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Pico is a simple text editor available on the mode machine. Think of it as a very primitive version of Microsoft Word!

While editing a document, regular text can be entered directly; however, editing commands are executed using control-key combinations.

Let's say you want to create a new C++ source code file named "prog.c" in your current working directory (folder). You would simply type "pico prog.c" (no quotes) at the mode prompt.

Now let's say you want to edit an existing file named "Prog.java". First, you must change into the directory in which Prog.java is located, and then you would type "pico Prog.java" (no quotes) at the mode prompt. Very easy!

The bottom two lines contain most of the commands available in pico. Commands such as ^X mean "press and hold the control (ctrl) key, then press the "x" key". The most useful commands are the following:

  • ^O - Save your changes (listed as "WriteOut")
  • ^X - Exit editor
  • ^W - Find a word (listed as "Where is")
  • ^K - "Kuts" a line of text
  • ^U - "Unkut" (paste) the previous "kut" line
  • ^C - Display the current line number

Some tricks you may want to use:

Sometimes you need to get to a certain line in your file where a programming error has occured. Hold down the control key and then hold down the "c" key (to display your current line number), and then use the up and down arrow keys while keeping the control and "c" key pressed. You will see the line number continually update as you scroll through the text. In this fashion you should be able to arrive at your location quickly.

To cut and paste large amounts of text, start by placing the cursor at the beginning of the text you wish to cut. Do a "^ ^" (ctrl-shift-6) to mark this location. Next, use the down arrow key to highlight as many lines of text after your mark as you wish. Now, when you "kut" and paste, you will be performing those operations on the large block of text you have just highlighted.

Also, if your window supports it, you may use the cut/copy/paste items from the Edit pull-down menu at the top of the screen. These should work similar to any other windows application. If you are using these features and you are having trouble using your mouse to highlight a large amount of text, use the trick in the previous paragraph to do your highlighting.

Supercomputing ChallengeQuestions? e-mail: consult