Starts Edlin.exe, a line-oriented text editor that you can use to create and change ASCII files.


edlin [Drive:][Path] FileName [/b]


[ Drive : ][ Path ] FileName   : Specifies the location and name of an ASCII file on a disk. Filename is required. If the file exists, Edlin.exe opens it. If the file does not exist, Edlin.exe creates a file in memory and uses the specified location and file name to create the file on a disk when you use the e subcommand.

/b   : Specifies that Edlin.exe is to ignore the end-of-file character (CTRL+Z).

? : Displays a list of edlin subcommands.


  • Windows XP does not use this command. It is accepted only for compatibility with MS-DOS files. 

  • This tool is not available on Windows XP 64-Bit Edition. 

  • Using Edlin.exe

    Edlin.exe numbers each line of the text file that is located in memory. You can use Edlin.exe to insert, modify, copy, move, and delete lines of the file. If you want to use a full-screen editor, use the edit command.

  • Maximum line length

    Edlin.exe accepts a maximum of 253 characters per line.

  • Using edlin subcommands

    There are several edlin subcommands that you can use. For more information about edlin subcommands, see Related Topics.

  • Understanding the asterisk character

    When an asterisk appears as the only character on the line, it is the edlin * prompt, after which you type edlin subcommands. When an asterisk appears after a line number on a line, it indicates that it is the line where the insertion point is located.

  • Displaying a page of text

    A page of text is one full screen of information. With a 25-line screen mode, Edlin.exe displays 24 lines of text per page. The number of lines per page depends on the screen mode you use.

  • Starting and stopping insert mode

    To insert lines into the file in memory, use the i (insert) subcommand. After you have finished inserting lines, press ENTER and then CTRL+C to stop insert mode. For more information about inserting lines by using the i (insert) subcommand, see Related Topics.

  • Editing keys

    Several editing keys are provided that you can use to edit the file in memory.

Formatting legend




Information that the user must supply


Elements that the user must type exactly as shown

Ellipsis (...)

Parameter that can be repeated several times in a command line

Between brackets ([])

Optional items

Between braces ({}); choices separated by pipe (|). Example: {even|odd}

Set of choices from which the user must choose only one

Courier font

Code or program output


Command-line reference A-Z