HP OpenVMS Systems Documentation

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HP OpenVMS DCL Dictionary

June 2010

This manual provides detailed reference information and examples for HP OpenVMS DCL commands and lexical functions.

Revision/Update Information: This manual supersedes the HP OpenVMS DCL Dictionary, Version 8.2.

Software Version: OpenVMS Version 8.4 for Integrity servers
OpenVMS Alpha Version 8.4

Hewlett-Packard Company
Palo Alto, California

© Copyright 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P.

Confidential computer software. Valid license from HP required for possession, use or copying. Consistent with FAR 12.211 and 12.212, Commercial Computer Software, Computer Software Documentation, and Technical Data for Commercial Items are licensed to the U.S. Government under vendor's standard commercial license.

The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.

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Printed in the US


The HP OpenVMS documentation set is available on CD-ROM.

Contents Index


Intended Audience

This manual is intended for all users of the HP OpenVMS operating system. It includes descriptions of all DIGITAL Command Language (DCL) commands and lexical functions. If a command has any restrictions or requires special privileges, they are noted in reference information for that command.

Readers of this manual should be familiar with the material covered in the OpenVMS User's Manual.

Document Structure

This manual contains detailed descriptions of each command and lexical function. The commands are listed in alphabetical order, with the command name appearing at the top of every page. The lexical functions are grouped under the heading Lexical Functions (after the JOB command description) and are listed alphabetically within that grouping; the lexical function name appears at the top of each page.

The hardcopy version of the HP OpenVMS DCL Dictionary is a two-part manual. The first volume contains commands beginning with the letters A to M (including the lexical functions); the second volume contains commands beginning with the letters N to Z.

Appendix A of this manual (in the second volume of the hardcopy manual) lists the obsolete DCL commands and the current services that replace them.

The commands that invoke language compilers and other OpenVMS optional software products are not included in this manual; they are included in the documentation provided with those products.

Related Documents

For an introduction to the OpenVMS operating system and for information on using DCL, see the OpenVMS User's Manual. This manual is especially recommended for novice users or users lacking experience with interactive computer systems.

The OpenVMS User's Manual provides an overview of DCL command language concepts and defines and illustrates good practices in constructing command procedures with DCL commands and lexical functions.

See the various utilities reference manuals for detailed information about utilities. These manuals describe the DCL commands that invoke the various utilities, describe any commands that you can enter while running a utility, and provide reference information. The HP OpenVMS DCL Dictionary provides only a brief description and format information for each utility.

For message descriptions, use the online Help Message utility.

For additional information about HP OpenVMS products and services, see:


Reader's Comments

HP welcomes your comments on this manual. Please send your comments or suggestions to:


How to Order Additional Documentation

For information about how to order additional documentation, see:



The following conventions may be used in this manual:

Ctrl/ x A sequence such as Ctrl/ x indicates that you must hold down the key labeled Ctrl while you press another key or a pointing device button.
PF1 x A sequence such as PF1 x indicates that you must first press and release the key labeled PF1 and then press and release another key or a pointing device button.
[Return] In examples, a key name enclosed in a box indicates that you press a key on the keyboard. (In text, a key name is not enclosed in a box.)

In the HTML version of this document, this convention appears as brackets, rather than a box.

... A horizontal ellipsis in examples indicates one of the following possibilities:
  • Additional optional arguments in a statement have been omitted.
  • The preceding item or items can be repeated one or more times.
  • Additional parameters, values, or other information can be entered.
A vertical ellipsis indicates the omission of items from a code example or command format; the items are omitted because they are not important to the topic being discussed.
( ) In command format descriptions, parentheses indicate that you must enclose choices in parentheses if you specify more than one.
[ ] In command format descriptions, brackets indicate optional choices. You can choose one or more items or no items. Do not type the brackets on the command line. However, you must include the brackets in the syntax for OpenVMS directory specifications and for a substring specification in an assignment statement.
| In command format descriptions, vertical bars separate choices within brackets or braces. Within brackets, the choices are optional; within braces, at least one choice is required. Do not type the vertical bars on the command line.
{ } In command format descriptions, braces indicate required choices; you must choose at least one of the items listed. Do not type the braces on the command line.
bold type Bold type represents the introduction of a new term. It also represents the name of an argument, an attribute, or a reason.
italic type Italic type indicates important information, complete titles of manuals, or variables. Variables include information that varies in system output (Internal error number), in command lines (/PRODUCER= name), and in command parameters in text (where dd represents the predefined code for the device type).
UPPERCASE TYPE Uppercase type indicates a command, the name of a routine, the name of a file, or the abbreviation for a system privilege.
Example This typeface indicates code examples, command examples, and interactive screen displays. In text, this type also identifies URLs, UNIX commands and pathnames, PC-based commands and folders, and certain elements of the C programming language.
- A hyphen at the end of a command format description, command line, or code line indicates that the command or statement continues on the following line.
numbers All numbers in text are assumed to be decimal unless otherwise noted. Nondecimal radixes---binary, octal, or hexadecimal---are explicitly indicated.

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