I'm trying to manipulate the editor of crontab but it's really really confusing. So I launch the creation of a new crontab with crontab -e Then the default editor opens.

Now from there, it's seems to be LAGGING !!??

How do I move around in the editor ?

How do I get "--INSERT--" to show and then write my "scritp" and then type :wq to write and save exit ?

How can I go back to writing mode after pushing once esc or : ?


You can pick any editor you like by setting the $EDITOR variable before calling crontab -e


$ EDITOR=emacs crontab -e

will run emacs as your editor. If you have a favourite editor then you can select that.

Many programs that call an external editor may also use this $EDITOR variable so you may find it useful to set it permanently in your .profile with

export EDITOR=emacs

Now crontab -e and others will automatically select this editor.

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That looks like vi or one of its many clones, probably vim.

You can use i to insert, x to delete the current character, dd to delete a line (and copy it to clipboard), p to paste below the current line, and u to undo the last change.

Hopefully that will be enough to let you do your change. For more details, search for a vi manual, handbook, or tutorial.

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crontab -e enters into default editor (vi editor). The simple shortcuts in vi editor are

  • i - Insert mode (allows you to write data)

: mode

  • :w -> we can save data
  • :q -> quit from editor
  • :q! -> force quit
  • :wq -> save and quit

any time we can reset the mode of editor by using Esc key. You can use EDITOR=nano crontab -e to edit crontab file by using the nano editor.

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The editor is vi, its very simple to play around, if you need to type anything press escape button and then i (i means insert) if you need to save it then again press escape button and then :wq

If you don not want to save and close press escape and then :q!

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  • 1
    Did you just create an account so you could state that it’s very simple to play around in vi? That’s some quality trolling, I salute you. – Olivier 'Ölbaum' Scherler Jul 12 '16 at 14:58

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