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 immedi-
     ately 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 char-
     acter, e.g. "ESC ESC c" would be equivalent  to  entering  a
     ctrl-c.   The editor has five basic features: paragraph jus-
     tification, 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.   Para-
     graphs  are  delimited by blank lines, or by lines beginning
     with a space or tab.  Unjustification can  be  done  immedi-
     ately  after  justification using the control-U key combina-

     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  can-
     celled  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  selec-
     tion.  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  dele-

     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)

     -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.

     -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  cur-
          sor  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 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)

     -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

     -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.

     -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.

     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 "".

     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 '$'  char-
     acter  at the end of the line.  Long lines are scrolled hor-
     izontally as the cursor moves through them.

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

     Michael Seibel <>
     Laurence Lundblade <>
     Pico was originally derived from MicroEmacs 3.6, by Dave  G.
     Pico is a trademark of the University of Washington.
     Copyright 1989-1996 by the University of Washington.

See Also
     Source distribution (part of the Pine Message System):