PICO Text Editor

What is Pico?

Pico is an easy-to-use text editor on the CNS Logon Server that is designed to work in tandem with Pine e-mail. It can also be used with the Tin news reader and can be set as the default text editor for your Logon Server account.

You can start Pico two ways:
  • by activating the Pico hypertext link, under the Lynx menu called "Basic Services"
  • by typing in pico filename at the UNIX system prompt. Unlike many UNIX file editors, which require memorizing and typing a lot of commands on a command line, Pico works with key combinations based on the Control key (Ctrl).


Pico commands are usually given using the control <CTRL> keys. The most common commands appear in a menu at the bottom of the screen during a pico session. The menus are context sensitive and will vary depending on what you are doing within pico.

Ctrl-G  Get Help
Ctrl-X   Exit Pico saving buffer to specified filename
Ctrl-O  Write Out buffer into a file saving it and remaining in Pico

Moving around Pico

Ctrl-F  Move forward one character
Ctrl-A  Move to beginning of the line
Ctrl-B  Move to backward one character
>Ctrl-E  Move to end of the line
Ctrl-N  Down one line
Ctrl-V  Next page
Ctrl-P  Up one line
Ctrl-Y  Previous page
Ctrl-C  Cursor Position - report cursor location

Files and Buffers

Ctrl-R  Read File - insert external file at current cursor position
Ctrl-O  Write Out buffer into a file saving it and remaining in Pico


Ctrl-W  Where Is - search for text neglecting case
Ctrl-T  To Spell - invoke spell checker
Ctrl-Q   Unfreeze Screen


Ctrl-D  Delete Character at the cursor position
Ctrl-K  Cut Selected Text - delete line(s) 

Positioning Text

Ctrl- ^ Mark Cursor Position as beginning of selected text - 
         _Note:  setting mark when already set unselects text.
Ctrl-K  Cut Selected Text - delete line(s) 
Ctrl-U  Uncut (paste) Text - insert text at the cursor position 
Ctrl-I    Insert Tab at current cursor position 
Ctrl-J   Justify (format) current paragraph - from cursor position
Ctrl-L   Refresh Screen

Test Yourself

If you want to see how well you know Pico, then try quizzing your self with our Pico Quiz