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Getting Started

Before you begin to use screen you'll need to make sure you have correctly selected your terminal type, just as you would for any other termcap/terminfo program. (You can do this by using tset, qterm, or just set term=mytermtype, for example.)

If you're impatient and want to get started without doing a lot more reading, you should remember this one command: C-a ? (see section Key Binding). Typing these two characters will display a list of the available screen commands and their bindings. Each keystroke is discussed in the section on keystrokes (see section Default Key Bindings). Another section (see section Customizing Screen) deals with the contents of your `.screenrc'.

If possible, choose a version of your terminal's termcap that has automatic margins turned off. This will ensure an accurate and optimal update of the screen in all circumstances. The next best thing is an auto-margin terminal that allows the last position on the screen to be updated without scrolling the screen (such as a VT100). This also allows the entire screen to be updated. If all you've got is a "true" auto-margin terminal, screen will be content to use it, but updating a character put into the last position on the screen may not be possible until the screen scrolls or the character is moved into a safe position in some other way. This delay can be shortened by using a terminal with insert-character capability.

If your terminal is of the second type (firm-margined `am'), you will want to let screen know about this, since a normal termcap doesn't distinguish this type of automatic margins from a "true" `am' terminal. You do this by specifying the `xn' capability in your termcap (see section Termcap), or by using the `-L' command-line option. screen needs this information to correctly update the screen. You don't need to worry about this if your terminal type starts with `vt', as screen assumes `xn' in that case.

See section Special Terminal Capabilities, for more information about telling screen what kind of terminal you have.

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