August 2007 Technical Tip TSO/ISPF: Using the START command for more than two screens

Most TSO/ISPF users are familiar with the use of the SPLIT (F2) and SWAP (F9) commands. But with the SPLIT command you are limited to two logical screens, and sometimes you want more than two. For example, a programmer may find it useful to have an edit session open for their source code, another edit session open for the compile JCL, another edit session open for the execution JCL, and finally an SDSF (or ISPF, Flasher or WSF2) session open to view compilation and execution results. But how do you get four logical screens at one time? This is accomplished by using the START command instead of the SPLIT command, and using SWAP NEXT or SWAP LIST command instead of the SWAP (alone) command. The START command allows you to pen up to eight sessions at one time. This guided tour will show how this is done.

  • Start at the Primary Option Menu.
  • Type =2 on the Option line and press Enter to go to the Edit Entry Panel.
  • Type START on the command line and press Enter. You'll see a new Primary Option Menu screen.
  • Type =3 and press Enter to go to the Utility Selection Panel.
  • Type START on the Option line and press Enter. You'll see a new Primary Option Menu screen.
  • Type =6 and press Enter to go to the ISPF Command Shell.
  • Type SWAP NEXT on the command line and press Enter. You'll see the Edit Entry Panel.
  • Type SWAP NEXT on the command line and press Enter. You'll see the Utility Selection Panel.
  • Type SWAP NEXT on the Option line and press Enter. You'll see the ISPF Command Shell.
  • Type SWAP NEXT on the command line and press Enter. You'll see the Edit Entry Panel.
  • Type SWAP PREV on the command line and press Enter. You'll see the ISPF Command Shell.
  • Type SWAP LIST on the command line and press Enter. You'll see the ISPF Task List.
  • Position the cursor next to UTIL and press Enter. You'll see the Utility Selection Panel.
  • Type =X on the command line and press Enter. You'll see the ISPF Command Shell.
  • Type =X on the command line and press Enter. You'll see the Edit Entry Panel.
  • Press F3. You'll see the Primary Option Menu.
  • You are back where you started.

If you like the idea of many sessions, you might want to use the KEYS command to reprogram the F2 function key from SPLIT to START and the F9 function key from SWAP to SWAP NEXT (or SWAP LIST, your preference.)

We are pleased to report that the mainframe is alive and well. If you are in need of training on any mainframe topic including TSO/ISPF, JCL, COBOL, PL/I, Assembler, CLIST, Dialog Manager, CICS, VSAM, DB2 or IMS, we hope you will consider Caliber Data Training when deciding upon a training provider.


Go to the articles index. Written by Bill Qualls. Copyright © 2007 by Caliber Data Training 800.938.1222