An Introduction To Pine :



About Pine


Electronic mail (email) allows you to communicate quickly and easily with colleagues on campus and around the world. The use of email is rapidly increasing, changing teaching, learning, research, health care, business, and administration. Pine is a sophisticated yet easy-to-use email program that was created at the University of Washington with the specific goal of being responsive to new email users. Pine offers


* On-Screen Menus and Messages: Pine displays your options in menus at the bottom of each screen, so

you do not need to memorize commands. On-screen messages appear on a line above the command

menu to give you warnings or information as you make a choice.


* Online Help: Help is instantly available to provide information about the task you are performing.


About This Document


The text that follows does not tell you everything about Pine. It only introduces Pine's main options and summarizes basic email guidelines. The best way to learn to use Pine is to explore it on your own. Pine was designed to make it easy for you to learn to use email: there is information on each screen and in the online help that shows you what to do or answers your questions.


Starting and Quitting Pine


To start: To start Pine type in "pine" at the Unix command prompt as given below .


nova% pine


To quit: When you want to leave Pine, type Q (Quit).


The Main Menu


The Main Menu lists Pine's main options (see Figure 1). The letter you must type to enter your choice is to the left of each option or command name. In case of the Main Menu you can use the arrow keys to move to one of the options and then press the enter key to select it .From the Main Menu, you can read online help, write and send a message, look at an index of your mail messages, open or maintain your mail folders, update your address book, configure or update Pine, and quit Pine.



PINE 3.95 MAIN MENU Folder:INBOX 2 Messages


? HELP - Get help using Pine


C COMPOSE MESSAGE - Compose and send a message


I FOLDER INDEX - View messages in current folder


L FOLDER LIST - Select a folder to view


A ADDRESS BOOK - Update address book


S SETUP - Configure or update Pine


Q QUIT - Exit the Pine program


Copyright 1989-1996. PINE is a trademark of the University of Washington.

[Folder "INBOX" opened with 2 messages]


? Help F P PrevCmd R RelNotes

O OTHER CMDS L [ListFldrs] N NextCmd



Figure 1. A Pine Main Menu Screen


Now that you know how to start Pine, you can explore on your own, or you can

browse the rest of this document for a summary of Pine's main features.


Getting Help in Pine


To read the online help, use the Help command at the bottom of each screen. For example, at the Main Menu screen, type ? (Help). To exit the online help, type E (Exit Help).


Writing a Message in Pine


To write a message, type C (Compose) to see the Compose Message screen.





To :


Cc :




Subject :


----- Message Text -----





^G Get Help ^X Send ^R Rich Hdr ^Y PrvPg/Top ^K Cut Line ^O Postpone

^C Cancel ^D Del Char ^J Attach ^V NxtPg/End ^U UnDel Line ^T To AddrBk



Figure 2. A Pine Compose Message Screen


In the command menu above, the ^ character is used to indicate the Control key. This means you must hold down the Control key (written in this document as ) while you press the letter for each command.


You might start experimenting in Pine by sending yourself a message. The following section shows you how.


Writing and Sending a Test Message to Yourself


To write and send a test message to yourself:


1. Type C (Compose) to see the Compose Message screen.


2. In the To: field, type your email address (csc105xx @ ) . Press the Tab key to go to the next field .


3. In the Cc: field, press Tab.


4. In the Attachment: field, press Tab.


5. In the Subject: field, type "Test" and press .


6. Below the Message Text line, type This is a test.


If a user Jean Hughes at site whose userid is jhughes

were to compose such a test message, the completed screen would look like

the example below.





To : csc105xx @


Cc :




Subject : Test


----- Message Text -----


This is a test.


^G Get Help ^X Send ^R Read File ^Y Prev Pg ^K Cut Text ^O Postpone

^C Cancel ^J Justify ^W Where is ^V Next Pg ^U UnCut Text ^T To Spell



Figure 3. A Pine Compose Message Screen


7. To send your message, press ^X (Send).


You are asked: Send message?


8. Type y (yes)

The message is sent, and a copy is saved to your sent-mail folder. (If you type n (no) the message is not sent, and you can continue to work on it.)


Hints for Writing a Message


To: In this field, type the email addresses of your recipients. Separate the

addresses with commas.

Note that if you type in only the userid (e.g., csc105xx) of your recipient, the Pine program assumes that the "right-hand part" of your recipient's address is the same as yours (e.g.,, unless you explicitly enter a different one. Always check the addresses in both the To: and the Cc: fields for accuracy and completeness before you send a message.


Cc: In this field, type the email addresses of the persons to whom you want to send copies. Separate their addresses with commas. When you are finished, or if you do not want to send any copies, press Tab .


Attchmnt: This is an advanced Pine feature that allows you to attach files, including word processing documents, spreadsheets, or images that exist on the same computer where you are running Pine. If you do not want to attach a file to your message, press . For more information, with your cursor in the Attchmnt: field, press G (Get Help).


Subject: In this field, enter a one-line description of your message. A short, pertinent description is appreciated by the recipients, since this is what they see when they scan their email index.


Message Text: Type your message. To move around, use the arrow keys. To delete characters, press delete key or the backspace key .


Inserting a Plain Text File. If you want to send a "plain text" file with your message, you can insert the file in the body of your message using the R (Read in a File) command. Plain text files are files created by text editors such as vi or PICO ( The editor used in Pine , if you really like what you see in pine , then you can think of using PICO instead of vi when you use a text editor in unix , however learning it will be up to you , donít expect me to help with it ).


Hints for Sending a Message


Sending a Message. After your message is composed, press X, and then type y or press . Your message is sent and a copy is saved to the sent-mail folder. If a message cannot be delivered, it eventually is returned to you. If you want to re-send a message, you can use the F (Forward) command.


Changing Your Mind. If you change your mind after typing X), type n instead of y to continue to work on your message. While you are writing your message, you can press O (Postpone) to hold your message so you can work on it later, or you can press C (Cancel) to delete your message entirely. You are asked to confirm whether or not you want to cancel a message.


Listing Messages



PINE 3.90 FOLDER INDEX Folder:INBOX Message 3 of 3 NEW


D 1 Jan 10 Mu Li (486) Proposal


+ A 2 Jan 10 Christine Smith (500) NSF


+ N 3 Jan 11 To: jhughes (448) Test



? Help M Main Menu P PrevMsg - Prev Page D Delete R Reply

O OTHER CMDS V [ViewMsg] N NextMsg Spc Next Page U Undelete F Forward



Figure 4. A Pine Folder Index Screen


The selected message is highlighted. The first

column on the left shows the message status. It may be blank, or it may contain

"N" if the message is new (unread),

"+" if the message was sent directly to you (it is not a copy or from a list),

"A" if you have answered the message (using the Reply command), or

"D" if you have marked the message for deletion.



Viewing a Message


1. At the Folder Index screen, use the arrow keys to highlight the message you want to view.


2. Type V (ViewMsg) or press enter key to read a selected message.


To see the next message, press N (NextMsg).


To return to the index, press I (Index).


Replying to a Message


To reply to a message that you have selected at the Folder Index screen or that you are viewing: Type R (Reply). Take care that you reply only to a particular person and not the whole list if the message was sent to you as part of a list .



Pine Can Do More


Pine has other useful features that have not been covered here and it is left to you to learn more if you wish to do so .

To learn more about Pine .

* Try all of the commands at the bottom of each Pine screen, including the ones that appear when you type O (OTHER CMDS).

* Read Pine's online help often. It contains tips to help you at every stage of learning Pine. Read about different functions, even

those you do not use yet.

* For more advanced information, see the online Unix Manual entries for Pine and Pico.