Note: InfoExplorer is no longer shipped with the base operating system. Documentation is now viewed using the Documenation Library Service. This section is included for legacy users who are still using InfoExplorer from a previous release.
The InfoExplorer program is a powerful text retrieval tool with several information navigation aids to help you find and manage information. Learning just a few of these aids, however, is all you need to begin using it. Use the basic procedures that you learn in this section to explore in the InfoExplorer information base where you will find useful information.
Follow the tutorial step-by-step using the Page Up and Page Down keys on the keyboard, or link to individual procedures.
In this article you learn about:
To start the InfoExplorer program, type info at an operating system command prompt and press the Enter key.
Note: If you want to start InfoExplorer ASCII within a window, type info -a at an operating system prompt, and press the Enter key.
Either the "Welcome to the InfoExplorer ASCII Interface" article or the Navigation Screen displays in the reading screen. The welcome screen explains how to do basic screen operations and how to access InfoExplorer Help, copyrights, and trademarks.
Two primary screen types exist in the InfoExplorer program: the Navigation Screen, and the Reading Screen.
The navigation screen is the starting point for finding documentation about
the operating system and other programs available on your workstation and
contains information designed to assist you in finding the desired
documentation. Information is organized by topic and task, by book, or
alphabetically by commands or programming reference item. The primary
navigation routes display in the navigation screen:
|Topic & Task Index
|Displays information by task. It is the default navigation article.
|Displays an alphabetical list of available commands.
|Displays articles in book order.
|Displays lists of programming functions in alphabetical order by functional categories.
Note: The navigation information in this section applies to the InfoExplorer program. The navigation information might or might not apply to other libraries.
The first line of the screen contains the menu bar, and the second line displays a reverse-video title bar. The title of the screen displays at the right end of the title bar. This title bar also separates the menu options from the article text.
While you are viewing the InfoExplorer program through the ASCII interface, only one navigation screen is available at a time. Each time you select a link to another navigation article, the contents of the article you select replace the contents of the original article. For example, if you are viewing the Topic &Task Index and decide to view Commands, a list of commands replaces the Topic & Task index in the navigation screen.
The reading screen contains procedural, conceptual, and reference information. Procedural information explains how to accomplish a task, conceptual information discusses various topics, and reference information provides you with information about commands, subroutines, and so on.
As in the navigation screen, the first line of the screen displays the menu options, and the second line displays a reverse-video title bar. "Info Document" displays at the right end of the title bar. This title bar also separates the menu options from the article text.
While you are viewing the InfoExplorer program through the ASCII interface, only one reading screen is available at a time. Each time you select a link to another article, the contents of the article you select replace the contents of the original article. For example, if you are viewing the "Starting the InfoExplorer Program (ASCII Interface)" article and decide to view the info command article, the info command article replaces the "Starting the InfoExplorer Program (ASCII Interface)" article in the reading screen.
To display the navigation screen from the reading screen (or to go back to a current reading screen from the navigation screen), press and hold the Control key (Ctrl) and press the w key (Ctrl-w). The Ctrl-w key sequence toggles between the navigation screen and the reading screen. You can also move between the screens using menu options available on the menu bar.
Before you continue, toggle back and forth a few times between the navigation and reading screens. Note the differences between them.
Some additional screen types are search, glossary, file, and utility. To find out more about the various screen types, see the online InfoExplorer article To Access Help on a Specific Screen.
Suppose you need information about how to print a file on a line printer. You could start the search with a primary navigation route such as the List of Tasks. From the List of Tasks, you can follow hypertext links until you reach the screen containing the information you want.
A hypertext link is a connection between one piece of information and another. These links display as underlined text. When you move to a link, the link changes to reverse video. To display the target or connected piece of information, press the Enter key.
The Welcome screen displays five links. They appear as a list of five underlined items.
To move to the next hypertext link, press either the Tab key or the Ctrl-f key sequence. If the next link is not currently visible on the screen, the screen is updated to show the link. To move back to the previous link, press the Ctrl-b key sequence.
To select a hypertext link, follow these steps:
Practice moving the cursor from one link to another with the Ctrl-f and Ctrl-b key sequences. Before you continue with the next section, try selecting one of the links in the Welcome screen. Remember that you can return to the primary navigation screen by pressing the Ctrl-w key sequence.
Note: To avoid losing this screen, do not select any links in this article.
You cannot display artwork on an ASCII terminal. When a link to a piece of artwork is selected, a pop-up panel displays with a message that the artwork cannot be displayed. The message prompts you to press a key to continue. For example, command articles contain syntax diagrams that can only be viewed on a graphics display. However, you can view the brackets-and-braces version of the syntax on an ASCII terminal.
You can move forward and backward through text displayed in either the navigation screen or in the reading screen by using keys and key sequences that have been defined for this purpose. For more information, see "Using Special Keys and Key Sequences".
Before you continue, try moving up and down through the text on the terminal screen.
Each InfoExplorer screen contains a menu bar that is located across the top of the screen. The menu bars contain many of the menus that you need to use InfoExplorer features. For example, the Display menu allows you to choose the navigation document you want to display in the navigation screen and the Help menu provides you with help on using the InfoExplorer program.
To select a menu option, do the following:
After you display a menu, you might want to remove it without selecting an option. To do this, press the Ctrl-O key sequence. The cursor returns to the screen.
To select an option in a pop-up panel, do the following:
After you display a pop-up panel, you might want to remove it without selecting an option. To do this, press the Ctrl-O key sequence and select Quit in the menu bar.
Before you continue with the next section, practice using menus. Try displaying the Path menu and selecting the Show List option. A pop-up panel displays the Path list. To close the pop-up panel, select Quit in the menu bar.
Note: To avoid losing this article, do not select a location from the Path list.
During the InfoExplorer session, the InfoExplorer program keeps two different records of where you have previously been: the History List and the Path List. These lists enable you to return to previous locations in the information base.
The History List records every location that you have been in the information base. To view the History List, display the .History menu and select the List All option. To learn how to use the History List, go to the Help menu and select the List of Helps from the pull-down menu. Finding Information in InfoExplorer in the List of Helps provides information about the History function.
The Path List keeps track of your navigation route starting with a primary navigation article (Topic & Task Index, Books, Commands, or Programming Reference). Every time you return to a primary navigation screen, your previous path list is overwritten.
The Path menu contains three options: Show List, Previous, and Next. Use the Show List option to display the Path List. Use the Previous and Next options to jump to the previous or next location without displaying the Path List.
To return to a previous location in the InfoExplorer program, do the following:
Before you continue, try following the path up and down using the Next and Previous options. Remember, if you follow the path back to a primary navigation article (such as the Task Index), your path list is wiped out and you are unable to follow a path down until you start a new path. If you want to return to a location that is not in the current path, use the History function.
Note: To avoid losing this screen, do not use the Path function from this screen.
The early part of this chapter described how to find information using primary navigation routes. But what if you do not know what the task or command is or in which book the information might be? You can search on virtually every word in the InfoExplorer information base. Using the InfoExplorer search facility, you can look for information by word or phrase.
Two types of searches are available in the InfoExplorer program: the simple search and the compound search. The simple search allows you to search on a word or string of words (in exact order) in text, article titles, or both. (In the ASCII version of InfoExplorer, the Article Title selection on the Search menu gives you a simple search of article titles.) The compound search allows you to search on a word, set of words, or several sets of words. You can further specify the search with the following options:
You can specify the information bases to be searched for both simple and compound searches. There are two ways to specify an information base selection:
As an example, the following steps take you through a simple search for the qprt command, and then further specify the search with a database selection from the Compound Search menu.
Note: To avoid losing this article, do not attempt to perform a search from this screen. If your system is set up to print, you can print a copy of this article using the info menu by selecting the Print Article option. Use the printed copy to follow the procedure.
To perform a simple search for the qprt command, follow these steps:
Note: If only one article contains the search string, that article displays in a reading screen (no pop-up panels are displayed).
If there are many matches, it can be difficult to find the right information. You might have to read through several articles to find the information you want. Or, you can use a compound search to narrow down the search. To learn about a compound search, use the InfoExplorer List of Helps, which allows you to view step-by-step instructions to commonly used InfoExplorer procedures. From the List of Helps, select Performing a Compound Search.
Another way to narrow the scope of the search even further is to go to the compound search menu and select the database that is most likely to contain the information that you want. There are several databases to choose from depending on your system. For example, if you want to limit your search to information about using and managing, choose the Using, Managing, and Commands database.
To specify a database from the compound search pop-up panel, follow these steps:
When you specify a database selection from the Compound Search menu, the selection is retained until you change it again, or until you quit the InfoExplorer session. This database selection will apply to both simple and compound searches. You can save a database selection for future sessions of InfoExplorer from the Defaults window under the info menu.
You can print the following information from the InfoExplorer ASCII interface:
Note: You must have one or more printers configured for your system.
From an InfoExplorer screen, you can view help information about the functions and options available on the InfoExplorer screen you are viewing or you can search through a list of topics for which help information is provided.
The InfoExplorer program uses many different kinds of screens in addition to the basic navigation and reading screens, such as:
Each screen type serves a different purpose and provides a different function. The Help menu in each screen contains an On Screen option, which displays an article describing the function that is available in the current screen.
To display Help on a specific screen, do the following:
Before you continue with the next section, try looking at the Help articles available for the screens currently open. Use the Path function to return to this screen.
The Help menu provides two help options, the List of Helps and On Screen. On Screen allows you to find out about the current screen. For more information about this option, see "To Access Help on a Specific Screen". The List of Helps option in the Help menu displays a list of InfoExplorer help topics. To use the list of helps, do the following:
The list of helps contains step-by-step procedures for a wide range of tasks. Before you go on to the next section, select an option or two in the list of helps. See what is available, and then try using the helps to learn and practice some new skills.
In the InfoExplorer ASCII Interface, you use special keys and key sequences to move within a screen, select items from a menu, access additional screens, and start processes. Different keys and key sequences are active depending on whether you are working from a text area or a menu bar. For more information on both text areas and menu bars, see "Keys and Key Sequences Used in Text Areas" and "Keys and Key Sequences Used in Menu Bars", respectively.
You can use the following keys and key sequences in text areas:
|Moves between the navigation screen and the reading screen. If the navigation screen is displayed, you can press the Ctrl-W key sequence to display the reading screen. If the reading screen is displayed, you can press the Ctrl-W key sequence to display the navigation screen.
|Ctrl-F or Tab
|Moves to the next hypertext link.
|Moves to the previous hypertext link.
|Enter or Return
|Activates the operation. For example, if you have moved to a hypertext link and press the Enter key, the system follows the link and displays the target information.
|Refreshes the screen.
|Ctrl-N or Page Down
|Scrolls vertically to the next screen.
|Ctrl-P or Page Up
|Scrolls vertically to the previous screen.
|Moves the text cursor one character to the left. If the text can be scrolled horizontally and the text cursor is at the left edge of the screen, the text scrolls one character.
|Moves the text cursor one character to the right. If the text can
be scrolled horizontally and the text cursor is at the right edge of the
screen, the text scrolls one character.
Note: The Left and Right Arrow keys do not function for the InfoExplorer program on WYSE terminals.
|Moves the text cursor up one line. If the text cursor is on the top line of the screen, the text scrolls vertically, one line at a time.
|Moves the text cursor down one line. If the text cursor is on the last line of the screen, the text scrolls vertically, one line at a time.
|Moves the text cursor 20 characters to the left. If the text can be scrolled horizontally, the text scrolls 20 characters to the left.
|Moves the text cursor 20 characters to the right. If the text can be scrolled horizontally, the text scrolls 20 characters to the right.
The following keys and key sequences help you work with items in the menu
|Makes the menu bar active or inactive. If your text cursor is located in the text area of the screen, you can press the Ctrl-O key sequence to make the menu bar active. If the menu bar is already active, you can press the Ctrl-O key sequence to make it inactive, which moves the text cursor to the text area.
|Esc-Esc or Ctrl-O
|Closes a menu bar pull-down menu and places the cursor in the text area.
|Moves to the next menu bar option in the menu bar. If a pull-down
menu is not displayed and you press the Right Arrow key, the next menu bar
option is displayed in reverse video.
In pop-up screen menu bars, moves the cursor from the menu bar into the text area if no menu bar pull-down menus are currently selected.
|Moves to the previous menu bar option. If a pull-down menu is not
displayed and you press the Left Arrow key, the previous menu bar option is
displayed in reverse video.
If a pull-down menu is displayed and you press the Left Arrow key, the previous menu bar option is selected and its pull-down menu is displayed.
|Moves to the next menu bar option. If a pull-down menu is not
displayed and you press the Right Arrow key, the next menu bar option is
displayed in reverse video.
If a pull-down menu is displayed and you press the Right Arrow key, the next menu bar option is selected and its pull-down menu is displayed.
|Displays the pull-down menu for the selected menu bar option or moves the selection to the previous option in a pull-down menu.
|Displays the pull-down menu for the selected menu bar option or moves the selection to the next option in a pull-down menu.
|Enter or Return
|Activates the selected operation. For example, if a menu bar option is displayed in reverse video and you press the Enter key, the pull-down menu is displayed. If a pull-down menu is already displayed and you press the Enter key, the appropriate action is taken on the item shown in reverse video.
In some cases, the menu bar within a pop-up screen contains options that
start or stop a process. The following keys can also be used to move
within a pop-up screen or to cycle through options in the screen:
|Moves to the next field.
|Moves to the previous option in an option ring.
|Moves to the next option in an option ring.
|Cycles through the options in an option ring.
|Selects the previous item in a list.
|Selects the next item in a list.
|Enter or Return
|Activates the selected operation or ends text entry and advances to the next field.
You can request the InfoExplorer program to load an alternate database library by using the -l flag with the info command. For example, if you wish to start the InfoExplorer Library containing C++, FORTRAN and Ada documentation, start that library with the following command:
info -l compiler
To leave the InfoExplorer program from either the navigation screen or the reading screen, do the following: