wiki:MuttFaq

Version 10 (modified by MichaelRay, 4 years ago) (diff)

minor fixes

Welcome to the Mutt FAQ list!

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search for key words in the wiki-search.

Consult the manual.txt for references!
Please Read The Fine Manual(RTFM) to find relevant answers to your questions.
Use DebugConfig to analyze and find answers for yourself. Please share your answers here.


  • Most Frequently Asked Questions & Answers
    • Where is the Mutt manual? - look for "manual.txt" on MuttWiki
    • I upgraded mutt, why does my old muttrc give errors? - read the ChangeLog in source package for changed features and new manual.txt passages for problem items.
    • I'm using only IMAP folders, yet mutt still queries about local folders, why? - see MuttFaq/RemoteFolder
    • I can't see character X in latin1/windows-1256/whatever-encoded messages - see MuttFaq/Charset
    • How do I configure Mutt to use a remote SMTP server to send mail? - see MuttFaq/Sendmail
    • Can Mutt show the (new) message count in the folder browser? - see MuttFaq/Display
    • Where can I find good config files (muttrc)? - see ConfigList + ConfigTricks
    • Mutt config is static, how to make it dynamic (with "if"-conditions) even without ScriptSupport? - see MuttFaq/Misc
      • How to find the reason for muttrc errors?
      • Why do identical configs on 2 different machines fail? - see DebugConfig
  • MuttFaq/Action (interactive)
    • What's the key (-binding) for function XYZ?
    • How to "move", "save"?
    • How do I save/delete/copy/print/pipe multiple / several messages?
    • How to search/ tag/ match/ view only specific messages?
    • How to mark a message as "read"?
    • How to actually delete messages marked for deletion or save read messages to "mbox"es without having to quit?
    • I want to use buttons with my mouse!
    • How to see the "mailboxes" folders with new mail as with "-y" option without restarting mutt?
    • How to create a new folder?
    • When paging down in a message, how do I stop at the end 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)?
    • I've set my From: header field in Mutt, but the SMTP server still sees my local hostname?
    • 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 to manage several different roles (From:-addresses)?
    • How to let mutt use the To: address of a message as a From: address in a reply?
    • I set $reverse_name, but it's not working!
    • How can I change "Message Priority" for outgoing mail?
  • MuttFaq/Folder
    • "XYZ is not a mailbox" or "has no messages", what does this mean?
    • Why are "new" flags of mbox folders wrong (folder-list view, not single messages in index view)?
    • How to make mutt open a specific folder on start up?
    • How to save copies of outgoing/sent email? How to do it for the current folder?
    • I can't modify my inbox folder. It says its read-only but my permissions are ok?
    • How to 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 to use the "trash" folder?
    • How to import messages from pine, Thunderbird, Kmail, evolution, ...?
    • I left off a trailing '/' in my .procmailrc, and procmail delivered many emails to a Maildir folder in MH format. How do I fix this?
    • What's the difference between '+' and '='?
  • MuttFaq/RemoteFolder
    • How can 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 can I save typing long IMAP-pathnames?
    • How can I list/ browse remote IMAP-folders?
    • I'm using only IMAP folders, yet mutt still queries about local folders, why?
    • I keep getting disconnected when I leave mutt alone for a few minutes
    • Why do I stop having to review my server's SSL certificate every single time I connect?
  • MuttFaq/Sendmail
    • "Error sending message, child exited", what's the deal?
    • Mail doesn't arrive/ bounces, how can I figure out why?
    • Why is it so slow when I send an email?
    • How do I configure Mutt to use a remote SMTP server to send mail?
    • I need to use different SMTP servers for several accounts, how to manage that?
    • SMTP authentication (APOP etc.) times out on me, how to save retyping password?
  • MuttFaq/Appearance
    • How to split the screen to see index and pager/ body/ content all at once?
    • Can 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?
    • Using a "default" background does not work.
    • Why doesn't the background highlight color show behind white space?
    • 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'?
    • Can I have an arrow ('>') as an indicator?
    • Can 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)?
    • Can I personalize/shortcut the display of or label the folder names in the folder browser?
    • Why doesn't $index_format "%b" show some Maildir?
    • Can Mutt show the (new) message count in the folder browser?
    • How to make the From-addr shown normally in index-view to show To-addr for mail that I send?
    • Can mutt use virtual folders/mailboxes?
    • Why are some 'N'(ew) messages flagged 'O'(ld) when I leave them and return?
  • MuttFaq/Attachment
    • How to save all attachments into the same directory, easily?!
    • How to use different mailcap entries based on whether X is running (X availability-dependent associations for MIME types)
    • How to view/ reply HTML, images, vcards and other non-plain-text attachments?
    • How to view HTML attachments in a new tab in Firefox?
    • How to make M$-office attachments accessible?
    • How do I forward a message including attachments?
    • I want to add my own comments to the top of the forwarded message, how can I do that?
    • How to make mutt use a correct content-type (data-format) for attachments I send out?
    • Can 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 can I check if locales work before I blame Mutt for it?
    • UTF-8 chars are displayed fine, but the screen is garbled
    • I tuned all the variables correctly, but my messages are still garbled.
    • Attached text files get sent mis-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?
    • How to launch a browser with text links in plain text but encoded emails?
    • Is there any way to search encoded messages like quoted-printable ones?
  • MuttFaq/Alias
    • How to use the aliases (addressbook)?
    • I changed the aliases but mutt still doesn't know them?
    • Is there no better way to manage often used addresses?
  • MuttFaq/Encryption
    • How to make PGP/GPG work?
    • How to make old style/classic/traditional/ inline PGP work?
    • Other MUAs (mail-programs) can't handle mutt's PGP-stuff being attachments?
    • I typed the wrong passphrase, but mutt still keeps using it?
    • Does Mutt do S/MIME?
    • I'm using gpg to encrypt messages and can't read my own postings
    • Which key-server should I use?
    • How can I retrieve PGP-keys automatically?
  • MuttFaq/Thread
    • How to get rid of duplicate messages?
    • How to change the order within a thread?
    • How to sort threads based on all the messages in the thread?
    • Why are some msgs threaded and others 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 can 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 can I create sub-folders?
    • How can 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 to 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?
    • I already double quote stuff for patterns, but my macro still doesn't work!
  • MuttFaq/Misc
    • What is mutt's way to provide "templates" for sending new email?
    • How to make random signatures?
    • What am I missing when I invoke mutt in batch mode from the command-line but it goes interactive?
    • How can 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 to fix error 'Could not copy message'?
    • Switching folders is too slow with big folders, how to speed up?
    • How to trigger a script on new mail?

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


When you edit/ add FAQs & As,

  • First the WikiWorker guidelines before you edit!
  • Use a fitting /Subpage to put your answers, use /Misc otherwise.
  • Create a new /Subpage as generic but specific as possible if there are related questions.
  • Bundle simple answers into /Subpages, put complex (lengthy) answers onto own separate pages.
  • The answers go to the /Subpages only, not here.
  • Remember to add the questions to the index list on this page, too. They are not added automatically.