pico(1)                     General Commands Manual                    pico(1)


       pico - simple text editor in the style of the Alpine Composer


       pico [ options ] [ file ]


       Pico is a simple, display-oriented text editor based on the Alpine
       message system composer.  As with Alpine, commands are displayed at the
       bottom of the screen, and context-sensitive help is provided.  As
       characters are typed they are immediately inserted into the text.

       Editing commands are entered using control-key combinations.  As a
       work-around for communications programs that swallow certain control
       characters, you can emulate a control key by pressing ESCAPE twice,
       followed by the desired control character, e.g. "ESC ESC c" would be
       equivalent to entering a ctrl-c.  The editor has five basic features:
       paragraph justification, searching, block cut/paste, a spelling
       checker, and a file browser.

       Paragraph justification (or filling) takes place in the paragraph that
       contains the cursor, or, if the cursor is between lines, in the
       paragraph immediately below.  Paragraphs are delimited by blank lines,
       or by lines beginning with a space or tab.  Unjustification can be done
       immediately after justification using the control-U key combination.

       String searches are not sensitive to case.  A search begins at the
       current cursor position and wraps around the end of the text.  The most
       recent search string is offered as the default in subsequent searches.

       Blocks of text can be moved, copied or deleted with creative use of the
       command for mark (ctrl-^), delete (ctrl-k) and undelete (ctrl-u).  The
       delete command will remove text between the "mark" and the current
       cursor position, and place it in the "cut" buffer.  The undelete
       command effects a "paste" at the current cursor position.

       The spell checker examines all words in the text.  It then offers, in
       turn, each misspelled word for correction while highlighting it in the
       text.  Spell checking can be cancelled at any time.  Alternatively,
       pico will substitute for the default spell checking routine a routine
       defined by the SPELL environment variable.  The replacement routine
       should read standard input and write standard output.

       The file browser is offered as an option in the "Read File" and "Write
       Out" command prompts.  It is intended to help in searching for specific
       files and navigating directory hierarchies.  Filenames with sizes and
       names of directories in the current working directory are presented for
       selection.  The current working directory is displayed on the top line
       of the display while the list of available commands takes up the bottom
       two.  Several basic file manipulation functions are supported:  file
       renaming, copying, and deletion.

       More specific help is available in pico's online help.


       +n     Causes pico to be started with the cursor located n lines into
              the file. (Note: no space between "+" sign and number)

       -a     Display all files including those beginning with a period (.).

       -b     Enable the option to Replace text matches found using the "Where
              is" command. This now does nothing. Instead, the option is
              always turned on (as if the -b flag had been specified).

       -d     Rebind the "delete" key so the character the cursor is on is
              rubbed out rather than the character to its left.

       -e     Enable file name completion.

       -f     Use function keys for commands.  This option supported only in
              conjunction with UW Enhanced NCSA telnet.

       -h     List valid command line options.

       -j     Enable "Goto" command in the file browser.  This enables the
              command to permit explicitly telling pilot which directory to

       -g     Enable "Show Cursor" mode in file browser.  Cause cursor to be
              positioned before the current selection rather than placed at
              the lower left of the display.

       -k     Causes "Cut Text" command to remove characters from the cursor
              position to the end of the line rather than remove the entire

       -m     Enable mouse functionality.  This only works when pico is run
              from within an X Window System "xterm" window.

       -nn    The -nn option enables new mail notification.  The n argument is
              optional, and specifies how often, in seconds, your mailbox is
              checked for new mail.  For example, -n60 causes pico to check
              for new mail once every minute.  The default interval is 180
              seconds, while the minimum allowed is 30. (Note: no space
              between "n" and the number)

       -o dir Sets operating directory.  Only files within this directory are
              accessible.  Likewise, the file browser is limited to the
              specified directory subtree.

       -rn    Sets column used to limit the "Justify" command's right margin

       -s speller
              Specify an alternate program spell to use when spell checking.

       -t     Enable "tool" mode.  Intended for when pico is used as the
              editor within other tools (e.g., Elm, Pnews).  Pico will not
              prompt for save on exit, and will not rename the buffer during
              the "Write Out" command.

       -v     View the file only, disallowing any editing.

              Print Pico version and exit.

       -w     Disable word wrap (thus allow editing of long lines).

       -x     Disable keymenu at the bottom of the screen.

       -z     Enable ^Z suspension of pico.

       -p     Preserve the "start" and "stop" characters, typically Ctrl-Q and
              Ctrl-S, which are sometimes used in communications paths to
              control data flow between devices that operate at different

       -Q quotestr
              Set the quote string.  Especially useful when composing email,
              setting this allows the quote string to be checked for when
              Justifying paragraphs.  A common quote string is "> ".

       -W word_separators
              If characters listed here appear in the middle of a word
              surrounded by alphanumeric characters that word is split into
              two words. This is used by the Forward and Backward word
              commands and by the spell checker.

       -q     Termcap or terminfo definition for input escape sequences are
              used in preference to sequences defined by default.  This option
              is only available if pico was compiled with the TERMCAP_WINS
              define turned on.

              Do setlocale(LC_CTYPE) if available. Default is to not do this

              Do not do setlocale(LC_COLLATE). Default is to do this

       Lastly, when a running pico is disconnected (i.e., receives a SIGHUP),
       pico will save the current work if needed before exiting.  Work is
       saved under the current filename with ".save" appended.  If the current
       work is unnamed, it is saved under the filename "pico.save".


       The manner in which lines longer than the display width are dealt is
       not immediately obvious.  Lines that continue beyond the edge of the
       display are indicated by a '$' character at the end of the line.  Long
       lines are scrolled horizontally as the cursor moves through them.


       pico.save Unnamed interrupted work saved here.
       *.save    Interrupted work on a named file is saved here.


       Michael Seibel <mikes@cac.washington.edu>
       Laurence Lundblade <lgl@cac.washington.edu>
       Pico was originally derived from MicroEmacs 3.6, by Dave G. Conroy.
       Copyright 1989-2008 by the University of Washington.

See Also

       Source distribution (part of the Alpine Message System):

       $Date: 2009-02-02 13:54:23 -0600 (Mon, 02 Feb 2009) $

                                 Version 5.07                          pico(1)

[Unix Hosting | Open-Source | Contact Us]
[Engineering & Automation | Software Development | Server Applications]