How to edit a Plain Text File

To create an area file, you will need either a text editor or a word processor. An area file is much more like a program than like a memo or letter, so a word processor is not just overkill for the job: A text editor is by far preferrable because it creates the correct kind of file by default. A word processor needs to be coerced and tricked into producing what you need in this case.

If you're still fuzzy on the difference between text editors and word processors: A word processor allows you to format text. If you can do things like underline or boldface part of your text or mix different fonts in one document, then you're looking at a word processor.

Test for a correctly formatted plain text file:

If you can use TYPE filename (in DOS) or cat filename (in UNIX) and you see your area text and nothing else, no brackets, smileys or other funny characters that you didn't type in, then you have produced the right kind of file.

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  This page was last updated May 15, 2001