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man(1) chr man page man(1)


chr - chr is a terminal based editor


Usage: chr [options] [[+line[,char]] file …] [/directory] chr

-h, --help Displays help on commandline
--help-all Displays help including Qt
specific options.
-v, --version Displays version
-l, --line-number The line numbers are
-b, --big-file Open bigger file then 100MB
-w, --wrap-lines <WordWrap|WrapAnywhere|NoWrap> Wrap log lines (NoWrap
--attributesfile <config> Safe file for attributes,
default ~/.cache/chr/chr.json
-c, --config <config> Load customized config file.
The default if it exist is
--syntax-highlighting-theme <name> Name of
you can list installed themes
with: kate-syntax-highlighter
--disable-syntax disable syntax highlighting

[[+line[,char]] file …] Optional is the line number,
several files can be opened
in multiple windows.
[/directory] Or a directory can be
specified to search in the
open dialog.


Chr is a terminal based text editor.

Keyboard shortcuts are similar to the default editors in Gnome, KDE and other desktop environments. This is to ease workflows alternating between GUIs and terminal.

The look and feel is a blend of modern GUI editors and late 90s PC text mode editors (e.g. Turbo Vision based or adapted to fit into terminal based workflows.

Quick Start

The important operations can be invoked from the menu. The menu can be opened with F10 or with Alt together with the highlighted letter of the menu item (e.g. Alt + f).

In dialogs Tab is used to navigate between the elements. Use F6 to navigate between windows/dialogs.

Text can be marked in most terminals with Shift + arrow key. Ctrl + c is used for copying. Paste with Ctrl + v.

Changes can be saved with Ctrl + s and the editor can be exited with Ctrl + q.


Shift + Cursor
Selects text

Ctrl + a
Selects all text in the document

Ctrl + c / Ctrl + Insert
Copies the selected text into the clipboard

Ctrl + d
Deletes the current line

Ctrl + e, up/down/left/right
Switches the active window. Use the arrow keys to specify the direction for the next active window.

Ctrl + e, Ctrl + up/down/left/right
Change window size

Ctrl + f
Open the search dialog

Ctrl + Backspace
Delete a word (left from cursor position)

Ctrl + r
Open the replace dialog

Ctrl + n
Creates a window with an empty document

Ctrl + q
Quits the editor

Ctrl + s
Save (or save as for new documents)

Ctrl + v / Shift + Insert
Inserts the contents of the clipboard at the current cursor position.

Ctrl + x / Shift + Delete
Cuts out the selected text and moves it to the clipboard

Ctrl + y
Redos an action that has been undone

Ctrl + z
Undoes an action

Ctrl + Shift + up
Moves the current selection or line upwards

Ctrl + Shift + down
Moves the current selection or line down

Ctrl + Left
Jump a word to the left

Ctrl + Shift + Left
Selects a word to the left

Ctrl + Right
Jump a word to the right

Ctrl + Shift Right
Selects a word to the right

Alt + -
Open the window menu

Alt + Shift + up/down/left/right
Marks the text in blocks. Inserting the clipboard duplicates the text per line. If an equal number of lines is marked as to be inserted, the lines from the clipboard will be distributed across the selected lines.

Alt + Shift + S
Sort the selected lines (lexicographical by code-point)

Alt + x
Opens a command line. Type "help" for help.

Tab / Shift + Tab
Indents a selected block by a tab stop or remove one level of indention

F3 / Shift + F3
Find the next or previously search element

Toggles the selection mode to allow selecting text in terminals where marking with Shift + arrow keys does not work

F6 / Shift + F6
Change active window, with Shift in reverse order

Closes an active dialog menu or action.




Opens a new an empty unnamed document.


Opens a file dialog to select a file to be opened.


Saves the current status of the file. If the save path is not yet specified, the "Save as ..." dialog is opened.

Save as...

A storage location to save the file to can be selected here via a file dialog.


Reloads the current file. All changes are discarded.


Closes the active window.


Closes the editor. If there is a file open that has not yet been saved, the Save dialog will be opened first.


Cut, Copy, Paste, Select all

Text can be selected using the arrow keys while holding down the Shift key. The entire text can be selected with Select all. This selected text can then be copied using Copy or cut using Cut. With Paste, this text can be inserted again at the current cursor position. If there is text in the clipboard before copying (or cutting), it will be replaced.

These functions use an internal clipboard that contains different content than the clipboard used in the terminal as copy and paste commands, as the editor cannot access the system clipboard.

Delete Line

Deletes the entire line.

Select Mode

Toggles the selection mode to allow selecting text in terminals where marking with Shift + arrow keys does not work.

Undo, Redo

With Undo or CTRL + z, edits can be undone. With Redo or CTRL + y the undo can be undone again.

Use Search or Ctrl + f to open the search dialog. Enter a search term in the "Find" field. You can refine the search using the options. If live search is activated, the first matching result is automatically selected while the search term is being entered. If the text document is active, you can press F3 to jump to the next result or Shift + F3 to jump to the previous result.

Search Next

Jump to the next match for the current search term.

Search Previous

Jump to the previous match for the current search term.


With Replace or CTRL + r the Replace dialog is opened. Enter a search term in the "Find" field. In the field "Replace" the word to be inserted is specified. "Next" jumps to the next match for the current search term. With "Replace" the current match is replaced. With "All" all occurrences of the search term are replaced at once.

Insert Character...

Opens a dialog in which a character code (Unicode codepoint) of a special character to be inserted can be entered.


To jump to a line, open a Goto Line dialog under "Goto".

Sort Selected Lines

Sort the selected lines (lexicographical by code-point).


Tab settings

Opens the Tab settings dialog. Here the settings for a tab can be made. You can choose between tab (\t) and space. You can also set the width of the indention. The default settings can also be set in the ~/.config/chr file. Here you can specify: "tabsize=8" or "tab=false" for spaces.

Line Number

Shows the line number on the left side of the editor. The default settings can also be made in the ~/.config/chr file. Here you can specify: "line_number=true".


In the Formatting dialog, "Formatting Characters", "Color Tabs" and "Color Spacs at end of line" can be switched on and off.

The "Formatting characters" marks spaces with a dot: "·" end of line (\n) with a "¶" and the end of the file with: "♦".

With "Color Tabs" tabs are colorized. The tab border is made darker.

"Color Spaces at end of line" is used to spaces mark at the end of the line in red.

In the configuration file: ~/.config/chr the behavior can be influenced with the option "formatting_characters=true", "color_tabs=true", "color_space_end=true".

Wrap long lines

Selects if lines that are wider than the window are displayed clipped or wrapped.. It can be wrapped at the word boundary or hard at the end of the line. This behavior can be influenced by the option "wrap_lines=WordWrap" or "wrap_lines=WrapAnywhere" in the ~/.config/chr file.

In addition, the option "Display Right Margin at Column" can be used to specify a numerical value above which the background color is darkened. This value can also be set with the configuration option: "right_margin_hint=80" in ~/.config/chr.

Stop Input Pipe

Reading from a pipe is interrupted. The standard input file descriptor is closed.

Highlight Brackets

If active and the cursor is on a bracket the bracket at the cursor position and the matching other bracket are highlighted. The following opening and closing brackets can be highlighted when the cursor moves over them. With the option "highlight_bracket=true" this behavior can be influenced in the ~/.config/chr. Supported bracket types are: [{(<>)}].

Syntax Highlighting

If the editor has been compiled with the "SyntaxHighlighting" feature, syntax highlighting is generally available. The language is automatically detected when a file is opened and displayed in the status bar. If required, it can also be switched on and off or adjusted via the syntax highlighting dialog. Syntax highlighting can also be deactivated in this dialog.

The theme can be customized via the command line switch "--syntax-highlighting-theme". The editor comes with the themes "chr-bluebg" and "chr-blackbg". If required, a theme from the list that can be displayed with "kate-syntax-highlighter --list-themes" can be used. With the option "syntax_highlighting_theme=chr-bluebg" the theme can be set in ~/.config/chr.

Syntax highlighting can be switched off via the command line using "--disable-syntax" when the editor is started. With the option "disable_syntax=true" the theme can be set in ~/.config/chr.


It opens the dialog for selecting a theme. The Classic (blue) or the Dark (black and white) mode is available. With the option "theme=classic" or "theme=dark", this can be set in the ~/.config/chr.


Next, Previous

Switches the active window, with Shift in reverse order. (See F6)

Tile Vertically, Horizontally, Fullscreen

Selects how multiple open documents are shown.

Vertical and horizontal distribute the available space across the documents. When Fullscreen is selected only one document is shown at once. (See F6)


The editor loads a configuration file from ~/.config/chr (if available). (If the environment variable $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is set, then from $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/chr)

In addition to the options documented above, the following options are available:


This option is only active if tab=false is set.

If this option is active and the Tab key is pressed while the cursor is in the indentation at the beginning of a line, the indentation is extended to the next tab position.


Specifies the path of the file in which the cursor and scroll position of files opened in the past is saved.

Default config

There is a default config (~/.config/chr) where the following options can be set.



Your personal chr initializations.

History about the changed files. This is where cursor positions are stored.


Errors in this software can be reported via the bugtracker on


Christoph Hüffelmann <> Martin Hostettler <>

21 Dec 2023 1.0