Pico is a simple, display-oriented text editor based on
the Alpine message system composer. As with Alpine, 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 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 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 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 picos online help.