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Digging Into the Bag of ISPF Tricks

Some good ISPF tools.

Some good ISPF tools.

In my extensive experience working in the mainframe space, I've come up with some ISPF tricks over the years that I would like to share. Whether they're useful to you is, obviously, up to you to decide.

Before going forward, a quick note about using ISPF CMD(xxx) is in order. I've found that using CMD(xxx) as an argument when you're first getting into ISPF does not work as expected. Therefore, all the commands presented in this article will be invoking ISPF options that, in turn, invoke ISPF/TSO commands.

How to Logoff After Exiting ISPF

While not directly logging you off, this trick can be used so that you logoff as soon as you exit ISPF. People have asked about this one for years, and I have never seen it published anywhere, even though I have shown it to others.

Insert the following line in your TRANS portion of the ISP@PRIM panel (or whatever primary panel you use):


You can then issue the command "L" on the ISPF primary panel command line, or you can have your normal logon process issue "ISPF L." This will not take effect, in either case, until you exit ISPF.

Multiple Panels or Commands When Entering ISPF
Some people find that they do the same thing, every time they enter ISPF. For example, you may wish to go into Spool Display & Search Facility (SDSF), Option 3.4 (DataSet List), EDIT, and anything else. How I have done it is by first setting up another command option similar to the previously, yet different:


Where ISPFINI is a REXX EXEC (I haven't used CLIST since MVS/ESA 3.1.0 came out with REXX support, circa 1991):

   /* REXX
      ISPF Start Up REXX EXEC

   trace "O"

   address "ISPEXEC"

The above assumes that you have an ISPF configured to support at least four screens. The default is eight, and up to 32 can be supported. Consult your ISPF system programmer if it does not work.

Ted MacNeil is a capacity/performance analyst with more than 25 years in the IBM mainframe environment. Ted can be reached at



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