Showcase Article - AS/400 Commands

You can run commands directly from any command line. Once you learn the commands, you can write "Control Language" or CL programs. CL programs are simply strings of commands that have been entered and compiled. So as you learn these commands, you are also learning to write CL programs. Managers and administrators who have duties in different environments may have trouble shifting gears from one operating system to another. We're going to look at some easy ways to help you learn and remember these commands.

The AS/400 operating system is consistent in its presentation and names. Commands have names of up to 10 letters. The commands typically take the form of three letters. For example, to work with active jobs, the command is WRKACTJOB. That's a single word with no spaces. WRK is the AS/400 abbreviation for "work" and ACT is the abbreviation for "active." Because the AS/400 is consistent in its naming style, after you know some of the abbreviations, you will be able to guess the names of commands.

In the sidebar are 11 important verbs and nouns that combine to form command names. The abbreviations are not all three letters but they are used consistently throughout the system. "F" is always the abbreviation for file. You won't have to guess if it is sometimes abbreviated as "FIL."

If you don't know the exact name of a command, you can use the AS/400 menus to browse. If you key in GO VERB from a command line and hit Enter, you will go to the AS/400 menu named VERB. This menu lists all AS/400 verbs. From here you can navigate and browse to the exact command you need. Also, to see the major command groups, GO MAJOR.

If you already know the verb, but need the rest of the syntax, there is a menu named after the verb. For example, there is a CMDWRK menu with all "work" commands, there is a CMDDSP menu with all "display" commands and there is a CMDADD menu with all "add" commands. So you can key in GO CMDSTR and see all "start" commands.

To learn more about any command, type in the number of the command and then hit F1. The AS/400 has extensive, friendly help built into every command.

Some innocuous looking commands such as CPYF are deceptively powerful and complex. CPYF can copy a file, renaming it while selecting only records in which the field "STATE" has a value of "DC." In fact, there are six screens of key words you can use. Learning this one command can give the power to clean up a master file by copying only records you wish to keep while bypassing data created by an errant task.

To see a comprehensive list of AS/400 Commands, click here.


It is important to become familiar with basic AS/400 command abbreviations. The following is a list of the most commonly used verbs and nouns that combine to make commands.

Command Abbreviations--Verbs
ADD	-	Add 
CFG	-	Configure 
CHG	-	Change 
CPY	- 	Copy 
CRT	-	Create 
DLT	-	Delete 
DSP	-	Display 
GO	-	Go to a Menu 
RMV	-	Remove 
STR	-	Start 
WRK	-	Work with

Command Abbreviations--Nouns DEV - Device DEVD - Device Description F - Files FLR - Folder LIB - Library OUTQ - Output Queue MSG - Message SPLF - Spool File WTR - Writer (Printer)

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