How do I set my From: address?

How do I set mutt to allow editing of the From: header during composition?

The primary way to set your default sender address is through the $from and $realname variables in muttrc:

 set realname="Joe User"
 set from="user@host"
 set use_from=yes

: NOTE: Another way is to use my_hdr From: but it is discouraged because it has drawbacks: It breaks the $reverse_name feature, and doesn't work for messages resent using the <bounce-message> function. While my_hdr From: can be a convenient temporary override of the default address, it is not as convenient for setting the default address.

To instruct mutt to show the From: header during composition, use:

  set edit_headers = yes

How do I set the address used in the SMTP negotiation (envelope address)?

I've set my From: header field in Mutt, but the SMTP server still sees my local hostname.

Remote SMTP server refuses to accept my eMail because of wrong domainname, but I gave correct "From:"?


  set use_envelope_from = yes

in your ~/.muttrc. This adds the -f option when calling $sendmail to deliver the mail, forcing it to use the same address for the envelope as for the From: header field.

Your MTA must understand this parameter & functionality!

Note: use_envelope_from was formerly called envelope_from

Without set use_envelope_from=yes your ISP may bounce messages with: 'status=bounced' and '501 sender domain must resolve (in reply to MAIL FROM command)'.

But sometimes this isn't good enough. For example, on some system with an out-of-the-box sendmail configuration, this technique causes the following field to be added to the message header:

 X-Authentication-Warning: <HOSTNAME>: <USERNAME> set sender to <WHAT YOU WANTED> using -f

So, your identity (username) is revealed anyway. The way around this depends on your MTA:

  • sendmail users can add their username to the list of trusted users in, or google for the "FEATURE(masquerade_envelope)dnl".
  • Exim supports a file like /etc/email-addresses where you can relate users to their correct adresses (which is handy when using a smarthost).

I have several different roles (From:-addresses), how to manage them?

One method is to use different mutt config files by calling mutt using the -F flag to tell it what profile to use. A convenient way to do it is to create, say, a directory ~/.mutt to hold all profile configuration.

For example, for a profile p1 you can create a file ~/.mutt/p1, and put all the profile specific set lines in it:

 set pager_format="(P1) %S [%C/%T] %n (%l) %s"
 set realname="Joe Doe"
 set from=p1@example.COM
 my_hdr Organization: P1's Organization
 my_hdr PGP: s
 set pgp_sign_as="keyid"
 set signature="~/.signature-p1"
 color status black p1-color

It is convenient to indicate the profile with specific colours and statusbars (like pager_format in this example).

All the other settings can be put in another file and then read into each profile using source. Be careful to remove all account-specific information from that file.

 source ~/.mutt/common

To avoid the tediousness of having to type mutt -F ~/.mutt/p1 every time, add shell aliases like the one below:

 alias mutt-p1="mutt -F $HOME/.mutt/muttrc-p1"

Another way is creative use of account-hook: and the various other hooks available.

XXX someone come up with an example

How to let mutt use the To: address of a message as the From: address in a reply?

A simple way is to use the following three commands in ~/.muttrc:

 set reverse_name  
 set from=default@example.COM
 alternates "alt1@example.COM|alt2@example.NET"

Do not have a my_hdr From: active, as this would overrule $reverse_name.

For further information check manual.txt for setting up automatic reactions by these:

  • variables: $from, $realname, $reverse_name, and $reverse_realname.
  • cmds: folder-hook, message-hook, reply-hook (v1.5.x), send-hook, and my_hdr.
  • additionally: alternates (a cmd after 1.5.6, a variable up to 1.5.5).

To change it manually (on demand, by key press), macros can be of great use for this, too. Just using $reverse_name is enough in many cases, try this first.

Note it is generally better to manipulate $from, $realname, and $reverse_name. The my_hdr From: override should better be reserved for only where it is necessary: In send-hooks. It can be useful in message-hooks and macros, though, for its temporary override nature. But handle with care, trying to avoid as much as possible its drawbacks.

If additionally you have to use different SMTP-servers depending on the From-addr, then have a look at /Sendmail, too.

For example, if you want send an email with a different From: Name <email> to one list, you can add this to your .muttrc:

 send-hook .               "unmy_hdr From:"
 send-hook name-of-list    "my_hdr From: List Name <new email>"
 send-hook @company\\.tld$ "my_hdr From: Company Name <new email>"

Note that the unmy_hdr From: in default send-hook placed first permits to fallback to the normal default "From:" field for mails not sent to the mailing list or company. Please check MuttFaq & MuttGuide for "hook"-traps, and more detailed examples of multiple profiles.

I set $reverse_name, but it's not working!

The original message (the one to which you are replying) must have been sent to an address which matches $alternates (v<=1.5.5) or alternates-cmd (v>=1.5.6). Also there must be no my_hdr From: active: It would overrule $reverse_name. See the previous question for a way to do it.

How can I change "Message Priority" for outgoing mails?

How can I add something like "Low, Normal, Medium, High" priority to a mail right before sending?

This is usually done through a Priority: header, although it is not a standard header. It is up to the MUA whether it supports it or not. If the receiving MUA does not support it, it will not be displayed to the receiver. Mutt allows you to setup macros, various -hooks, and my_hdr to add the header to a message.

Last modified 2 years ago Last modified on Oct 20, 2014 12:05:17 PM