Linux / Unix – crontab: no crontab for user using an empty one error and solution

Posted on in Categories , , last updated May 20, 2015

I am trying to set cronjob on a Unix systems by running the crontab -e command. But, I’m getting the following error:

crontab: no crontab for veryv – using an empty one
crontab: “/usr/bin/vi” exited with status 1

How do I fix this issue on a Linux or Unix-like systems?

You need to set correct environment variable called EDITOR. It appers that either vi is not installed or /usr/bin/vi is a symbolic link to vim editor. To edit the current crontab using the editor specified by the VISUAL or EDITOR environment variables, enter:

$ crontab -e

But, if EDITOR or VISUAL is not set, so you will see an error as follows:

Fig.01: Linux crontab: no crontab for veryv  - using an empty one
Fig.01: Linux crontab: no crontab for veryv – using an empty one

So to fix this error and use vim as a text editor, type (bash/sh/ksh shell specific syntax):
export EDITOR=vim
OR if you are using emacs editor, run:
export EDITOR=emacs
Or if you are using nano text editor, enter:
export EDITOR=nano
Finally, try to edit or set new cron jobs, enter:
crontab -e
I recommend that you edit your shell ~/.bashrc file and append the following line:

export EDITOR=vim

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

1 comment

  1. Hello There

    Thank you so much for this post. It helped me a lot.

    Actually I was trying setup CRON but I haven’t found the correct way and the missing
    point which I found here only.

    Again, Thank you for sharing this.

    Thank You.

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