The editor contained both line mode commands and a screen based editor. In screen mode, the default action for the user was to directly update text as he or she typed, with special commands available by pressing keypad commands. Arrow keys allowed for simple navigation, while keypad commands allowed for more complex navigation and searches. Users could configure default actions for their editor by placing edt commands in a file which would be executed upon starting the editor.
DEC later developed a powerful language for designing text editors called TPU, which included an emulator of the Edt screen mode keypad for the benefit of those who were used to using those keys a particular way during their editing sessions.