Manual (002)


How to use PINE to send and receive e-mails

Prepared by : Rahman Tashakkori, Instructor – SUBR

(Those who have not tried it, think it is too hard, too late, and they may never know how hard, how late, until there is no choice left but to try)

Pine is perhaps the most common Electronic Mail (e-mail) package used on UNIX based machines. This package is used for Composing, Receiving, Sending, and Forwarding e-mails. The goal of this manual is to teach the following essential functions of the Pine; reading e-mails, sending e-mails, replying to e-mails, and forwarding e-amils.

Starting Pine

Pine does not start automatically; to start it, at the system prompt, type: pine

Note: If you get an error regarding your terminal type, try setting your terminal to

vt100. To do this on our SGI systems type : setenv TERM vt100


Pine Main Menu

When you start the program, the Pine Main Menu appears. The Main Menu is shown in Figure (1). As you can see at the bottom of this menu the command options are listed. Please note that " ^ " means the " Ctrl" key of the keyboard.


 Figure (1) – Main Menu of the Pine

You can execute any of the commands in two ways;

1) by pressing the letter listed on the left (You don't need to press ENTER or RETURN.)

2) by highlighting the option and then pressing ENTER

Let’s briefly explain the options on the Main Menu.

Brief Description of Options on the Main Menu of the PINE

? Help You can use this option to get help about a command or something you need more information about. Following is the list of what you will find on the Help option.


o Introduction

o Pine Help

o Local Support Contacts

o Giving Commands in Pine

o Status Line

o Main Menu Commands

o Command Line Options

o Pine Configuration

o Reading News

o Reporting Problems

C Compose Message : This to compose and send e-mail. The Compose Message Windows, Figure (2), have all the instructions at the bottom the screen.

I Index Folder : This is the where the received e-mail will appear. To check your e-mail you need to go to this page.

L Folder List : This to View the existing folders in your directory.

A Address Book : This is where you create an address book which usually contains the e-mails that you use very often.

S Setup : The setup page is to set up the configuration of your e-mail package. You can do the following in the setup;

? Help

P [Printer] (to set up a printer you need to use this option and follow the direction given on the screen and at the bottom of the screen.

C Config

S Signature

^C Cancel

N Newpassword

U Update

Q Quit : This is to quit Pine and get back to the command prompt.


Detailed Description of Options on the Main Menu of the PINE

Compose Message (C) :

To compose a message press C on the Main Menu or highlight the Compose Message option in the Main Menu and press Enter. A windows will open which looks like Figure (2).


Figure (2) – Message Composer Window


The following four (4) fields appear which are explained bellow. The fields marked with Necessary are the ones that must be filled, otherwise you will get an error when you try to send the e-mail.

To: Type the e-mail address of the person you are sending the e-mail for. Please type the complete address (Ex: However, if the person that you send the e-mail for is on the same network as you are, you can just type the login and skip the @ and things that comes after it. You can put more than one e-mail addresses on this line, but remember to separate them with a "," . (Necessary)

Attchmnt : This where you can attach a file to your e-mail. This is usually a file name. That file has been save in your directory and you wish to send along with your e-mail. (Not necessary)

Cc : This stands for Carbon Copy. This option will allow you to put other e-mail(s) to whom you want to send a copy of the e-mail. You can put more than one address in this field but remember to separate them with ",".(No necessary)

Subject : This is the only thing that the receiver of your e-mail sees on the screen when the e-mail gets there. Therefore it is a very good idea to let people know what your e-mail is about. Some people use it to keep or delete an e-mail before wasting time reading the e-mail itself.

The Message Text, is the place you will type your message. There are several things you can do by using the options at the bottom of the screen. To learn all these options one needs to use them as necessary and we avoid explaining them here.

To Send the message after you finish typing it, press and hold Cntrl key and then press x . A message will appear that asks you whether you want to send the message or not. If you answer yes, then the message will be sent and you will be back to the Main Menu. If you answer no, you will stay in the composer. To cancel an e-mail, press and hold Cntrl key then c. Please note that all these commands are listed at the bottom of the screen.


Example : An e-mail to yourself

Let’ assume you want to use Pine to send yourself an e-mail, pat yourself on the shoulder and say "Hey Pal !, Good job so far".

To do this at the command prompt grant% (this could be something else, it depends on the machine you login to) type pine.

Step 1: grant% pine (the Main Menu of Pine will appear)

Step 2: Press C, to get the Message Composer.

Step 3: fill up the fields in the following way;

To : your login (You used this to enter the machine, not the password)

Cc : your login

Attchmnt :

Subject : Hi, My first e-mail

--------Message text -------------

Hay Pall, Good job so far.


Step 4: Hold the Cntrl key down and press x

Step 5: Answer "yes" to the questing regarding the permission to send.

You will be back to the Main Menu after the e-mail was sent. At this point you should be able to send e-mails.

Folder Index (I) :

Folder Index will list the previous e-mails as well as the new once see Figure (3). Following is the list of some of the options you have in the Folder Index.

Move to the end of the list : To go to the end of the list press the Space Bar as many times as it takes you to get to the end. The mails with N are the new mails which were not read yet. You can delete the e-mail by high lighting (just use the up and down arrow to move on it) it and pressing d. After you delete an e-mail letter D will appear on the left of it. To read an e-mail move on that e-mail, and press Enter. Some e-mails have A on the left which stands for Archive. These are the e-mails that were read and a copy is saved in the archive.


Figure (3) – Folder Index of the Pine


You can forward an e-mail to someone else or reply to it from here. In order to do that move the pointer next to the e-mail that you want to forward or reply to. Then press f for forward or r for reply. In the case of forwarding an e-mail, you will be sent to the Compose Message window which was described in the previous session. In the case of replying, the following message will appear on the screen.

Include original message in Reply?

Answer yes only if you would like to include the message that came from the sender in your reply. You will be sent to the Compose Message windows where you have the address of sender already filled in the To : field. The rest of story is the same as previous session.

Sometimes when the sender send the e-mail to more than one person (others people besides you), the following message will appear at the bottom of screen next;

Reply to all recipients?

If you wish to send a copy of your response to everyone in the senders list you answer yes. Usually the answer is no, because you want to reply only to the sender. For instance, suppose director of the Timbuktu Academy send an e-mail to all students in the Academy and asked them to send him their phone numbers. All students will get their e-mail as a group. Students will reply only to the director not to all students who had received the e-mail. Therefore, students will answer no to the above question.

Example : Read the e-mail you just sent to yourself

Let’s read the e-mail that you sent to yourself in previous session. In the Folder Index you should see two e-mails from yourself both with N at the left. One of the e-mails came from the To: and the other one came from Cc: . Can you tell any difference between the two. Anyway, use the arrows and move to anyone of them and press Enter. The e-mail will open. Is that what you sent to yourself. Let’s reply to that e-mail and thank ourselves for such nice complement. This time we are going to reply to the e-mail from the e-mail itself. Press r, and then follow the steps. Up to this session you should be able to read e-mails, send e-mails, and reply to received mails.

Address Book (A) :

Address Book is for making a list of addresses for our e-mails. Besides keeping the addresses with some other information related to e-mails, Address Book allows us to select Nicknames for the e-mail addresses. Thus, we can type the nickname instead of the whole address when we want to send e-mail in the Compose Message. All the instruction on how to add an e-mail address to the Address Book is at the bottom of that page.




Figure (4) – Address Book of the Pine

This is where you can add some e-mails to a data base for later use. To illustrate how we do this let’s just add our e-mail to the book. Follow the following steps;

Step 1 : On the Main Menu select the Address Book by pressing A. the above windows will open.

Step 2: Press A for AddNew (see the bottom of the page), to add a new e-mail address to the book. The fields shown in the next step will appear on the screen.

Step 3: fill the fields;

Nickname : jane (instead of this put the nickname for the person you are adding)

Fullname : Jane Doe (instead of this put the person’s name)

Fcc :

Comment : Undergraduate Students in Physics at –SUBR (properly modify)

Addresses : (instead of this put the e-mail address you wish)

Step 4 : Save this and exit by holding the Cntrl key then press x (see bottom of the page)

You will be returned to the Main Menu, but now you have one e-mail in your Address Book. To view it press A and you will see content of the book. Next time you want to send an e-mail t the person you just added, go to the Message Composer, and for To: field type the Nickname and you will see for yourself that the complete e-mail will appear there.

The topics covered in this manual are the most essential functions of the Pine package. This is enable the beginners to start utilizing these functions. However, this package is capable of performing some other functions which will be discovered by the users as they need them.