Programmatically open an editor, capture the result.
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fmoo Merge pull request #19 from hugovk/rm-eol
Drop support for EOL Python 2.6 and 3.3
Latest commit 0f99b34 Apr 29, 2018

python-editor is a library that provides the editor module for programmatically interfacing with your system's $EDITOR.


import editor
commit_msg = editor.edit(contents=b"# Enter commit message here")

Opens an editor, prefilled with the contents, # Enter commit message here. When the editor is closed, returns the contents (bytes) in variable commit_msg. Note that the argument to contents needs to be a bytes object on Python 3.


Opens README.txt in an editor. Changes are saved in place. If there is a contents argument then the file contents will be overwritten.

editor.edit(..., use_tty=True)

Opens the editor in a TTY. This is usually done in programs which output is piped to other programs. In this case the TTY is used as the editor's stdout, allowing interactive usage.

How it Works

editor first looks for the ${EDITOR} environment variable. If set, it uses the value as-is, without fallbacks.

If no $EDITOR is set, editor will search through a list of known editors, and use the first one that exists on the system.

For example, on Linux, editor will look for the following editors in order:

  • vim
  • emacs
  • nano

When calling editor.edit, an editor will be opened in a subprocess, inheriting the parent process's stdin, stdout.