Getting Started With Pine

September 16, 1994 University of Washington, Computing & Communications

Pine(TM) is an electronic mail system created and maintained by the Computing & Communications group at the University of Washington. To help support Pine, a starter version of this document was created by C&C in 1994 for Pine 3.9. To meet local needs and conditions, modifications may have been made to either Pine or this document or both by local computer consultants. The local version of this document is maintained by ___________________________________________.

Pine is a trademark of the University of Washington. Permission to use this document for non-commercial purposes, in original or modified form, is granted, provided that the original source of the document is acknowledged as University of Washington Computing & Communications and that this paragraph, as well as the notice above, are retained on the title page of any documentation based on this text.

Table of Contents

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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:

About This Document

This document should be read at your computer while you use Pine. 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. Try the different options and have fun experimenting with Pine.

Before You Start Pine

Before you can use Pine to correspond by email, you need to have a userid (an account) on a computer and log in. For details, see the computing consultant for your department.

Starting and Quitting Pine

To start: The details of how to start Pine vary considerably from site to site. Consult your local support staff for further information. After starting Pine, the Main Menu screen appears. Each Pine screen has a similar layout: the top line tells you the screen name and additional useful information, below that is the work area (on the Main Menu screen, the work area is a menu of options), then the message/prompt line, and finally the menu of commands.

To quit: When you want to leave Pine, type Q (Quit). For details, see "Quitting Pine and Logging Out".

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. You can usually type either uppercase or lowercase letters, and you should not press <Return> to enter commands.

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 3.90 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 1989-1994. PINE is a trademark of the University of Washington. [Folder "INBOX" opened with 2 messages]

? Help 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). Because the help text is context sensitive, you never see all of it at once--only the part that relates to the Pine feature you are using. 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.

PINE 3.90 COMPOSE MESSAGE Folder:INBOX 2 Messages To : Cc : Attchmnt: 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 <Control>) while you press the letter for each command.

Press <Control>G (Get Help) to see additional commands. To move around, use the arrow keys or <Control>N (Next line) and <Control> P (Previous line). To correct errors, use <Backspace> or <Delete>.

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 and press <Return>.

  3. In the Cc: field, press <Return>.

  4. In the Attachment: field, press <Return>.

  5. In the Subject: field, type Test and press <Return>.

  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.

    PINE 3.90 COMPOSE MESSAGE Folder:INBOX 2 Messages

    To : Jean Hughes <> Cc : Attchmnt: 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 <Control>X (Send).

    You are asked:

    Send message?

  8. Type y (yes) or press <Return>.

    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.)

This test message is very simple. There are, of course, other options you can use as you compose a message. A few are summarized in the next section, and complete information about options for the Compose Message screen is available in online help. As you compose a message, you can press <Control>G (Get Help) at any time to see details about your current task.

Hints for Writing a Message

In this field, type the email addresses of your recipients. Separate the addresses with commas. When you are finished, press <Return>. Note that if you type in only the userid (login name) 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.

Finding and Formatting Addresses. The best way to get a person's email address is to ask him or her for it. For more information on finding and formatting email addresses on local and remote computers, press <Control>G (Get Help) in the To: field.

Using the Address Book. In both the To: and the Cc: fields, you can enter a person's email address manually, or you can use an entry from your Pine Address Book. See "Using the Address Book".

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 <Return>.

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 <Return>. For more information, with your cursor in the Attchmnt: field, press <Control>G (Get Help).

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. When finished, press <Return>.

Message Text:
Type your message. To move around, use the arrow keys. To delete characters, press <Backspace> or <Delete>. To delete a line, press <Control>K. To justify your text, press <Control>J. To check your spelling, press <Control>T. To see other editing commands, press <Control>G (Get Help).

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 <Control>R (Read in a File) command. Plain text files are files created by text editors such as Pico, the editor you use when you compose a Pine message. For information about inserting files, with your cursor in the Message Text: field, press <Control>G (Get Help).

Hints for Sending a Message

Sending a Message.
After your message is composed, press <Control>X, and then type y or press <Return>. 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 <Control>X), type n instead of y to continue to work on your message. While you are writing your message, you can press <Control>O (Postpone) to hold your message so you can work on it later, or you can press <Control>C (Cancel) to delete your message entirely. You are asked to confirm whether or not you want to cancel a message.

Listing Messages

Pine stores messages sent to you (including those you send to yourself) in your INBOX folder. Messages remain in your INBOX folder until you delete them or save them in other folders. (You will learn more about the INBOX and other folders in "Pine Folders".)

To see a list of the messages you have received in your INBOX folder:

See "Moving Between Folders" if you want to list the messages in a folder other than your INBOX.

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. The rest of the columns in the message line show you the message number, date sent, sender, size, and subject. For details, press ? (Help).

Most of the commands you need to handle your messages are listed at the bottom of the screen. You can type O (Other Commands) to see the additional commands that are available. You do not need to see these commands on the screen to use them. That is, you never need to type O as a prefix for any other command.

Viewing a Message

To view 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 <Return> 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:

Pine Folders

Incoming messages may quickly accumulate in your INBOX folder. Imagine what it would be like to find one hundred messages there. If you use email often, this may happen sooner than you expect. How should you organize the messages you wish to save?

Organizing Messages With Folders

A Pine folder, like a folder in your file cabinet, is a storage place for messages. As you use email, you accumulate many messages and can organize them into different folders by topic, correspondent, date, or any other category that is meaningful to you. You can create your own folders, and Pine automatically provides three:

Keeping Folders Clean

Messages--whether they are in your INBOX or your other Pine folders--occupy storage space, and your storage space is limited.

Moving Between Folders

When you start Pine and press I (Index) at the Main Menu, you see a list of messages in your INBOX folder. If you want to see the messages in another folder, you need to go to that folder. The following text shows you two ways to go to another folder from nearly anywhere in Pine.

To access your folders and the messages that are stored in them:

  1. Type L (Folder List).

    You see a Folder List screen like the following, in which your current folder is highlighted. (When you start Pine, the current folder is your INBOX.)

    PINE 3.90 FOLDER LIST Folder:INBOX 3 Messages INBOX sent-mail saved-messages 101class

    ? Help M Main Menu P PrevFldr - PrevPage D Delete R Rename O OTHER CMDS V [ViewFldr] N NextFldr Spc NextPage A Add

    Figure 5. A Pine Folder List Screen

  2. Use the arrow keys to highlight a folder.

  3. To see an index of the messages in that folder, type V (ViewFldr) or press <Return>.

Note that this method of moving between folders takes you to the Folder List screen, which has a menu of commands that enable you to do such things as add, delete, and rename folders. If you simply want to move to and list the massages in another folder, try the method below.

To move most quickly to the index of another folder:

  1. Type G (Goto Fldr). You are prompted for the name of a folder.

  2. Type the folder name.

    If you forget the name of the folder, press <Control>T (ToFldrs) and select a folder using the commands at the bottom of the screen.

  3. Press <Return>.

    You see the list of messages in the folder.

Deleting a Folder

To delete a folder and all of the messages it contains:

  1. Type L (Folder List).

  2. Use the arrow keys to highlight a folder.

  3. To delete the entire folder of messages, type D (Delete).

    You are asked:

    Really delete "folder"?

  4. Type y (yes) if you want to delete the folder and all of its messages.

    The folder disappears. There is no way to undelete a deleted folder.

Saving a Message

When you save a message, you are given a choice: you can store it in the saved- messages folder, or you can specify another folder.

Once you save a message, the copy in the INBOX folder is automatically marked for deletion so that you will only have one copy. When you quit Pine, you are asked to confirm whether or not you want to expunge the copy from the INBOX folder. To conserve space, it is a good idea to do this.

Saving a Message to the Saved-Messages Folder

To save a message to the saved-messages folder:

  1. At the Index screen, use the arrow keys to [Folder "INBOX" opened with 2 messages] the message you want to save, or, at the Message Text screen as you view a message:

    Type S (Save).

    You are asked if you want to save the message to the saved-messages folder or to another folder:

    SAVE to folder [saved-messages]:

  2. Press <Return> to choose the default folder: ["saved-messages"].

    Pine saves your message, and you see the following:

    [Message "#" copied to folder "saved-messages" and marked deleted]

Saving a Message to a Folder You Specify

You will find it useful to create additional folders for storing messages on particular subjects.

To save a message to a folder you specify:

  1. At the Folder Index screen, use the arrow keys to highlight the message you want to save, or, at the Message Text screen as you view a message:

    Type S (Save) to save a message.

    You are asked if you want to save it to the saved-messages folder or another folder:

    SAVE to folder [saved-messages]:

  2. Type a foldername and press <Return>.

    For example, to save a message to a folder named "papers," type papers and press <Return>.

    If this is the first time you have named this folder, you see the message:

    Folder "papers" doesn't exist. Create?

    Type y or press <Return> to create the folder.

    Once you have created the folder, or whenever you type the name of a folder that already exists, you see a message like this one:

    [Message "#" copied to folder "papers" and marked deleted]

Forwarding a Message

To forward to a message that you have selected at the Folder Index screen or that you are viewing:

  1. Type F (Forward).

    A copy of the message opens and the To: field is highlighted.

  2. Enter the address of your recipient and send the message as usual. Note that you can modify the original message if you wish, for example, to forward only a portion of it or to add a message or notes of your own.

Deleting a Message

You keep your Pine folders clean by routinely deleting messages. There are two steps to deleting a message: marking it for deletion, then expunging it.

To mark for deletion a message you do not want:

  1. Select and open the folder that contains the message you wish to mark for deletion. If you are a Pine beginner, this is probably your INBOX folder. See "Moving Between Folders", if the message you want to mark for deletion is in a folder other than your INBOX.

  2. At the Folder Index screen, select the message you want to mark for deletion, or simply view the message.

  3. Type D (Delete).

    If you are looking at the Folder Index screen when you mark a message for deletion, a "D" appears in the left-hand column of the message line.

    If you are looking at the Message Text screen when you mark a message for deletion, a "DEL appears in the upper right corner of your screen. The next message, if there is one, appears.

Repeat this process to mark additional messages for deletion.

Undeleting a Message

If you change your mind about a message you have marked for deletion, use the U (Undelete) command to remove the deletion mark any time before you expunge a message. After you expunge a message, Pine cannot get it back.

Expunging a Message

A message that is marked for deletion remains in Pine until you expunge it. You can expunge a message that is marked for deletion at any time, or you can wait until you quit Pine. Once you have a few messages marked for deletion, you may want to expunge them before you continue to work, because it is easier to look through a folder index that contains fewer messages.

To expunge a message:

  1. At the Folder Index screen, type X (Expunge).

    You are asked:

    Expunge "#" message(s) from "folder"?

  2. Type y (yes) or press <Return>.

    Messages marked for deletion disappear.

Note that you will be asked whether you want to expunge messages that are marked for deletion when you leave a folder (other than the INBOX) that contains messages marked for deletion, or when you quit your Pine session.

Using the Address Book

As you use email, you build a list of email correspondents. Some of their addresses may be difficult to type or remember. You can use the Pine Address Book to store email addresses for individuals or groups, to create easily remembered "nicknames" for these addresses, and to quickly retrieve an email address when you are composing a message. Here is a sample page from an Address Book:

PINE 3.90 ADDRESS BOOK Folder:INBOX Message 1 of 3

gomez Gonzalez, George mu Li, Mu chris Smith, Christine K. rt Research Team DISTRIBUTION LIST: gomez chris

? Help M MainMenu P PrevEntry - PrevPage D Delete S CreateList O OTHER CMDS E [Edit] N NextEntry Spc NextPage A Add Z AddToList

Figure 6. A Pine Address Book Screen

There are two ways to set up an individual address in your Address Book. You can add an address manually or take it more easily from an incoming message. With either method, you specify nicknames for your correspondents. You can also set up a group (list) address in your Address Book, but only manually.

Adding an Individual Address

To add an individual address manually:

  1. Note the address.

  2. At the Pine Main Menu, type A (Address Book).

  3. Type A (Add).

  4. Follow the instructions. (Press <Control>G if you need help.)
Taking an Individual Address From an Incoming Message

To take an individual address from a message you are viewing or have selected in the index:

  1. Type T (Take Address). The T command is not visible on your screen unless you type O (Other Commands), but you need not see it to use it.

  2. Follow the instructions. (Press <Control>G if you need help.)
Adding a Group (List) Address

If you routinely send messages to a group, you can create a list address. That