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2.1: Starting

In order to start ne, just type `ne' and press RETURN. If you want to edit some specific file(s), you can put their name(s) on the command line just after the command name, as for any UN*X command. Immediately (hopefully), the screen of your terminal will be cleared (or filled with the contents of the first file you specified).

At the bottom of the screen, you will see a line containing some numbers and letters. It is named the status bar, because it reports to you part of the internal state of the editor.

Writing text is pretty straightforward: if you terminal is properly configured, every key will (should) do what you expect. Alphabetic characters insert text, cursor keys move the cursor, and so on. You can use the DELETE and BACKSPACE key in order to perform corrections. If your keyboard has an INSERT key, you can use it in order to toggle insert mode. In general, ne tries to squeeze everything from your keyboard---functions keys and special movement keys should work flawlessly if your terminal is properly configured. If not, complain with your system administrator.

At startup, the status bar has the following form:

L:     1  C:     1  i      pvu t

last item). You probably already guessed that the numbers after `L:' and `C:' are the line and column numbers, respectively. The small letters represent instead user flags that you can turn on and off. In particular, the `i' letter tells you that insert mode is on, while `p' indicates that the automatic preferences system is activated. For a thorough explanation of the meaning of the flags on the status line, see The Status Bar.

Once you are accustomed to cursor movement and line editing, it is time to press the F1 (the first function key), or in case your keyboard does not have such a key, ESCAPE. Immediately, the menu bar will appear, and the first menu will be drawn. You can now move around menus and menu items by pressing the cursor keys. Moreover, a lower case alphabetic key will move to the first item whose name starts with that letter, and an upper case alphabetic key will move to the first menu whose name starts with that letter.

Moving around the menus should give you an idea of the capabilities of ne. If you want to save your work, you should use the `Save As...' item from the `Project' menu. Menus are fully discussed in Menus. When you want to exit from the menu system, press F1 (or ESCAPE) again. If you instead prefer to choose a command and execute it, move over the respective menu item and press RETURN.

At the end of several menu items you will find strange symbols like ^A or F1. They represent shortcuts for the respective menu items. In other words, instead of activating, selecting and executing a menu item, which can take seconds, you can simply press a couple of keys. The symbol `^' in front of a character denotes the shortcut produced by the CONTROL key plus that character (I suppose here you are perfectly aware of the usage of the CONTROL key: it is just as if you had to type a capital letter with SHIFT). The descriptions of the form Fn represent instead function keys. Note that under certain conditions (for instance, while using ne through a telnet connection) some of the shortcuts could not work, because they are trapped by the operating system for other purposes (see Hints and Tricks).

Finally, we have the third and last interface to ne's features: the command line. If you press CONTROL-K, or ESCAPE followed by `:' (a la vi), you will be requested some command to execute. Just press RETURN for the time being.

In what follows, when explaining how to use a command, we will usually describe the corresponding menu item. The related shortcut and command can be found, respectively, on the menu item itself, and in Menus.

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