CU Home
Columbia University Information Technology
Pico and Pilot

A Quick Guide to Pico and Pilot

Pico is an easy-to-use text editor which you can use to create or edit text files on CUNIX. To start Pico, type pico at the UNIX $ prompt. Pico will open an editing window, with all commands shown at the bottom of the screen. To edit an existing file, you can put the name after pico on the command line, or use the control-R command to read it in.

All editing commands are issued by holding down the control key (indicated by ^) and typing a character. Arrow keys can be used on most keyboards, but there are also control-key commands to move the cursor.

Pico Help

The following is the built-in help, seen with the ^G command:

        Pico Help Text

        Pico is designed to be a simple, easy-to-use text editor with a
        layout very similar to the pine mailer.  The status line at the
        top of the display shows pico's version, the current file being
        edited and whether or not there are outstanding modifications
        that have not been saved.  The third line from the bottom is used
        to report informational messages and for additional command input.
        The bottom two lines list the available editing commands.

        Each character typed is automatically inserted into the buffer
        at the current cursor position.  Editing commands and cursor
        movement (besides arrow keys) are given to pico by typing
        special control-key sequences.  A caret, '^', is used to denote
        the control key, sometimes marked "CTRL", so the CTRL-q key
        combination is written as ^Q.

        The following functions are available in pico (where applicable,
        corresponding function key commands are in parentheses).

        ^G (F1)   Display this help text.

        ^F        move Forward a character.
        ^B        move Backward a character.
        ^P        move to the Previous line.
        ^N        move to the Next line.
        ^A        move to the beginning of the current line.
        ^E        move to the End of the current line.
        ^V (F8)   move forward a page of text.
        ^Y (F7)   move backward a page of text.

        ^W (F6)   Search for (where is) text, neglecting case.
        ^L        Refresh the display.

        ^D        Delete the character at the cursor position.
        ^^        Mark cursor position as beginning of selected text.
                  Note: Setting mark when already set unselects text.
        ^K (F9)   Cut selected text (displayed in inverse characters).
                  Note: The selected text's boundary on the cursor side
                        ends at the left edge of the cursor.  So, with
                        selected text to the left of the cursor, the
                        character under the cursor is not selected.
        ^U (F10)  Uncut (paste) last cut text inserting it at the
                  current cursor position.
        ^I        Insert a tab at the current cursor position.

        ^J (F4)   Format (justify) the current paragraph.
                  Note: paragraphs delimited by blank lines or indentation.
        ^T (F12)  To invoke the spelling checker
        ^C (F11)  Report current cursor position

        ^R (F5)   Insert an external file at the current cursor position.
        ^O (F3)   Output the current buffer to a file, saving it.
        ^X (F2)   Exit pico, saving buffer.

Pilot

Pilot displays and manipulates files.

Just as Pico is built into Pine, Pilot is built into Pico. You see the Pilot functions if you use the ^R Read File command and then the ^T To Files command. To use Pilot by itself, type pilot at the UNIX $ prompt.

Its help screen says:
Help for File Browser

        The File Browser is used to display and manipulate files.

        Both directories and files are displayed.  Press V
        or Return to display the selected directory or view a
        text file's contents.  Other commands are available to
        Edit, Copy, Rename, and Delete the selected (highlighted)
        file.

        The file named ".." is special, and means the "parent"
        of the directory being displayed.  Select this directory
        to move upward in the directory tree.

End of File Browser Help.