I want to create a text file and open it in a text editor with a single command.

I know touch file.txt creates a file and open file.txt opens the file, but is there a way to do this with a single command?

  • Which text editor gives you difficulty? Is there an error message? The editors with which I am acquainted (ed,nano,vi,vim,emacs,teco,LibreOffice, ...) all regard a non-existent file as empty, and create the file upon exit (or when one writes the buffer). If your editor doesn't do that, it may be a bug.
    – waltinator
    Nov 17, 2021 at 0:12
  • Of note, I believe this is rather unique to MacOS; Linux does not have an open(1) man page, nor is it recognized as a command in Linux.
    – Randall
    Nov 4, 2022 at 23:54

7 Answers 7


You could use touch myfile.txt; open myfile.txt. If this is something you'll be doing frequently, you could create an alias for it.

  • How would you use an alias to create a file, and then open it? I don't think that would be the most robust (if even possible) way of handling this. If so, an example would definitely be awesome for people to see.
    – BriGuy
    Apr 4, 2013 at 5:48
  • alias touch_open='touch myfile.txt; open myfile.txt' would work to create the Alias. Alternatively, could write a small function that would take in a parameter, ie. function touch_open { touch "$@"; open "$@"; } and then run that as touch_open myfile.txt Apr 4, 2013 at 14:39

If you are looking for some logic for this, ie. create a file and open if possible you could use something like this:

touch testFile && vi testFile

Here testFile is created with touch. The && part says if the creation was successful then open it with vi.

Also, you could just create a new file with something like vi, while opening it at the same time (this assumes you save the file after editing it).

vi testFile

That entirely depends on your text editor. Most will allow you to simply open a non-existent file, and assume you want it created on save.

You could also use a function if that is somehow not possible for you:

cropen() {
    if ! [ "$1" ]; then
        echo "need a file!" >&2
        return 1
    : > "$1" && open "$1"

You can call it as cropen file.


Use vim. Just type

vim newfile.txt

For vim you need to know the hot-keys.

i   - Insert text in the file
esc - return to the command-input-mode
:w  - Write (save)
:q  - Quit (exit)

or (Easier to use Nano):

nano newfile.txt

If you want a GUI type: (Works for ubuntu and other distros)

gedit newfile.txt
  • I'd rather :wq or even :x to save and exit :)
    – Bernhard
    Apr 3, 2013 at 5:51
  • @Bernhard of corse! thats better... those options are to be mixed as you like =)
    – AAlvz
    Apr 4, 2013 at 6:09

Like everyone is telling you, this depends on your editor. And if you don't like the way your editor handles this, that can probably be configured, as well.

With Emacs, emacs new_file.txt (for a nonexistent new_file.txt in the current directory) will bring up Emacs and display a buffer that refers to a new_file.txt. However, until you save, there will be no such file. If you don't do anything and quit, no file will have been created.

While this is certainly one way, I think an even better way is to always have an instance of Emacs running. So, whenever you feel the need for a new file, go to Emacs, hit C-x C-f (or M-x find-file RET), then write the path to the nonexistent file, and you're at the same point as after the CLI command (above, in the second paragraph).


Try to use: >> 001.c && vim $_


Creates file && opens file.

touch fileName.txt && vim $_

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