pico - simple text editor in the style of the Pine Composer
pico [ options ] [ file ]
Pico is a simple, display-oriented text editor based on the Pine message
system composer. As with Pine, 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 con-
tains 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 sub-
stitute 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,
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)
-b Enable the option to Replace text matches found using the "Where is"
-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 con-
junction 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 visit.
-g Enable "Show Cursor" mode in file browser. Cause cursor to be posi-
tioned 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 posi-
tion to the end of the line rather than remove the entire line.
-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)
Sets operating directory. Only files within this directory are acces-
sible. Likewise, the file browser is limited to the specified direc-
-rn Sets column used to limit the "Justify" command's right margin
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" com-
-v View the file only, disallowing any editing.
-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.
-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.
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 <mikesATcac.edu>
Laurence Lundblade <lglATcac.edu>
Pico was originally derived from MicroEmacs 3.6, by Dave G. Conroy.
Pico is a trademark of the University of Washington.
Copyright 1989-1999 by the University of Washington.
Source distribution (part of the Pine Message System):
$Date: 1999/11/04 01:53:56 $