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Introduction of TSO/ISPF

Imagine the confidence and speed which you get, if you master TSO Mainframe Tutorial and ISPF Mainframe Tutorial.

This Tutorial is in-depth and precise TSO/ISPF tutorial on IBM Mainframe.

We will also cover MVS TSO tutorial here.

  • TSO Stands for Time Sharing Option.
  • ISPF Stands for Interactive Search and Display Facility.

What is TSO?

TSO is the short form of Time Sharing Option in which multiple users can access the MVS (Multiple Virtual Storage) concurrently and to each user, it will appear that he or she is the only user in the system.

Each user in the system has an Address Space and a unique user id which is 8 character maximum. Each user has its own profile and logs as well.

Important Functions of TSO

TSO also provides commands to manage datasets. In Mainframe, the files are called as data sets. TSO interacts with either a line by line mode or in a full-screen menu driven mode. There are a lot of functions which TSO can handle. Let us understand all these functions –

  1. Dataset Management Functions like Deletion of data sets, Insertion of records in a dataset or Updating the records in Dataset etc. 
  2. Another important function which TSO can handle is Program Development functions 
    like Creating a program, Compiling the program, Link Editing the program, Executing the program etc.
  3. The next important function is Batch Job Functions like Submitting a job, Monitoring a job and Viewing the output of a job.

What is ISPF?

ISPF is the shorthand for Interactive Search and Display Facility and this is a software that provides the dialog management service and users can directly use the menus to perform the required operations.

The commands that can be used in TSO can be entered via ISPF Panel and this panel has Action Bars, Program Menus Point and Shoot Field, Selection Fields and, Function Keys. 

What is TSO/ISPF

In Line By Line Mode, users enter a command by typing through their keyboard while in Menu Driven Mode, users interact with the Mainframe through ISPF menus. The combination of TSO and ISPF is called TSO/ISPF.

Difference between TSO and ISPF

Stands for Time Sharing OptionStands for Interactive system productivity facility
Used to create an interactive sessionYou can add, configure and manage the system using ISPF
TSO allows users to access ISPFISPF is Menu driven

What will you learn in this Tutorial?

What are TSO and ISPF
Learn about TSO/ISPF
A Relationship between TSO and ISPF
ISPF Primary options Menu
List of all options in ISPF Primary options Menu.
Important TSO/ISPF commands and Menus
Execute all TSO commands
Execute all ISPF Menus
Advanced TSO/ISPF operations
mainframe tso ispf commands
Separate tso ispf commands list pdf
Dataset Management functions around a dataset
Learn how to create a dataset
Know how to insert records in a dataset
And also find how to update records a dataset
Program Development Functions
Compile a Program
Link Edit a program
Execute a Program
Batch Job functions
Submit a job
View the output of Job
SDSF Command
SDSF operations
SPOOL operations


  • Total Beginners – who want to learn Mainframe from Scratch.
  • To Learn Mainframe, TSO/ISPF is the first step.
  • Mainframe Programmers with some knowledge on Mainframe must go through this tutorial to increase their knowledge.
  • Anyone who wants to start their career on Mainframe


Introduction of JCL

  • JCL stands for Job Control Language.
  • A Scripting language is used to communicate with the MVS operating system.
  • Use JCL to run jobs on MVS operating systems.
  • We can use JCL to perform a set of a task in steps or sequence
  • Divided into various types of statements and parameters.
  • A COBOL program will run through JCL.
  • JCL provides all the resource and information such as the file names, a location of the file, associated file name, compiled module location, statements, parameters and much more.
  • JCL will run in a Batch mode we will cover this topic as we progress further.

Example of a JCL


We can use JCL to create a new PS file

Where, How and Why we use JCL

  • JCL is the most important Scripting language used to run COBOL on Mainframe.
  • JCL is very easy scripting language and it provides all the options to execute a COBOL program.
  • There are multiple utilities which help in executing tasks in an easier and better way.
  • All these utilities will be shown in detail in this tutorial
  • It is easy to tweak changes to a JCL and hence the learning curve in JCL is easy.
  • JCL runs in Batch mode. A Batch mode is a mode where the user or system submits a job(series of task) through a JCL and the JCL runs in Background allowing the user to perform any other task while the JCL is running. Hence, JCL is a widely used scripting language for COBOL because it enables multitasking in Mainframe through Batch processing.

Target audience​

  • This tutorial is for anyone, be in a student, a software Engineer or anyone who is serious towards mastering the JCL scripting language in Mainframe.
  • If you have prior knowledge on COBOL, then it will help you to understand JCL better but this is not important and you can still learn JCL easily without any prior understanding of any programming language.
  • Most of the Mainframe Developers face a problem of low-quality content on JCL lying on the Internet and this JCL tutorial will certainly help them.

Prerequisite and Requirements​

  • If you have a mainframe id, it is an advantage to learn JCL but it is not mandatory.
  • No Previous programming language in any other language is required to learn JCL if you have experience with COBOL, it is advantageous.
  • If you know basic TSO/ISPF, it will always help you to master JCL easily. Don’t worry, we have added a TSO/ISPF tutorial as well in our website, you can go through them.

What will you learn

  • This JCL tutorial covers almost everything starting from Introduction, structure, syntax, all statements, parameters, procedures, GDG’s, Utilities and much more.
  • In this tutorial, you will learn each topic with a lot of examples to make learning easier for students.
  • We are continuously adding and improving the content of this tutorial.
  • Expert Mainframe developers are monitoring this site to provide quality content.