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Pico is an easy to use text editor for Unix. If you already know how to use Pine mail, then you are well on your way to mastering Pico. Pico uses very slight variations on the Pine editing commands, but the function is often parallel to Pine.

Note: Some Pico commands use the Ctrl key on your keyboard, displayed as a caret (^) on Pico screens. For example ^x means to hold down Ctrl and press x.

Letters are shown in upper case on Pico screens and in this document for the sake of clarity, but they may be typed in lower case.

Starting Pico
Saving and Exiting Pico
Editing Pico

Starting Pico

There are two ways to start Pico. You may open an unnamed, empty document to be saved and named later or you may open a file under a specific name. A file opened with a specific name may be a file you have already worked on and saved, or you may create an empty file of a specific type.

To start Pico:

  1. To run the pico editor without specifying a filename, type: pico. This will open an empty document.

  2. To edit or create a file with a specific name, type: pico myfile.
    Example: pico .signature creates a signature file for email.

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Editing Commands

The following are some commonly used editing commands:

^E - Move to end of line.

^A - Move to beginning of line.

^K - Cut/delete current line. Also puts the line in a buffer so it can be undeleted/pasted.

^U - Paste/undelete. Undeletes/pastes the most recently cut line.

^^ - Mark a block of text of any size. (This command requires a bit of manual dexterity: Hold down CTRL, SHIFT and the 6 key (to get the ^). Then use the arrows to create the highlighted block. Use ^K to cut the block and ^U to paste it.

^D - Delete current character.

^J - Justify/rejustify margin.

^T - Check spelling.

^R - Insert existing file into file you're editing.

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Saving Your File and Exiting Pico

When you finish your Pico session, you may either save your file or not. Saving your file will allow you to reopen it under a specific name the next time you use Pico. Not saving it will revert to the last saved version or destroy all the contents of that file if you never saved it.

To exit Pico and save your file:

  1. Type ^ X. Pico will ask if you want to save changes.
  2. Press y. Pico will show the current file name.
  3. Press Enter to keep current name, or, type in new name to protect original version and save a copy of the modified version.

To exit Pico without saving your file:

  1. Type ^X. Pico will ask if you want to save changes.
  2. Press n.

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 |  Last updated January 10, 2013

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