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MS - DOS Command

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Microsoft DOS edit command

Quick links

About edit
Additional Information

About edit

Edit allows a user to view, create, or modify their computer files.

If you are unable to get this program to work, try typing in "path c:\windows\command" if you have Windows95/98, or type in "path c:\dos" if you have Dos 5.x/6.x/7.x or Windows 3.x and try again. If you still are not able to get edit to work, it may not be on the hard drive; type in dir /s at the c:\>. If it says that the file is not found, you may not have this feature.

If you are running a MS-DOS version 4.x or lower or you are unable to find on your hard drive, you can also use the below command to create a file.

copy con <name of file>

Once you have entered the above command this will create the file with the name specified.
Once you have typed all the lines you wish to be in the file, press and hold CTRL + Z. This should enter ^Z, once on the screen, press enter and one file should be copied.


The edit command is an external command that is available in the below Microsoft operating systems.

MS-DOS 5.x and above
Windows 95
Windows 98
Windows ME
Windows NT
Windows 2000
Windows XP
Windows Vista*
Windows 7*

 * 64-bit versions of Windows do not support the edit command use notepad to edit files. 


EDIT [/B] [/H] [/R] [/S] [/<nnn>] [/?] [file(s)]

/B Forces monochrome mode.
/H Displays the maximum number of lines possible for your hardware.
/R Load file(s) in read-only mode.
/S Forces the use of short filenames.
/<nnn> Load binary file(s), wrapping lines to <nnn> characters wide.
/? Displays this help screen.
[file] Specifies initial files(s) to load. Wildcards and multiple file specs can be given.


edit c:\autoexec.bat

This would look at the autoexec.bat. However, if the file is not found, you will have a blank blue screen. When editing this or any file, ensure that you know what you are placing in the files improperly editing the file can cause issues with your computer.

Using edit you can also create files; for example, if you wanted to create a file called myfile.txt, you would type:

edit myfile.txt

This would bring up a blank edit screen, as long as the file is saved upon exit this will create the file myfile.txt.

Additional information

Edit is only able to open a file with a maximum of 65,280 lines.

Because this file is used from MS-DOS, it can be a possibility for no mouse support within the file. Below is a listing of Edit's shortcut keys and what they do.

Quick Tip - pressing Alt will allow you to quickly navigate through edit without having to memorize the below commands.

Home - Move cursor to the beginning of the line currently on.
End - Move cursor to the end of the line currently on.
Ctrl + Up - Scroll up one line.
Ctrl + Down - Scroll down one line.
PageUp - Scroll up one screen.
PageDown - Scroll down one screen.
Ctrl + PageUp - Scroll left one screen.
Ctrl + PageDown - Scroll right one screen.
Ctrl + Home - Scroll to the top of the document.
Ctrl + End - Scroll to the bottom of the document.
Ctrl + Left - Move left one word.
Ctrl + Right - Move right one word.
Enter - Starts a new line or moves text after cursor down.
Delete (Del) - Deletes one character that cursor is on or currently selected text.
Backspace - Deletes one character before the cursor.
Tab - Moves cursor or text to next tab stop, or indents line if at first character.
Insert - Switch between insert and overwrite modes.
Ctrl + Y - Deletes the current line.
Ctrl + V - Pastes contents currently within buffer, if any.
Ctrl + P - Allows special characters to be inserted into Edit.
Shift - Using shift in combination with any of the above scrolling or moving commands will highlight text, such as Ctrl + Shift + Right.
Ctrl + C - Copies currently selected text into buffer.
Ctrl + X - Cuts the currently selected text into buffer.
Shift + Tab - Un-indents the currently selected line.
Ctrl + Q + F - Find text.
Ctrl + Q + A - Find and replace text.
F3 - Repeat last search.
F6 - Switch to the next edit window, if any.
Ctrl + F6 - Open new edit window.
Ctrl + F4 - Closes second edit window.
Ctrl + F8 - Resizes edit window.
F1 - Displays help.

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