlighting of the text. PS2: And also - if it has dictionary and mark the wrong words - it would be soooo perfect ... :) ...

Thanks in advance ;)

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by haimg, Canadian Luke, bwDraco, Karan, Indrek Jan 11 '13 at 8:41

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

vim has word-wrapping (as long as you don't indent the code) and spell checking, you can disable syntax highlighting, and supports very big files. – Aluísio A. S. G. Jan 10 '13 at 23:18
[La]TeX is great if you want to focus on content rather than layout. The markup is done in text format, though files are rendered after compilation. – Hennes Jan 10 '13 at 23:27
emacs and vim are generally the go-to console text editors in Linux. [La]TeX is the go-to markup language for formatting the text, if you're not going to use an Office suite (or anything WYSIWYG). – Ben Richards Jan 10 '13 at 23:29
Are you planning on publishing the novel in the traditional way? Or even as an e-book? Consider the publisher requirements, because they'll trump whatever you want to use. – thursdaysgeek Jan 11 '13 at 0:01
If I were you, I would just type this into a text file normally, save it normally. then have the terminal display it. Or create a .exe/.bat/thingie from a text editor that, by default, when clicked, will spawn a program that runs in the terminal. – Ariane Jan 11 '13 at 1:05

I would strongly suggest vim. It's near infinitely extensible, and the uncluttered interface makes it the perfect place to focus on writing.

It would be a much better experience with some tweaks. For instance, see Writing Prose with Vim for tips regarding wrapping, spellcheck, and how to export it to a high quality output.

For writing in a text editor, something like Markdown would be perfect for basic markup. If the filename ends with .md it will autodetect it and syntax highlight it, though you can turn that off if you wish with syntax off.

If you do use vim, you would do well to get some familiarity with its rather unique workflow using the many sites that will help. Vimcasts is a great place to start.

Crashing will also not be an issue. Vim has swap files that will allow autorecovery of your work in the event of a crash.

share|improve this answer

If you really want the software you use to be a command line interface, and it to be designed for typing text, you'd be better off searching for applications from before proper GUIs existed, because no one would bother making one like that now. Seriously, who wants to type a text without being able to use the mouse to select text, and without any formating options?

Something from the early 1990s or 1980s. Look for what "futuristic" secretaries who had a computer used. A quick search fetches:

  • WordStar
  • Textor
  • Manuscript
  • Corel WordPerfect (still exists, but has had a long life since 1980)
  • Borland Sprint
  • Isofting eWriter Wisto

This link seems to fetch you quite a few more choices:

Once you choose one, you work to make it work on your modern OS through some kind of emulation. Good luck. :p

share|improve this answer
Those seem to be Windows editors; he's writing on Linux. Also, plenty of people don't want to use the mouse, and people still work on console editors (nano was written in 1999, well past the advent of GUIs). – cpast Jan 11 '13 at 4:24
@cpast I know they're (mostly?) for Windows, but I thought Linux excelled at emulating, so. – Ariane Jan 11 '13 at 16:50
You can select text with the mouse just fine in a console editor. – Nate C-K Oct 1 '15 at 2:26

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .