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