Set the EDITOR environment variable in ZSH
March 21, 2021 ‐ 2 min read
When you start to use the command line more often you notice that quite some shell programs launch a text editor like nano or vim for you to edit a file or something in that regard. Most often these shell programs check for the shell environment variable
EDITOR to see your preferred text editor for these type of tasks.
To see to what value
EDITOR is set you just
echo it out. Mind the
$ sign before
EDITOR when you reference a variable in the shell.
$ echo $EDITOR vim
You can set the
EDITOR variable per command like this:
$ EDITOR=nano git commit
What is unfortunate about setting it per command is that it doesn't persist. In order to make this setting permanent you can set the default editor in the
~/.zshrc config file. This config file is specific for the ZSH shell so if you were to use bash for example you need to configure it somewhere else.
To make the EDITOR setting permanent you need to
export it in your
~/.zshrc config file.
# ~/.zshrc export EDITOR=nano
Afterwards the setting doesn't take immediate effect. You can either close and reopen your terminal or source
$ source ~/.zshrc