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 termi-
nal, 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.
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 move-
ment 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.
^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.
^y Delete from the cursor position to the end of line.
^z Undelete the last deleted line.
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.
^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.
Pop up menu.
Move to the next page.
Move to the previous page.
Delete the character the cursor is on.
Delete from the cursor to the end of line.
Insert a newline at the cursor position.
Move the cursor in the direction indicated.
Some operations require more information than a single keystroke can pro-
vide. 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
!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).
Do not expand tab to spaces when the TAB key is pressed.
quit Leave the editor without saving changes.
Read the named file.
Write the text to the named file.
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:
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
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).
Provide a means to repaint the screen if the screen has been cor-
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 para-
graph, execute a shell command, or check the spelling of the text
in the editor.
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
"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
"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:
Tabs may be inserted as a single tab character, or replaced with
The search operation can be sensitive to whether characters are
upper- or lower-case, or ignore case completely.
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 rea-
sonably well within the width of the screen.
Toggle whether eight bit characters are displayed as their value
in angle brackets (e.g. "<220>") or as a character.
A window showing the keyboard operations that can be performed
can be displayed or not.
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).
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
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 com-
pleted 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 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. Addition-
ally, 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 edi-
tor. So, if the editor contained a list of words to be sorted, they
could be sorted by typing the following at the command prompt:
>Initializing ee from a file
Since different users have different preferences, ee allows some slight
configurability. There are three possible locations for an initializa-
tion file for ee: the file /usr/share/misc/init.ee, the file .init.ee in
the user's home directory, or the file .init.ee in the current directory
(if different from the home directory). This allows system administra-
tors to set some preferences for the users on a system-wide basis (for
example, the print command), and the user to customize settings for par-
ticular directories (like one for correspondence, and a different direc-
tory for programming).
The file /usr/share/misc/init.ee is read first, then $HOME/.init.ee, then
.init.ee, 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 termi-
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 col-
umn 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 .init.ee in the current directory or the user's
home directory. If a file named .init.ee already exists, it will be
THIS MATERIAL IS PROVIDED "AS IS". THERE ARE NO WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND
WITH REGARD TO THIS MATERIAL, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED
WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Nei-
ther 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 relia-
bility of this software or documentation. This software and documenta-
tion 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
Always make a copy of files that cannot be easily reproduced before edit-
ing. 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) (ports/textproc/ispell), lpr(1), spell(1), termcap(5),
FreeBSD 6.1 August 30, 1995 FreeBSD 6.1