Section V - Creating and Sending Messages (and Replies)

Sending a Message: The COMPOSE MESSAGE Screen

When you compose an outgoing message, you will see the following screen:


The COMPOSE MESSAGE screen consists of the following fields:

Your cursor will appear at the first position of the To: field. Enter the address to which you want to send the mail. Here are a few conventions for specifying addresses:

If the person to whom you are sending the message has an account on Helix, you can just enter the recipient's login name. Pine will look through the system and try to add the person's real name.

If the person has been entered into your address book, you can just type in the appropriate nickname. See Section VII - Keeping an Address Book for more information.

If the recipient does not have a Helix account and is not in your address book, you will need to enter a full address, e.g. an Internet address of the form
If you want to specify more than one recipient, separate the addresses with commas (i.e. To:, If you have an address book, you can enter a person's nickname here too. See Section VII - Keeping an Address Book for more information.
The Cc: field is the "Carbon Copy" field. Enter addresses for any people you want to receive the message, who aren't direct recipients. (The most common usage is to Cc oneself.) For multiple recipients, use the same type of comma separated list as in the To: field.
The Attachments field is where you would specify the names of files you want to include with your message. (You will have to place these files on Helix first.)
Enter a short, one line description of your message.
-- Message Text ---
Enter the text of your message below this line.

There are several commands with which you will want to become familiar in the MESSAGE TEXT screen:

Arrow Keys
You can use the arrow keys to navigate. Alternative keypresses are listed in Pine's on-line help.
Control-E (^E, in Pine notation)
Moves your cursor to the end of the line.
Control-A (^A)
Moves your cursor to the beginning of the line.
Control-K (^K)
Kills (cuts) the line of text in which your cursor is situated. The text can be retrieved using ^U.
Control-^ (Control-Shift-6)
Starts marking (selecting) text. You can then use the arrow keys to move elsewhere in the text, followed by ^K to kill the selected text. NOTE: Depending on how you are connected to Helix, doubling of the Ctrl-^ keypress may be required. Helix dialin users, for instance, will need to double their Ctrl-^ keypresses.
Control-U (^U)
Unkills (pastes) the most recently killed text (a killed line or a text region that you marked and then killed).
Control-X (^X)
Sends the message you have composed.
Control-C (^C)
Cancels the current message.
Control-O (^O)
Postpones the message until a later time. The next time you compose a message, Pine will ask if you want to resume the postponed message. If you don't, fear not; you can keep writing other messages.
Control-G (^G)
The "Get Help" command. Pine will give you help on sending messages.

Replying to a Message: How Is That Different?

Many times you will want to respond to a piece of mail that someone has sent to you. Pine has a Reply command which allows you to reply to the author of the message (and anyone else too). You can invoke the Reply command from either the FOLDER INDEX screen or the MESSAGE TEXT screen. When you reply to a message, one or more questions will appear in the Information Line of your screen depending on the nature of the message. The first is

Include original message in Reply?

with a Key Menu of three responses:

^C Cancel    Y Yes   N [No] 

Pine is asking if you want to include the original message in the reply. Often it's a good idea to include the text, to ensure a context for your reply.

The command that appears inside the brackets "[No]" is the default command. If you just press the Return key, you will select what is inside the brackets.

Your COMPOSE MESSAGE REPLY Screen will have the original author's name on the To: line. If you chose to include the text, the original text will have a ">" ahead of each line. This is to indicate that text is being quoted from another source. For example, consider the following:


It is a good idea (as well as general Network Etiquette) only to include relevant portions of the original text. In the above example, you should remove the line "> John." because the person's name is irrelevant to the reply and the first three lines alone are sufficient to give John the context of your comments.

A second question will appear if the original message was sent to multiple recipients or a group:

Reply to all recipients?

Pine is asking if you want everyone who received the original message to receive your response as well. For example, if sent a message to, and you wanted to respond only to altitude, then you would not reply to all the recipients.

Another question will appear prior to the second if the original message contains a Reply-To: address that is different from the sender's own address.

Use "Reply to:" address instead of "From:" address?

This often occurs in the context of a mailing list, where the Reply-To: address may be the entire mailing list. Select whichever response to the question best suits your intent. If it appears you made the wrong choice, immediately press Ctrl-C (Cancel) followed by R to start a new reply.

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