wiki:MuttFaq

Welcome to the Mutt FAQ!

  • Read The Fine Manual(RTFM), please.
  • Read manual.txt for solutions to your problems! Relevant answers to your questions are in the manual.
  • Wiki-wide search is available using the wiki-search box. Page search by page using your browser 'search' function.
  • Use DebugConfig as a starting point to analyze unusual problems. Share your answers here.
  • Read the WikiWorker guidelines before you edit!
  • Most Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
    • Where is the Mutt manual? - here or look for "manual.txt" on the MuttWiki page.
    • I'm having problems after an upgrade and my old muttrc is giving me errors - read the ChangeLog in source package for changed features and new manual.txt passages for problem items.
    • I'm having folder problems, using only IMAP folders mutt still queries about local folders, why? - see MuttFaq/RemoteFolder
    • I'm having character set issues and can't see character X in latin1/windows-1256/whatever-encoded messages - see MuttFaq/Charset
    • I want to have Mutt to use a remote SMTP server to send mail - see MuttFaq/Sendmail
    • I want to show the (new) message count in the folder browser - see MuttFaq/Display
    • I want some good mutt config files (muttrc) - see ConfigList + ConfigTricks
    • I want to make my mutt config dynamic (with "if"-conditions) even without ScriptSupport? - see MuttFaq/Misc
    • I want to find the reason for muttrc errors see DebugConfig
    • I have two identical configs on different machines, but one fails - see DebugConfig
  • MuttFaq/Action (interactive)
    • What's the key (-binding) for function XYZ?
    • How do I "move" or "save"?
    • How do I save / delete / copy / print / pipe multiple or several messages?
    • How do I search / tag / match / view only specific messages?
    • How do I mark a message as "read"?
    • How do I actually delete messages marked for deletion or save read messages to "mbox"es without having to quit?
    • How do I use buttons with my mouse!?
    • How do I see the "mailboxes" folders with new mail as with "-y" option without restarting mutt?
    • How do I create a new folder?
    • How do I stop at the end of a message when paging down and not jump to next one?
    • Why don't shift or control cursor keys work?
  • MuttFaq/Header
    • How do I set my From: address?
    • How do I set the address used in the SMTP negotiation (envelope address)?
    • How do I fix my local hostname when I've set my From: header field in Mutt, but the SMTP server still sees it?
    • Why does a remote SMTP server refuse to accept my email because of a wrong domain name, even if I gave a correct From:?
    • How do I manage several different roles (From:-addresses)?
    • How do I let mutt use the To: address of a message as a From: address in a reply?
    • How do I fix set $reverse_name, when it's not working?
    • How do I change "Message Priority" for outgoing mail?
  • MuttFaq/Folder
    • What does "XYZ is not a mailbox" or "has no messages" mean?
    • Why are "new" flags of mbox folders wrong (folder-list view, not single messages in index view)?
    • How do I make mutt open a specific folder on start up?
    • How do I save copies of outgoing / sent email? How to do it for the current folder?
    • Why can't I modify my inbox folder. It says its read-only but my permissions are ok?
    • How do I make mutt check for new mail more often? What's the difference between $timeout and $mail_check?
    • How do I make mutt stop asking to "move read messages to mbox"!
    • How do I use the "trash" folder?
    • How do I import messages from Pine, Thunderbird, Kmail, Evolution, ...?
    • How do I fix a missing trailing '/' in my .procmailrc, and procmail delivered many emails to a Maildir folder in MH format?
    • What's the difference between '+' and '='?
  • MuttFaq/RemoteFolder
    • How do I access my POP/IMAP account(s)?
    • When using a ssh-tunnel-to-IMAP I get error messages, but the tunnel commands work well in a shell, why?!
    • How do I save typing long IMAP-pathnames?
    • How do I list/ browse remote IMAP-folders?
    • How do I fix mutt queries about local folders when I'm using only IMAP folders?
    • How do I fix being disconnected when I leave mutt alone for a few minutes
    • How do I fix having to review my server's SSL certificate every single time I connect?
  • MuttFaq/Sendmail
    • Why do I get "Error sending message, child exited"?
    • How do I discover why mail doesn't arrive or bounces?
    • How do I discover why sending email is slow?
    • How do I configure Mutt to use a remote SMTP server to send mail?
    • How do I use different SMTP servers for several accounts?
    • How do I save retyping my password when SMTP authentication (APOP etc.) times out on me?
  • MuttFaq/Appearance
    • How do I split the screen to see index and pager / body / content all at once?
    • How do I use the "default" color of my terminal or the "transparent" color?
    • Why is "default" not recognized when mutt with ncurses [5.2] starts up?
    • Why Using a "default" background does not work.
    • Why doesn't the background highlight color show behind white space?
    • Why, when running in screen, transparency does not work, and there are trailing spaces filling every line when cut-and-pasting
    • What is the mutt color equivalent of 'grey'?
    • How do I have an arrow ('>') as an indicator?
    • How do I highlight certain email addresses in my tree?
  • MuttFaq/Display
    • How do I change the format/display of the list of mailboxes (or any menu)?
    • How do I personalize / shortcut the display of or label the folder names in the folder browser?
    • Why doesn't $index_format "%b" show some Maildir?
    • Can Mutt show the (new) message count in the folder browser?
    • How do I make the From-addr show normally in index-view or show To-addr for mail that I send?
    • Can mutt use virtual folders / mailboxes?
    • Why are some 'N'(ew) messages flagged 'O'(ld) when I leave them and return?
  • MuttFaq/Attachment
    • How do I easily save all attachments into the same directory?!
    • How do I use different mailcap entries based on whether X is running (X availability-dependent associations for MIME types)?
    • How do I view/ reply HTML, images, vcards and other non-plain-text attachments?
    • How do I view HTML attachments in a new tab in Firefox?
    • How do I make M$-office attachments accessible?
    • How do I forward a message including attachments?
    • How do I add my own comments to the top of the forwarded message?
    • How do I make mutt use a correct content-type (data-format) for attachments I send out?
    • How do I make mutt stop me from making me look stupid by sending mails saying "patch attached" without attachments?
  • MuttFaq/Charset
    • Umlauts, accents, and other non-ASCII characters are displayed as '?' or '\123', fine in some mails, but hidden in others.
    • Umlauts, accents, and other non-ASCII characters are only displayed wrong when using auto_view
    • How do I check if locales work before I blame Mutt for it?
    • UTF-8 chars are displayed fine, but the screen is garbled
    • How do I fix messages still being garbled even after I tuned all the variables correctly?
    • Why are attached text files sent incorrectly encoded with the wrong charset.
  • MuttFaq/Encoding
    • Why is a message not printed as seen in mutt?
    • Why is a message not caught by spam defense when piped to it?
    • How do I launch a browser with text links in plain text but encoded emails?
    • How do I search encoded messages like quoted-printable ones?
  • MuttFaq/Alias
    • How do I use the aliases (addressbook)?
    • How do I fix changed aliases that mutt still doesn't seem to know?
    • How do I find a no better way to manage often used addresses?
  • MuttFaq/Encryption
    • How do I make PGP/GPG work?
    • How do I make old style / classic / traditional / inline PGP work?
    • Why do other MUAs (mail-programs) have problems handling mutt's PGP-stuff being attachments?
    • How do I fix typing the wrong passphrase when mutt keeps using it?
    • Does Mutt do S/MIME?
    • Why can't I read my own postings when using gpg to encrypt messages?
    • Which key-server should I use?
    • How do I retrieve PGP-keys automatically?
  • MuttFaq/Thread
    • How do I get rid of duplicate messages?
    • How do I change the order within a thread?
    • How do I sort threads based on all the messages in the thread?
    • Why are some messages threaded and others are not?
    • What do "->", "-?-" and "*>" mean in thread trees?
    • Why is the tree display screwed, I see garbage characters in front of the arrows?!
  • MuttFaq/Maildir
    • How do I search multiple Maildirs for strings all at once?
    • Which mailbox format is better, mbox or Maildir?
    • What is the best directory layout for Maildir folders?
    • How do I create sub-folders?
    • How do I access the sub-folders created by Kmail and Courier-IMAP?
    • I can see size in bytes, but not lines, is there a fix?
  • MuttFaq/Editor
    • Why are there strange files (*mutt*~ or *mutt*.bak) when mutt finishes?
    • How do I configure Mutt to use mail-mode in Emacs?
    • How do I trim quoted replies (like stripping signatures)?
  • MuttFaq/Hook
    • My settings are messed up after hooks are executed, why are they not restored?
    • Why get the commands given in hooks crippled, some are skipped?
    • Why does my muttrc errors for commands specified in hooks at start up?
    • How do I make a complex regular expression containing "(|)" and "\" in a *-hook/search work?
    • How do I fix my macro, after I already double quote stuff for patterns, and it still doesn't work?
  • MuttFaq/Misc
    • What is mutt's way to provide "templates" for sending new email?
    • How do I make random signatures?
    • What am I missing when I invoke mutt in batch mode from the command-line but it goes interactive?
    • How do I access the development versions of Mutt?
    • Where do I find the change log of the differences/features between releases (stable, dev)?
    • My Mutt config is static, how to make it dynamic (with "if"-conditions) even without ScriptSupport?
    • What is the meaning of "mbox", "maildir", and "folder"?
    • How do I fix error 'Could not copy message'?
    • Switching folders is too slow with big folders, how do I speed it up?
    • How do I trigger a script on new mail?
    • How do I help update the mutt.org site?

If you don't find a suitable question (or answer), add it here below the line to be dealt with by some sage.