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This chapter is from the book

1.5 Getting Help

At this point, we would like to write that you are completely comfortable with the mainframe's user interface and that you know how to do everything you might need to learn RACF. However, that would be a bold-faced lie. We could have filled the entire book with directions on how to use the mainframe and still not included everything you might need.

Instead, this section teaches you how to get help when you need it.

1.5.1 Context-Sensitive Help

The mainframe itself has a lot of documentation for your use. TSO

To get help on a TSO command, type HELP <name of command>. For example, Figure 1.24 shows the help text for the ISPF command. The prompt at the bottom (***) shows that more information is available if you press Enter.

Figure 1.24

Figure 1.24 Output of the TSO HELP command

This help file shows that you can run ISPF with an option to immediately reach whatever panel you need. Use this to get to the ISPF data set utility panel, which is option 3 from the main menu followed by option 2 from the Utilities menu.


Inside ISPF, you can press F1 for context-sensitive help. For example, Figure 1.25 shows the context-sensitive help for the data set utilities panel. Inside the help panel, you can press Enter to advance to the next screen, or choose an option from the menu (if available). To get back to the panel, press F3.

Figure 1.25

Figure 1.25 ISPF context-sensitive help for the data set utilities panel OMVS

In OMVS, you can press F1 to get help about the shell itself. To get help for a specific command, use man <name of command>, as you would in any other version of UNIX.

1.5.2 The Manuals

IBM makes the manuals for z/OS available at http://publibz.boulder.ibm.com/bookmgr_OS390/libraryserver. Select your z/OS version and you will see a list of manuals, as shown in Figure 1.26.

Figure 1.26

Figure 1.26 List of manuals for z/OS 1.6

For example, Figure 1.27 shows part of z/OS 1R5.0-1R6.0 TSO/E User's Guide, Topic, "Issuing the LOGON Command." This manual, similar to most manuals we will use in this book, is available under z/OS Elements and Features—z/OS Collection Kit (the top subdirectory in the list of manuals).

Figure 1.27

Figure 1.27 Example of a topic in a z/OS manual

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