Full Sail: Power User Tips

Don't Take the Stairs; Use the Elevator!

Have any of these things happened to you?

  1.       You are in the middle of a page of text and you wish to return to the top of the document. You press the "-" key a dozen times and have to wait while the screen is redrawn a dozen times before you know if you have reached the top of the document yet.


  2.       You are editing a file and wish to return to the top of it to proof-read the entire thing. You hit Control-Y a few times and have to wait for another bunch of screen updates.


  3.       You are answering a letter and want to go to the bottem to delete that funny sig block as inappropriate for this letter. After pressing Control-V over and over, you begin to wonder if you will ever reach the bottom of the letter.

          Knowing about some keys and key-combinations may get you where you want to go much more quickly. Here are a few. (Note 1: omit any quotes unless told otherwise. Note 2: you won't be told otherwise.)

"<" and ">"
In lynx, the "<" key will take you to the top of the page you are viewing and the ">" key will take you to the bottom. In the tin newsreader when viewing an article, "<" will take you to the first article in the thread, ">" will take you to the last. There is an exception for lynx which is covered below.

"W" or Ctrl-W plus Ctrl-Y or Ctrl-V
In PINE, to go to the first message in your INBOX, use the search function, "w" (for "whereis") and type Ctrl-Y instead of a search string. "w" plus Ctrl-V will take you to the last message. These are most useful if you have a lot of messages. The same "w" + Ctrl-Y and "w" + Ctrl-V combinations will take you to the top or bottom of a letter you are reading. If you are editing a document while in PINE or in the PICO editor invoked by tin or lynx, use Ctrl-W instead of "w" for the "whereis" command and again "search" for Ctrl-Y to go to the top of a document or Ctrl-V to go to the bottom.

"g" and "G"
While viewing a Usenet article with tin, "g" will take you to the top of the article and "G" will take you to the bottom.

While in the tin newsreader viewing the list of newsgroups or viewing the list of threads in a newsgroup, "$" will take you to the bottom of the list. Another cursor-down or the spacebar will then wrap around to take you to the top again. (A "1" plus the ENTER key will also take you to the first newsgroup or thread but will also enter it.)

          One case when the normal keys fail is when you follow a link to a web page and it starts out with a form with thirty text-entry fields per page for the next six pages. You are left poking the cursor-down key 180 times to get out of the form. You cannot use the top-of-page or bottom-of-page keys, "<" or ">", because they are treated as text to be entered. "-" and spacebar are also ineffective and treated as text.

          If you are lucky and have a terminal emulator that properly emulates a VT100 or VT102 terminal, you can press your number-pad "9" to move up a screen and "3" to move down a screen until you can get off the form or find a non-text-entry field (such as a radio button or menu field) where the "<" and ">" keys will work.

          If your computer lacks a number-pad or your emulator doesn't properly handle the number pad, you may be able to enter the codes yourself. ESC (the Esc key) plus "Oy" (upper-case "O" and lower-case "y") will move up one screen and ESC plus "Os" (upper-case "O" and lower-case "s") will move down one screen. Unfortunately, I have not yet found any code that will move to the top or bottom of a web page that can be used while in a text-entry field of a form.

          Speedy surfing, everybody.


You may direct comments or suggestions about this column to:

Norman L. De Forest,  af380@chebucto.ns.ca


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