Familiarize with Pico Text Editor
Pico (Pine composer) is a text editor for Unix and Unix-based computer systems. Pico is very simple to use and offers features such as paragraph justification, cut/paste, spelling checker, search and replace, etc. Pico does not support working with several files simultaneously and cannot perform a find and replace across multiple files. It also cannot copy text from one file to another. You can use Pico to change your account configuration files or write a computer program source code file. However, this program doesn’t have as many features as some other popular Linux text editors (such as vi). By comparison, popular Unix text editors such as vi and Emacs provide a wider range of features than Pico; including regular expression search and replace, and working with multiple files at the same time. Pico is not truly open source, and most Linux distributions don’t even include Pico as a text editor. In fact, Ubuntu even links the command Pico to nano. Pico’s simplicity makes it suitable for beginners.
Pico is based on the pine message composer. As with pine, 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. PICO does not have many commands – you can learn them within an hour or so. But these commands are the commands you would definitely need to edit a text. PICO’s commands are one-key only, ie there are no commands where you have to issue a sequence of two or more keys. PICO is always in “insert mode”, ie all letters are never interpreted as commands but inserted into the text. This is less confusing to a beginner than modal editors where letters can be interpreted as commands depending on the mode.
Pico displays a menu bar of commonly-used commands at the bottom of the screen. Pico accepts commands from your keyboard but not from your mouse. Inserting a character is done by pressing the corresponding character key in the keyboard while giving commands is done using a control key.
At your Unix shell prompt, type pico filename, replacing filename with the name of the file you want to create or edit. For example, if you want to edit a file named test.txt type:
$ pico test.txt
If the file named test.txt exists, then the first page (or screen) of the file is displayed; if the file does not exist, then an empty file and screen are created into which you may enter text.
To insert text into your Pico editing screen at the cursor, just begin typing. Pico inserts the text to the left of the cursor, moving any existing text along to the right. Each time the cursor reaches the end of a line, Pico’s word wrap feature automatically moves it to the beginning of the next line.
Saving your work
To save your edited file to disk, press Ctrl/o. Pico displays the current filename. (To save the file under a different name, delete the filename that Pico displays and type a new one.) Press Return.
To move the cursor, use the arrow keys or use Ctrl/f (forward), Ctrl/b (back), Ctrl/n (next line), Ctrl/p (previous line). See the “Command overview” (back page) for more cursor movement commands.
To delete the character to the left of the cursor, press Backspace, Delete, or Ctrl/h. To delete the character highlighted by the cursor, press Ctrl/d. To delete the current line, press Ctrl/k.
Pico Keystroke Commands
Basic key combinations used by the Pico editor are shown below.
Ctrl-a moves the cursor to the beginning of the current
Ctrl-b moves the cursor backward a character
Ctrl-d deletes the character at the cursor position
Ctrl-e moves the cursor to the end of the current line
Ctrl-f moves the cursor forward a character
Ctrl-i inserts a tab at the current cursor position
Ctrl-j justifies the current paragraph
Ctrl-k cuts selected text
Ctrl-l refreshes the screen display
Ctrl-n moves the cursor to the next line
Ctrl-p moves the cursor to the previous line
Ctrl-t invokes the spelling checker
Ctrl-u pastes the text, which was the last cut, at the cursor position
Ctrl-v moves the cursor forward one page
Ctrl-w searches for a string of text
Ctrl-y moves the cursor backward one page
If you need any further help, please do reach our support department.