Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Man Pages

Man Page or Keyword Search:
Man Architecture
Apropos Keyword Search (all sections) Output format
home | help
EE(1)                   FreeBSD General Commands Manual                  EE(1)

     ee - easy editor

     ee [-eih] [+#] [file ...]
     ree [-eih] [+#] [file ...]

     The ee utility is a simple screen oriented text editor.  It is always in
     text insertion mode unless there is a prompt at the bottom of the
     terminal, or a menu present (in a box in the middle of the terminal).
     The ree utility is the same as ee, but restricted to editing the named
     file (no file operations, or shell escapes are allowed).

     For ee to work properly, the environment variable TERM must be set to
     indicate the type of terminal being used.  For example, for an HP 700/92
     terminal, the TERM variable should be set to "70092".  See your System
     Administrator if you need more information.

     The following options are available:

     -e      Turn off expansion of tab character to spaces.

     -i      Turn off display of information window at top of terminal.

     -h      Turn off highlighting of borders of windows and menus (improves
             performance on some terminals).

     +#      Move the cursor to line '#' at startup.

   Control keys
     To do anything other than insert text, the user must use the control keys
     (the Control key, represented by a "^", pressed in conjunction with an
     alphabetic key, e.g., ^a) and function keys available on the keyboard
     (such as Next Page, Prev Page, arrow keys, etc.).

     Since not all terminals have function keys, ee has the basic cursor
     movement functions assigned to control keys as well as more intuitive
     keys on the keyboard when available.  For instance, to move the cursor
     up, the user can use the up arrow key, or ^u.

     ^a      Prompt for the decimal value of a character to insert.

     ^b      Move to the bottom of the text.

     ^c      Get the prompt for a command.

     ^d      Move the cursor down.

     ^e      Prompt for the string to search for.

     ^f      Undelete the last deleted character.

     ^g      Move to the beginning of the line.

     ^h      Backspace.

     ^i      Tab.

     ^j      Insert a newline.

     ^k      Delete the character the cursor is sitting on.

     ^l      Move the cursor left.

     ^m      Insert a newline.

     ^n      Move to the next page.

     ^o      Move to the end of the line.

     ^p      Move to the previous page.

     ^r      Move the cursor to the right.

     ^t      Move to the top of the text.

     ^u      Move the cursor up.

     ^v      Undelete the last deleted word.

     ^w      Delete the word beginning at the cursor position.

     ^x      Search.

     ^y      Delete from the cursor position to the end of line.

     ^z      Undelete the last deleted line.

     ^[ (ESC)
             Pop up menu.

   EMACS keys mode
     Since many shells provide an Emacs mode (for cursor movement and other
     editing operations), some bindings that may be more useful for people
     familiar with those bindings have been provided.  These are accessible
     via the settings menu, or via the initialization file (see below).  The
     mappings are as follows:

     ^a      Move to the beginning of the line.

     ^b      Back 1 character.

     ^c      Command prompt.

     ^d      Delete character the cursor is sitting on.

     ^e      End of line.

     ^f      Forward 1 character.

     ^g      Go back 1 page.

     ^h      Backspace.

     ^i      Tab.

     ^j      Undelete last deleted character.

     ^k      Delete line.

     ^l      Undelete last deleted line.

     ^m      Insert a newline.

     ^n      Move to the next line.

     ^o      Prompt for the decimal value of a character to insert.

     ^p      Previous line.

     ^r      Restore last deleted word.

     ^t      Move to the top of the text.

     ^u      Move to the bottom of the text.

     ^v      Move to the next page.

     ^w      Delete the word beginning at the cursor position.

     ^y      Prompt for the string to search for.

     ^z      Next word.

     ^[ (ESC)
             Pop up menu.

   Function Keys
     Next Page
             Move to the next page.

     Prev Page
             Move to the previous page.

     Delete Char
             Delete the character the cursor is on.

     Delete Line
             Delete from the cursor to the end of line.

     Insert line
             Insert a newline at the cursor position.

     Arrow keys
             Move the cursor in the direction indicated.

     Some operations require more information than a single keystroke can
     provide.  For the most basic operations, there is a menu that can be
     obtained by pressing the ESC key.  The same operations, and more can be
     performed by obtaining the command prompt (^c) and typing in one of the
     commands below.

     !cmd    Execute cmd in a shell.

     0-9     Move to the line indicated.

     case    Make searches case sensitive.

             Display the ASCII value of the character at the cursor.

     exit    Save the edited text, and leave the editor.

     expand  Expand tabs to spaces.

     file    Print the name of the file.

     help    Display help screen.

     line    Display the current line number.

     nocase  Make searches insensitive to case (the default).

             Don't expand tab to spaces when the TAB key is pressed.

     quit    Leave the editor without saving changes.

     read file
             Read the named file.

     write file
             Write the text to the named file.

   Menu Operations
     Pop-up menus can be obtained by pressing the escape key (or ^[ if no
     escape key is present).  When in the menu, the escape key can be used to
     leave the menu without performing any operations.  Use the up and down
     arrow keys, or ^u for moving up and ^d for moving down to move to the
     desired items in the menu, then press return to perform the indicated

     To the left of each menu item is a letter, which if the corresponding
     letter is pressed on the keyboard selects that menu entry.

     The main menu in ee is as follows:

     leave editor
             If changes have been made, the user will get a menu prompting
             whether or not the changes should be saved.

     help    Display a help screen, with all of the keyboard operations and

     file operations
             Pop up a menu for selecting whether to read a file, write to a
             file, or save the current contents of the editor, as well as send
             the contents of the editor to a print command (see the section
             Initializing ee from a file).

     redraw screen
             Provide a means to repaint the screen if the screen has been

             Show the current values of the operating modes, and right margin.
             By pressing return when the cursor is on a particular item, the
             value can be changed.  To leave this menu, press the escape key.
             (See Modes below.)

     search  Pop up a menu in which the user may choose to enter a string to
             search for, or search for a string already entered.

             Pop up a menu that allows the user to format the current
             paragraph, execute a shell command, or check the spelling of the
             text in the editor.

   Paragraph Formatting
     Paragraphs are defined for ee by a block of text bounded by:

     +o       Begin or end of file.

     +o       Line with no characters, or only spaces and/or tabs.

     +o       Line starting with a period ('.') or right angle bracket ('>').

     A paragraph may be formatted two ways: explicitly by choosing the format
     paragraph menu item, or by setting ee to automatically format paragraphs.
     The automatic mode may be set via a menu, or via the initialization file.

     There are three states for text operation in ee: free-form, margins, and
     automatic formatting.

     "Free-form" is best used for things like programming.  There are no
     restrictions on the length of lines, and no formatting takes place.

     "Margins" allows the user to type in text without having to worry about
     going beyond the right margin (the right margin may be set in the
     settings menu, the default is for the margin to be the right edge of the
     terminal).  This is the mode that allows the format paragraph menu item
     to work.

     "Automatic formatting" provides word-processor-like behavior.  The user
     may type in text, while ee will make sure the entire paragraph fits
     within the width of the terminal every time the user inserts a space
     after typing or deleting text.  Margin observation must also be enabled
     in order for automatic formatting to occur.

     Although ee is a 'modeless' editor (it is in text insertion mode all the
     time), there are modes in some of the things it does.  These include:

     tab expansion
             Tabs may be inserted as a single tab character, or replaced with

     case sensitivity
             The search operation can be sensitive to whether characters are
             upper- or lower-case, or ignore case completely.

     margins observed
             Lines can either be truncated at the right margin, or extend on

     auto paragraph formatting
             While typing in text, the editor can try to keep it looking
             reasonably well within the width of the screen.

     eightbit characters
             Toggle whether eight bit characters are displayed as their value
             in angle brackets (e.g. "<220>") or as a character.

     info window
             A window showing the keyboard operations that can be performed
             can be displayed or not.

     emacs keys
             Control keys may be given bindings similar to emacs, or not.

     16 bit characters
             Toggles whether sixteen bit characters are handled as one 16-bit
             quantities or two 8-bit quantities.  This works primarily with
             the Chinese Big 5 code set.

     You may set these modes via the initialization file (see below), or with
     a menu (see above).

   Spell Checking
     There are two ways to have the spelling in the text checked from ee.  One
     is by the traditional spell(1) command, the other is with the optional
     ispell command.

     Using spell, the words that are not recognized will be placed at the top
     of the file.  For the ispell option, the file is written to disk, then
     ispell run on the file, and the file read back in once ispell has
     completed making changes to the file.

   Printing the contents of the editor
     The user may select a menu item which prints the contents of the editor.
     The ee utility pipes the text in the editor to the command specified by
     the initialization command printcommand (see the section Initializing ee
     from a file below).  The default is to send the contents to lp(1).

     Whatever the user assigns to printcommand must take input from standard
     input.  See your system administrator for more details.

   Shell operations
     Shell commands can be executed from within ee by selecting the shell
     command item in the miscellaneous menu, or by placing an exclamation mark
     ("!") before the command to execute at the command: prompt.
     Additionally, the user may direct the contents of the edit buffer out to
     a shell operation (via a pipe) by using the left angle bracket (">"),
     followed by a "!" and the shell command to execute.  The output of a
     shell operation can also be directed into the edit buffer by using a
     right angle bracket ("<") before the exclamation mark.  These can even be
     used together to send output to a shell operation and read back the
     results into the editor.  So, if the editor contained a list of words to
     be sorted, they could be sorted by typing the following at the command
     This would send the contents of the editor to be piped into the sort(1)
     utility and the result would be placed into the edit buffer at the
     current cursor location.  The old information would have to be deleted by
     the user.

   Initializing ee from a file
     Since different users have different preferences, ee allows some slight
     configurability.  There are three possible locations for an
     initialization file for ee: the file /usr/share/misc/, the file in the user's home directory, or the file in the
     current directory (if different from the home directory).  This allows
     system administrators to set some preferences for the users on a system-
     wide basis (for example, the print command), and the user to customize
     settings for particular directories (like one for correspondence, and a
     different directory for programming).

     The file /usr/share/misc/ is read first, then $HOME/, then, with the settings specified by the most recent file read taking

     The following items may be entered in the initialization file:

     case    Set searches to be case sensitive.

     nocase  Set searches to be insensitive to case (default).

     expand  Cause ee to expand tabs to spaces (default).

             Cause ee to insert tabs as a single character.

     info    A small information window is displayed at the top of the
             terminal (default).

     noinfo  Turn off the display of the information window.

             Cause ee to truncate lines at the right margin when the cursor
             passes beyond the right margin as set by the user while text is
             being inserted (default).

             Allow lines to extend beyond the right margin.

             Cause ee to automatically try to format the current paragraph
             while text insertion is occurring.

             Turn off automatic paragraph formatting (default).

             Allow the setting of the print command (default: "lp").

             The user can select a value for the right margin (the first
             column on the screen is zero).

             Turn on highlighting of border of information window and menus

             Turn off highlighting of border of information window and menus.

             Turn on display of eight bit characters.

             Turn off display of eight bit characters (they are displayed as
             their decimal value inside angle brackets, e.g., "<220>").

     16bit   Turns on handling of 16-bit characters.

             Turns off handling of 16-bit characters.

     emacs   Turns on emacs key bindings.

             Turns off emacs key bindings.

   Save Editor Configuration
     When using this entry from the settings menu, the user may choose to save
     the current configuration of the editor (see Initializing ee from a file
     above) to a file named in the current directory or the user's
     home directory.  If a file named already exists, it will be

     Neither Hewlett-Packard nor Hugh Mahon shall be liable for errors
     contained herein, nor for incidental or consequential damages in
     connection with the furnishing, performance or use of this material.
     Neither Hewlett-Packard nor Hugh Mahon assumes any responsibility for the
     use or reliability of this software or documentation.  This software and
     documentation is totally UNSUPPORTED.  There is no support contract
     available.  Hewlett-Packard has done NO Quality Assurance on ANY of the
     program or documentation.  You may find the quality of the materials
     inferior to supported materials.

     Always make a copy of files that cannot be easily reproduced before
     editing.  Save files early, and save often.

   International Code Set Support
     The ee utility supports single-byte character code sets (eight-bit
     clean), or the Chinese Big-5 code set.  (Other multi-byte code sets may
     function, but the reason Big-5 works is that a two-byte character also
     takes up two columns on the screen.)

     The automatic paragraph formatting operation may be too slow for slower


     The software ee was developed by Hugh Mahon.

     This software and documentation contains proprietary information which is
     protected by copyright.  All rights are reserved.

     Copyright (c) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996 Hugh Mahon.

     ispell(1), lpr(1), spell(1), termcap(5), terminfo(5), environ(7)

FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE         August 30, 1995        FreeBSD 11.0-PRERELEASE


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help