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Using Pine for E-mail

Using Pine for E-mail

What Is Pine?

Pine is a program that many people use to check their e-mail at UVM. Unlike many other e-mail programs, Pine runs on our main server, zoo.uvm.edu. To run Pine, you need to connect to Zoo with an SSH (or telnet) program and log in using your Network ID (zoo.uvm.edu username) and password. If you just came to UVM and haven't done so already, you need to first activate your Network ID. Note: For security reasons, Telnet access is being phased out - soon, we will all be required to use SSH. SSH software is available Software Archive. For more information about using SSH, contact the CIT Helpline at 656-2604.

Should I use Pine?

Pine may or may not be the right program for you. Some advantages of Pine are:
  • You can connect very quickly, even over a modem or slow network connection
  • it leaves no trace of your personal data on the computer you are using
  • all saved e-mail is automatically backed up nightly
  • all e-mail is password protected on a secure server, not on your PC
  • The interface is quicker to use for people who are keyboard oriented (doesn't use a mouse)
  • it interoperates well with other IMAP based e-mail clients, such as WebMail
  • it has sophisticated filtering options for sorting and searching saved messages
  • it is impossible to inadvertently get a virus from Pine
  • it requires no special software or configuration changes to your computer
  • You can check your mail from anywhere (home, vacation, the library, etc.) and view all saved messages and address book entries just as if you were on campus
Some disadvantages of Pine are:
  • Using e-mail attachments requires extra steps compared to other programs
  • It seems less friendly - the display is text-based, with no mouse-driven menus
  • You must be connected to the server - you can't compose and reply to messages "off-line"
  • When connecting from very far away, network lag time can make typing slow
  • You can't click on embedded hyperlinks or see embedded images without extra steps (messages containing color, font information or HTML will not look like the sender intended them to, though they are usually quite readable)
Other e-mail programs that are supported at UVM include WebMail, Netscape Messenger, Qualcomm's Eudora, Outlook Express for Windows and AppleMail for Mac OSX users. More information on using these programs at UVM is available on our All About E-Mail page. If these programs are used in IMAP mode, they may all be used interchangably (you do not need to commit to using only one program).

Using Pine

This document describes how to use Pine on zoo.uvm.edu to:

Composing and sending a message

After logging in to zoo.uvm.edu and specifying your terminal type (usually VT100), type "pine" at the prompt. The very first time you use Pine it will ask you if it may set up sub-directories to store your mail. Press y to answer yes to the questions. Next you will see the Pine menu. It includes the following options:
     ?  Help              - Get help using Pine
      C  Compose           - 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 mail program
 
The bottom of each screen in Pine will show you keystrokes for the various options. For example, if we want to more information about this screen we could type a question mark (?) for "Help."

Press c for Compose. Throughout Pine you may type upper or lower case letters for commands. Pine will open a new message, place the cursor after the "To:" and provide a new assortment of commands at the bottom of the screen. These commands are slightly different from the commands on the previous screen. Notice that each command letter is preceded by a "^" mark. This means that you need to hold down the CTRL key, then press the letter. For example, to get Help on this screen you would hold down the CTRL key, then press G. We abbreviate these commands by saying CTRL- G.

To send a note to someone you must first enter their e-mail address. E- mail addresses consist of a user name, followed by an "@" sign, followed by a location. If you do not know the e-mail address of the person to whom you wish to send a note, ask them. Some examples of what e-mail addresses look like are:

     mkapoodl@uvm.edu
      john.smith@uvm.edu
      kjones@zoo.uvm.edu@zoo.uvm.edu
      143567.45678@compuserve.com
 
If you are composing a message to someone who has a zoo.uvm.edu account, you can enter part of their name into the To: field, and our LDAP database will be searched for people who have the name you typed in. For instance, if you didn't know Myron's last name, but you know it started with a "K", you could type "myron k" into the To: field. All entries on UVM's database where "myron" appeared in the name, and one part of the name started with the letter "K" would appear in a list. You could then scroll up and down in the list with your arrow keys. If the entry you are looking for exists and has an e-mail address associated with it, you can highlight it and press enter. The address will be added to your To: field just like that. Try to be as specific as possible. If you type a common name such "smith" or "jennifer", you will only see the first 100 entries. If you enter a name that doesn't exist in the database, the suffix @zoo.uvm.edu will be added. This means that the account does not exist. Erase the entry and try again.

After typing the address, press the Return key. The cursor will move to the "cc" line. You may use this line to send a "carbon copy" of your message to someone else. Type in the e-mail address and press the Return key. You may also send a message to several people at once by typing in each mail address separated by a comma. Once you have filled in the "To:" and "cc:" sections, press the Return key twice to move to the "Subject:" line. Type in a short line describing the subject of this message. For example, you could say "Greetings from a New Pine User".

Press the Return key again to move into the "Message Text" area. Now type your message. Pine does not have a robust editor, so you may find that typing messages is not as easy as in a regular word processor. Basically, you can use the "Backspace" key to back-up and erase text that you have mistyped. You can use the arrow keys to move around your text, you can delete a letter by pressing CTRL-D, and you can delete an entire line by pressing CTRL-K. Some other options are:

     ^C - cancel the message
      ^J - realign the paragraph (justify)
      ^Y - move to a previous page
      ^V - move to the next page
      ^U - undelete a line that was deleted with ^K
      ^O - postpone this message and finish it at some other time.
      ^T - check the spelling in your message
 
Once you have typed your message, you can check the spelling by pressing CTRL-T (hold down the CTRL key, press t). Pine will go through your document and look for words that are not in its internal dictionary. Like all spell checkers, it will stop when it sees a word it does not recognize. This means it will also stop for words like proper names. When it finds an unfamiliar word, it will stop and display a message at the bottom of the screen asking you to edit the replacement. You may either edit the word and press the Return key or, if you know the word is spelled correctly, just press the Return key. You may cancel spell checking at any time by pressing CTRL-C (^C). Be aware that, like all spell checkers, Pine will only stop for words that are not in its dictionary. This means that it will not pick up words that are used incorrectly. For example, Pine's spell checker would see nothing wrong with this sentence: Their as know fry launch (instead of: There is no free lunch). All the words are recognizable to the spell checker!

Now send the message. Press CTRL-X (^X) to send. Pine will prompt at the bottom of the screen "Send message? (y/n) [y]:" Whenever Pine asks a question like this you have three options. You can press "y" for yes, "n" for no, or you can press the Return key. If you press the Return key you will tell Pine to choose the letter in square brackets. In this case the "y" for Yes is in square brackets, so pressing the Return key is the same as pressing "y" for yes. Press Y for Yes. Your message will now be sent to everyone in the "To:" or "cc" area. If you mistyped an address, or if, for some reason, the mailer can't find the person to whom you sent the message, Pine will return the message with an explanation of what went wrong. Once the message has been sent you will be returned to the menu you were previously in.

Reading your mail

To read messages that have been sent to you, press I at the Main Menu. You will now see a list of any mail messages that are in your Inbox. The most recent unread message will be highlighted. (If there is an "N" before the message it means that it has not yet been read.) The messages are sorted in incoming order. Each message is numbered and dated. You will also see who sent the message, how large the message is, and what the subject is. There is another set of commands at the bottom of the screen. To read a message, use the arrow keys to highlight the message that you want to read and press the Return key or v for View. The message will now be displayed on your screen. If the message is longer than one screen, press the to move to the next screen. To go back a screen press the hyphen key (-). After you have read the message you have several options. You may press:
     M     - to return to the Main Menu
      I     - to return to the Index or list of messages
      P     - to read a previous message
      N     - to go directly to the next message
      F     - forward this message to another person
      R     - reply to the sender of this message
      D     - delete this message
      S     - save this message in a special folder
 
You can also press the letter o which will give you even more options, but for now let's press r to reply to the sender of this message. Depending on where your message came from, Pine may give the following prompt:
     Use "Reply to:" address instead of "From:"address (y/n) [y]:
 
Look at the address area at the top of the message. Sometimes the messages you receive will have originally been sent to someone else and then forwarded to you. The "From" address is who originally sent the message. The "Reply to:" address is who sent the message on to you. If you choose "y" for yes, your message will go to whoever is listed in the "Reply to:" area. If you choose "n" for no, your message will go to whoever is listed in the "From:" area. Now Pine will prompt:
     Reply to all recipients (y/n) [y]:
 
If you press y for yes, Pine will send your message directly to everyone listed in the Reply to: and From: areas.

Lastly, Pine will ask if you would like to include the original message in your reply. If you say yes the message will appear on the next screen where you will type your reply. If you say no the message will not be included. (Don't worry. If you say yes and then decide you do not want to include the original message, you can delete each line of the original message using CTRL-K.)

Press n for no. You will now see a screen that looks just like the "Compose" screen, with the exception that the "To:" and "Subject:" lines are already filled in. You may add names to the "cc" area if you wish, or you may simply type your message. When you are ready to send the message, press CTRL-X (^X). You will be asked if you want to send the message. Press y for yes.

Forwarding messages

You can send a message that you have received on to someone else using the Forward command. While the original message is still on your screen, press f. The message will be placed on a new screen with a header. Fill out the header (To:, cc:) as you would if you were sending a new message. The Subject line has already been filled in for you using the Subject line from the original message. You may type in a brief message to go along with the forwarded message. Then press CTRL-X (^x) to send the message.

Deleting messages

You may delete a message by pressing d for "delete". Or, if you would like to keep the message you may just press "n" to go on to the next message. When you have finished reading all your messages, Pine will display the note: [no more messages] You may press i to return to the list of messages, or m to return to the Main Menu.

If you chose to delete some messages, they will now appear on the Index preceded by the letter "D". They have not yet been deleted, only marked for deletion. If you decide you would rather not delete them, you may move the highlight bar to that message and press u for "undelete." If you are sure you would like to delete them, press x for "expunge." Expunge will wipe out all messages that have been marked for deletion, so be sure to check before pressing this command. (By the way, both the "d" and "x" commands appear on the screen reached by pressing "o" for Other Commands. However, you do not have to be on that screen for these commands to work. Most commands work on any screen, not just on the screen where those commands are listed.)

Using Folders

Return to the Main Menu by pressing m. Now choose L for Folder List. You will have at least three mail folders: "inbox", "sent-mail", and "saved messages". Inbox is the folder that normally appears when you view your new mail. However, you can also look at messages that you have sent. Use the arrow keys to move the highlighter to the "sent-mail" folder and press "o" or the Return key to open it. You will now see a list of all the messages you have sent. You can read, forward, reply to, delete, or save them in another folder, just like messages that are sent to you.

Another folder will be created for you as soon as you leave Pine. This is the "Received-Mail" folder. Each time you leave Pine, all the messages that are in your Inbox are automatically moved to this folder. To read these messages, simply press L at the Main Menu, and use the arrow keys to move the highlighter to the received-mail folder. Then press the Return key. You may read, forward, reply to, or delete these messages just as if they were in your Inbox.

To help you organize your e-mail, you may save messages in their own folders in Pine. In the Index, highlight the message to be saved and press s, or if you already reading the message, just press s. Pine will ask if you wish to save the message in the "saved messages" folder. You may press y for yes, or you may create a folder with a different name by pressing n for no. If you press n for No, Pine will ask for a new folder name. Type in any name you choose. If a folder by that name does not already exist, Pine will ask if it should create it. Press y for yes and the folder will be created. You can see it by going to Folder List. Messages saved in these folders can be treated like any other messages in Pine.

Address Books

Address books allow you to do two things: 1) you can create a "nickname" for someone so that you don't have to type their entire e-mail address each time you wish to send them a note, and 2) you can create a "distribution list" that contains several addresses.

Let's start with a nickname. From the Main Menu, press a to go to the Address Book. Now press a to add a new nickname. You will be asked to type in the person's full name, last name first, then press the Return key. Next you will be asked to type in a nickname. It can be the first name or any name or short word that you choose. Type it in, then press the Return key. Next you will be prompted to type in the e-mail address. Type in the full address (including the username and the @ symbol, just as you would if you were sending a message to this person). This person will now be added to your address book. The next time you send them a message you can simply type their nickname in the "To:" area, instead of their full e-mail name and address. Pine will automatically go to the address book, find their address, and convert the nickname to the proper e-mail address.

Now let's create a distribution list. Press s for CreateList to create the list. You will first be asked for a descriptive name for the list. Type the name and press the Return key. Next you will be asked for a short name for the list. Type the name and press the Return key. Now you will be asked for the first address. Type each address, pressing the Return key after each one. Press the Return key twice to tell Pine that you are finished. Your new distribution list will be added to the address book. The next time you wish to send a message to everyone on that list you can just type the short name in the "To:" area. Pine will automatically insert all of the names included in that distribution list.

If you wish to add more names to a h2>Address Books Address books allow you to do two things: 1) you can create a "nickname" for someone so that you don't have to type their entire e-mail address each time you wish to send them a note, and 2) you can create a "distribution list" that contains several addresses.

Let's start with a nickname. From the Main Menu, press a to go to the Address Book. Now press a to add a new nickname. You will be asked to type in the person's full name, last name first, then press the Return key. Next you will be asked to type in a nickname. It can be the first name or any name or short word that you choose. Type it in, then press the Return key. Next you will be prompted to type in the e-mail address. Type in the full address (including the username and the @ symbol, just as you would if you were sending a message to this person). This person will now be added to your address book. The next time you send them a message you can simply type their nickname in the "To:" area, instead of their full e-mail name and address. Pine will automatically go to the address book, find their address, and convert the nickname to the proper e-mail address.

Now let's create a distribution list. Press s for CreateList to create the list. You will first be asked for a descriptive name for the list. Type the name and press the Return key. Next you will be asked for a short name for the list. Type the name and press the Return key. Now you will be asked for the first address. Type each address, pressing the Return key after each one. Press the Return key twice to tell Pine that you are finished. Your new distribution list will be added to the address book. The next time you wish to send a message to everyone on that list you can just type the short name in the "To:" area. Pine will automatically insert all of the names included in that distribution list.

If you wish to add more names to a distribution list that you have already created, highlight that distribution list and press t for Addtolist. You will be prompted to enter the address. You may also delete or edit names on the list.

Quitting Pine

If you are in the middle of an operation (like composing a message or adding names to a notebook) you can stop by pressing CTRL-C (^C). To leave Pine altogether, return to the Main Menu by pressing m on any screen. At the Main Menu, press q to Quit. Pine will ask if you wish to Quit. It will then ask if you would like your inbox messages moved to the received-mail folder. Lastly it will ask to expunge any messages marked for deletion. Answer y for yes to all questions.

You will be returned to the Zoo prompt.

Getting Help

You can find out more about Pine's features while you are in Pine. Press ? to get Help. (In some areas you will need to press ^G instead of ?. Check the menu at the bottom of the screen.)

If Pine's built-in Help can't answer your questions, contact the HelpLine by sending e-mail to helpline@uvm.edu or calling 656-2604.

Alternatively, extensive information and help is available from the University of Washington's Pine Information Center.


Author: Jessica Dion (originally Janet Cottrell)
Computing and Information Technology, http://www.uvm.edu/cit/
Copyright 2001 The University of Vermont

Last modified March 19 2003 06:47 PM

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