3.0 Creating and Editing Text Files: Pico and Emacs

File types may be divided into two groups: text files (which may be edited) and binary (program) files. Since most binary files are created from text files, most users will only have occasion to create text files. Text files are created and modified with programs called editors. These are much like word processors. They manipulate text but are relieved of the burden of formatting the text for printing; thus, the text on the screen need not reflect how it will appear on paper.

The text editor pico is easy-to-use; it is the editor used by the Pine e-mail program. To use pico, type pico fileneme at the UNIX prompt, where fileneme is the name of the file you wish to created. The most relevant commands are listed at the bottom of the screen as you type your text file. A few more commands are available from the help menu (c^G, or Control-G-see Section 7.1). When you quit with c^X, pico will ask if you wish to save changes to the buffer. Saying "yes" will save your work, while saying "no" will destroy any changes you have made. If you wish to give your file a new name, you get an opportunity to do so before quitting pico.

Another editor that is widely available and used in the Unix environment is Emacs. Emacs is available and the ITS staff encourages you to use this editor on the Academic-Computing server "Condor". Click Here for an excellent reference on how to use Emacs.

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