Available as PDF
By now, you are probably ready to actually create (compose) and send some e-mail of your own. Pine makes this very simple and straightforward. The
MESSAGE INDEX, or
MESSAGE TEXT screens.
When you use the
Pico is a "full-screen" editor: this means you can use your computer's "arrow keys" to move all around the screen, and type in text wherever you place the cursor with the arrow keys. It works much like a regular word-processor,
in that it does cut-and-paste and automatic word-wrap. Following (Figure 3) is an example of the Pine Composer as it presents a screen for a new, outgoing e-mail message. This screen is identified in reverse-type bar with the words
First, look at the command-menu at the bottom of the screen. Unlike the other Pine screens we've presented, the commands on the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen are all <Ctrl>-plus-one-other-key
combinations, and the <Ctrl> key is "abbreviated" on the command menu as
^ (the caret symbol). This was done so more commands would fit in the limited space at the bottom of the screen. For example,
^D is shorthand for "Hold down the <Ctrl> key while pressing the
This approach is used is because the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen is a user-input screen. If commands were single keystrokes, as on the other Pine screens, the commands could not be distinguished from text you were trying
to type into your message! (How could you type the letter "q" in a message if the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen interpreted it as the command to QUIT?) So, since we rarely (if ever!) type <Ctrl>-key
combinations in e-mail messages, those are used for commands on this screen.
Some Pine composer commands are context-sensitive. An example is the
^T command, which can mean
^T To Addrbk
^T To Files
^T To Spell
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen. Although you use the
^T command for different functions, there is never any
confusion because the context-sensitive menu displays the functional name of the command, i.e.,
^T To Addrbk
When we "captured" the screen illustration shown in Figure 3, for example, our cursor was in the
To: header field where Pine expects you to input userids and e-mail addresses of correspondents. To help us,
the Pine menu includes the command
^T To Addrbk
However, if we moved our cursor to the
Attachmnt: field, the command in the menu would change to
^T To Files
These and other context-sensitive commands will be covered in more detail later in this chapter.
Let's start at the top, and work down through the different areas of the screen. We'll look briefly at some of the most often-used commands on this screen.
Directly beneath the screen identifier bar are the Header fields, where you type information such as the name(s) of your correspondent(s) and the subject of the e-mail message you are using. Specifically they are:
field is where you can type either the address of your intended recipient, or a nickname which matches an entry in your Address Book. You may type any number of recipient addresses and/or list addresses and/or nicknames, separated by commas (
, ) only (no spaces). Pine will expand the field as you type to give you as much room as you need.
recipients of the message--"carbon copies," in traditional business usage. Just as for the
To: field, you may type any number of
Cc: recipients, separated by commas.
field is where you specify any files you wish to "attach" to a message when you send it. When your cursor is in this field, you can either type a filename here, or use the
^T To Files
is where you type information about the subject of your message, just as you would use the "Subject" or "RE:" line of a regular business memo. What you type in this field will show up in the message listing when your recipient views the
list of his/her incoming e-mail files. Pine shows the first 37 characters of the
Subject: field on the
MESSAGE INDEX screen; other programs may show more or fewer characters, but almost all
e-mail programs show some of the
Subject: field in their message lists. A few, well-chosen words here will help your recipient(s) know what your message is about before they even read it.
This command causes Pine to display extended header information, allowing you to fill in such optional, additional information as
Bcc: (Blind Carbon Copy),
Fcc: (Folder Carbon Copy)
Lcc: (List Carbon Copy), when you need those options.
Bcc: recipients get a copy of the message, but do not show up in the headers of the copies received by the primary ("
and secondary ("
Cc:") addressees. So when you include a
Bcc: recipient, only you and the
Bcc: addressee know that s/he got a copy of the message.
As mentioned previously, the
^T command has several functions, depending upon where your cursor is located on the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen. The following two cases apply when your cursor is in one of
the message header fields:
^Twhen cursor is in
your cursor is in the
^T To Addrbk
You may repeat this command as often as needed for the same field for multiple recipients.
^Twhen cursor is in
^T = "To Files." Pine presents a file navigation panel, allowing you to select plain-text and binary files from your NERSP disk-space for inclusion as attachments.
Attchmnt: option is very
powerful and useful in that it allows you to attach binary (executable, graphic, and special word-processor or spreadsheet format) files as well as plain text files to your message, and e-mail them to your recipient. See the "Attachments" section
for more information. NOTE: CNS limits the size of any individual e-mail message to a maximum of 10 megabytes, including all attachments.
The space below the address header fields (shown in Figure 4 as the
----- Message Text ----- area) is where you actually type the body of your message. Pine "wraps" text from one line to the next, just like a word processor.
And what happens when you fill up the whole screen? Just keep typing! Pine is not stingy about space. It will continue to give you screen space, adding it automatically as needed.
You can create a file using Pico that will be automatically added to the end of all your outgoing e-mail messages; a sort of electronic "letterhead," only it goes at the bottom instead of the top of your messages. Your .signature file might
include things like your name, affiliation, office address, phone number, e-mail address and WWW home page address. Commonly accepted Internet etiquette ("netiquette") says this file should be kept to a MAXIMUM of 4 lines. To create this file,
This will invoke Pico to open a new, empty document in which to write
and format your "signature." When finished, use the
^X command to save your work and exit pico. Once your .signature information appears in a message your are composing, it can be edited like any other text. You can also edit
the original .signature file by entering pico .signature from the
Note that the "
(period) at the beginning of the filename (
.signature) is a required part of the filename.
Now, let's have a look at the commands at the bottom of the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen.
Remember as you read these descriptions that the
^ symbol is shorthand for "hold down the <Control> key while pressing the appropriate command-letter," and that the spelled out commands (i.e., "
Help") are there only as reminders. Do not type this "informational" material!
This command gives access to Pine's built-in help files, and is context-sensitive--that is, the help file presented will depend upon the screen and location of your cursor when you issue the command. If your cursor is in the
field, you will receive help related to that field. If your cursor is in the
Attchmnt: field, then
^G will display help appropriate to that field; and so on for every section of the screen.
When your cursor is in the
--Message Text-- section of the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen,
^T invokes Pine's built-in spell-checker. Pine "scans" through the document one word
at a time. Unrecognized words will be flagged, and you will have an opportunity to change the spelling of each. Press
A ("accept") to leave a word unchanged.
Searches the body of the current message for whatever text you specify. Pine will display the prompt
Search :. You may enter any string of text you wish to search for, and press <Enter>. If the text exists in the body
of the message, Pine will move the cursor to that point. NOTE: Your cursor must be in the body (text) of the message to use this command; if the cursor is in the headers, Pine will respond
Unknown command ^W.
When you have completed your message, the
^X command is the final step--the actual instruction to send the message to the addressee(s). Pine will ask you to confirm a Send command by typing
Y (yes) to make
sure you are really ready to send the message.
Abandon this message without either sending or saving it. When you press
^C, Pine will display a prompt which says
Cancel message (answering "Yes" will abandon your mail message) ?. Answering "
will take you back to whatever panel you were on when you issued the "
C Compose Message" command. Answering "
n" will allow you to continue your message.
Saves this message without sending it, so you can come back later and finish it. The next time you use the
composition?" You can answer either
Y (yes) or
N (no). If you answer
Y, Pine will retrieve the postponed message, and you may continue where you left off. If you answer
N" Pine will present its regular, blank
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen, for you to create a new message. The postponed message will still be saved, and Pine will continue to ask you each time you
You may have any number of postponed messages. If you have more than one, and you answer
Y to the
Continue postponed composition? prompt, Pine will present you a menu-list of messages which you have postponed,
and allow you to choose the one you wish to work on now. The others will continue to be saved until you are ready to work on them again. Postponed messages which you have decided to discard may also be deleted from this menu.
If you only have one postponed message, Pine does not present this menu; if you wish to discard your only postponed message, you will need to answer
Y (yes) to the
Continue postponed composition? prompt, and
then use the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen to abandon it, thereby also deleting it.
In Pine, if you postpone a mail message, reopen it, and make text changes, there is no saved version to revert to--your changes are permanent. However, if you want to save a copy a of a file before making changes to it, highlight the text, copy it to your PC's "clipboard" and paste it into a word processor file (you can also reverse the process).
^R was introduced previously as the
^R Rich Hdr
----Message Text---- area),
^R Read File
When you press
^R, you will see the prompt:
File to insert from home directory:
Type the name of the file you wish to include in your message. Unless you specify otherwise--by using a pathname--Pine will assume the file is to be found in your home directory. See the information on Directory Structure in Part III for more information on pathnames and the home directory.
If you aren't sure of the name of the file, you can press
^T To Files
^R; this will invoke the Pilot file browser (discussed later) to allow you to choose the
file to be imported from a menu.
If you wish to import text from another e-mail message in the current folder, make sure you know the message number before you issue the
^R command. Pine shows the message number to the left of the message date on the
MESSAGE INDEX screen, or at the top-right corner of the
MESSAGE TEXT screen. Use the
Shows the previous screen and ...
... shows the next screen.
^W ^Y(WhereIs Up?)
...moves you to the very start of your document and ...
^W ^V(WhereIs Down?)
...moves you to the very end of your document.
- (minus sign) and <Spacebar> to page back and forth. But if you are composing a message, pressing those keys will add minus signs and blank spaces to your text--so you must use
^V, instead, for navigating within your message.
^^) [ Mark Set ]
Invoking the above command will cause Pine to respond with a
[ Mark Set ] message--the first step in defining a block of text for a "cut" or "cut-and-paste" operation. By cut-and-paste, we mean you
define/select a block of text then remove it (and put it back in elsewhere in your message ). Strangely enough, this very useful [ Mark Set ] command doesn't appear on any Pine command menu! Admittedly,
is not particularly easy-to-remember; it may help if you think of it as
^^); however, unlike other Pine commands, the Shift-key is required.
While your text cursor is located in any part of the
----- Message Text ----- area of a message you are composing, press
<Ctrl><Shift>6. With your arrow keys, move your cursor up,
down and/or across the page in any direction to highlight (select) exactly the text you want. When all the text you want to cut is highlighted, use
^K (<Ctrl>K) to CUT the block of text. The cut text will be saved in a
buffer (an invisible "holding area") until that buffer text is replaced by another CUT operation. See the
^K Cut Text
You can then move your cursor to wherever in the message you wish to replace this text, and press
<Ctrl>U) (UN-CUT). The "cut" text will be
"pasted" back into the message at that point. See the
^U UnCut Text
(as in "cut-and-paste") removes either the current line (if no MARK is set), or all text between the cursor and the MARK (if you have set a MARK).
^K Cut Text
You can CUT any sized chunk of text you want, from a single character, up to pages and pages; but you can only work with ONE chunk of cut text at a time! If you cut one chunk of text, and then cut another chunk of text before pasting the first
chunk, that first chunk is LOST and GONE FOREVER! If you intend to paste text which you have cut back into the message, you must do it before you cut another chunk of text! Note also that if you postpone or cancel a message, cut text that was not
"uncut" back into the message will be lost. There is no specific "copy" command, only cut and uncut commands. So after selecting text you want to copy (not just move), cut it with
then paste it back into the same place with
Remember, too, if you use the
<Ctrl><Shift> 6 [ Mark Set ] and
U Uncut for more information.
After editing some text, you may end up with a rag-tag assortment of line-lengths in your message. The
Place your cursor anywhere inside a block of text which you wish to "clean up" and press
^J. Pine will rearrange the text into a nicely formatted block. This does NOT "right-justify" the text; it only
"wraps" text from adjacent lines within a text block to eliminate unsightly gaps. The effect stops when a blank line is encountered, so you may want to make sure you insert blank lines before and after the text you wish to "justify" before
issuing this command. (You insert blank lines by just hitting the <Enter> or <Return> key.)
^U command is another example of Pine's "context-sensitive" interface; the action resulting from
^U varies according to the command(s) which precede it:
^U means to "un-cut" ("paste"). It pastes the
most-recently cut block or line of text back into the text editor screen, at the current cursor position.
Pine's "cut" function cuts the text into a buffer (an invisible, temporary storage space) where it stays until you do another
"cut." When you "paste" text, you are just copying the text from the buffer into your message; the text remains in the buffer, available to be pasted again, repeatedly, as desired, until another
^U UnCut Text
^U following a
Place your cursor anywhere
inside a block of text which you wish to "clean up" and press
^J. Pine will rearrange the text into a nicely formatted block. This does NOT "right-justify" the text; it only "wraps" text from adjacent lines
within a text block to eliminate unsightly gaps. The effect stops when a blank line is encountered, so you may want to make sure you insert blank lines before and after the text you wish to "justify" before issuing this command. (You insert blank
lines by just hitting the <Enter> or <Return> key.)
By default, Pine automatically saves a copy of each message you send in a folder named sent-mail. This is a regular Pine message folder, and you can switch to it (via the
L List Folders
Pine provides a convenient, built-in "address-book" function, allowing you to create "nicknames" for individuals and groups to whom you frequently send e-mail.
When you create an entry in your Pine Address Book, you assign a nickname to it. Once you have saved the entry, you can type the nickname in the
To: field of an outgoing mail message, and Pine will automatically substitute the full
"real" name(s) and e-mail address(es) of the person(s) with whom you have associated the nickname.
You may add nicknames to your Address Book by using the
A ADDRESS BOOK
Once in the Pine
ADDRESS BOOK screen, you will find the available commands listed, as usual, in a menu at the bottom of the screen.
^G to see Pine's help file for that field.
If you specify multiple recipients in the
Addresses: field, Pine will automatically recognize that you are creating a "list" and will handle it appropriately. Note that, as with the
To: field on the
COMPOSE MESSAGE screen, you must separate multiple addresses with commas (
,). A good trick is to first create an individual entry for each member of a list you intend to create--each with his or her own individual
nickname. Then, when creating the list, specify the individual nicknames (separated by commas) in the
Addresses: field of the
ADDRESS BOOK (Add) screen. That will allow you to enter extended information
Comment) for each member of your list (when you add the individual nicknames), and Pine will be able to include each individual user's full name when you address mail to the list/nickname.