In order to effectively use the CFITSIO library it is recommended that new users begin by reading the “CFITSIO Quick Start Guide”. It contains all the basic information needed to write programs that perform most types of operations on FITS files. The set of example FITS utility programs that are available from the CFITSIO web site are also very useful for learning how to use CFITSIO. To learn even more about the capabilities of the CFITSIO library the following steps are recommended:
1. Read the following short `FITS Primer' chapter for an overview of the structure of FITS files.
2. Review the Programming Guidelines in Chapter 4 to become familiar with the conventions used by the CFITSIO interface.
3. Refer to the cookbook.c, listhead.c, and fitscopy.c programs that are included with this release for examples of routines that perform various common FITS file operations. Type 'make program_name' to compile and link these programs on Unix systems.
4. Write a simple program to read or write a FITS file using the Basic Interface routines described in Chapter 5.
5. Scan through the more specialized routines that are described in the following chapters to become familiar with the functionality that they provide.