ed – Single Line Plain Text Editor

The ed command is a single line plain text editor that allows users to edit files in a command-line interface. It is a simple and lightweight editor that is useful for quick edits or when a graphical user interface is not available.


To start editing a file with ed, simply run the command followed by the name of the file you wish to edit. The editor will open, and you can begin typing your edits.

$ ed filename.txt

Once in the editor, you can enter commands to make changes to the file. The most commonly used commands are:

  • a: append text after the current line
  • i: insert text before the current line
  • d: delete the current line
  • s: substitute text on the current line

To save your changes and exit the editor, enter the command wq. To exit without saving changes, enter q.

$ ed filename.txt
This is some new text.

This will append the text “This is some new text.” to the end of the file and save the changes.


The ed command has a few options that can be used to modify its behavior:

Option Description
-p Prompt before each command
-s Silent mode, suppresses error messages
-r Read-only mode, prevents changes to the file

Troubleshooting tips

  • If you are new to using ed, it can be helpful to refer to a cheat sheet or tutorial to familiarize yourself with the commands.
  • If you accidentally delete a line or make a mistake, you can use the u command to undo your last change.
  • If you encounter an error message, try running ed with the -s option to suppress the message and get a better idea of what went wrong.


  • ed is not a user-friendly editor and can be difficult to use for complex edits or large files.
  • While ed is a basic editor, it is still a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, such as editing configuration files or making quick changes to scripts.