How To Create Files in Linux From a Bash Shell Prompt

I‘m a new to CentOS Linux user. How do I create a file from bash prompt without using GUI tools?

Linux / UNIX like operating system offers many command line tools and text editors for creating text files. You can use vi or joe text editor. It is a terminal-based text editor for Linux/Unix like systems, available under the GPL. It is designed to be easy to use. In short, you can use any one of the following tool:

  1. cat command
  2. echo or printf command
  3. Nano text editor
  4. vi text editor
  5. joe text editor
  6. Any other console based text editor

Create a Text File using cat command

To create a text file called foo.txt, enter:
$ cat > foo.txt
Output:

This is a test.
Hello world!
press CTRL+D to save file

To display file contents, type:
$ cat foo.txt

Create a text file using echo or printf command

To create a file called foo.txt, enter:

echo 'This is a test' > foo.txt

echo ‘This is a test’ > foo.txt

OR

printf 'This is a testn' > foo.txt

printf ‘This is a testn’ > foo.txt

OR

printf 'This is a testn Another line' > foo.txt

printf ‘This is a testn Another line’ > foo.txt

To display file contents, type:
$ cat foo.txt

Create a Text File using nano text editor

Nano is a text editor from GNU project for Linux or Unix-like system. To create a file named foo.txt, run:
$ nano foo.txt
Sample outputs:

GNU nano is a simple terminal-based text editor for Linux/Unix

You can start typing on screen. To quit or exit nano, press the Ctrl-X key combination and select Yes followed by the enter key.

Create a Text File using joe text editor

JOE is text editor. To create a file called foo.txt, type:
$ joe -help foo.txt
You will see help menu on screen. Next type something. To save the file and leave joe, by typing ^KX (press CTRL+K+X).

Create a Text File using vi / vim text editor

vi / vim is another text editor. To create a file called bar.txt, type:
$ vi bar.txt
Press ‘i’ to insert new text. To save the file and leave vi, type ESC+:+x (press ESC key, type : followed by x and [enter] key).

Further readings
  • Learn more about joe here : Introduction to the Joe Text Editor
  • Learn more about vi here : Download mastering the VI editor pdf version.

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.