Home » How to create a simple .txt (text) file using terminal? [closed]

How to create a simple .txt (text) file using terminal? [closed]


You can’t use a terminal to create a file. You can use an application running in a terminal. Just invoke any non-GUI editor (emacs -nw, joe, nano, vi, vim, …).

If you meant using the command line, then you are asking how to create a file using the shell. See What is the exact difference between a ‘terminal’, a ‘shell’, a ‘tty’ and a ‘console’?

The basic way to create a file with the shell is with output redirection. For example, the following command creates a file called foo.txt containing the line Hello, world.

echo 'Hello, world.' >foo.txt

If you want to write multiple lines, here are a few possibilities. You can use printf.

printf '%sn' 'First line.' 'Second line.' 'Third line.' >foo.txt

You can use a string literal containing newlines.

echo 'First line.
Second line.
Third line.' >foo.txt


echo $'First line.nSecond line.nThird line.' >foo.txt

Another possibility is to group commands.

  echo 'First line.'
  echo 'Second line.'
  echo 'Third line.'
} >foo.txt

On the command line, you can do this more directly with cat. Redirect its output to the file and type the input line by line on cat‘s standard input. Press Ctrl+D at the beginning of the line to indicate the end of the input.

$ cat >foo.txt
First line.
Second line.
Third line.

In a script you would use a here document to achieve the same effect:

cat <<EOF >foo.txt
First line.
Second line.
Third line.

If you just want to create an empty file, you can use the touch command: it creates the file if it doesn’t exist, and just updates its last-modified date if it exists.

touch foo.txt



i.e. open foo.txt for appending, but write 0 bytes to it — this creates the file but doesn’t modify it. Unlike touch, this doesn’t update the file’s last-modified date if it already existed.

To create an empty file, and remove the file’s content if the file already existed, you can use


touch ~/Desktop/something.txt

This will create an empty txt file.


echo "Hello" > ~/Desktop/somethingelse.txt

This will create a txt file saying “Hello”.

nano ~/Desktop/anotherfile.txt

This will open ~/Desktop/anotherfile.txt in nano, or if it doesn’t exist, it will create it and open it in nano.

The same can be done by simply replacing nano with emacs or vim and it will use emacs or vim instead of nano

All it takes to create an empty file is:

> my.txt

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