Go to the previous, next chapter.
Rmail is an Emacs subsystem for reading and disposing of mail
that you receive. Rmail stores mail messages in files
called Rmail files. Reading the message in an Rmail
file is done in a special major mode, Rmail mode, which redefines most letters to run
commands for managing mail.
- Basic: Basic concepts of Rmail, and simple use.
- Scroll: Scrolling through a message.
- Motion: Moving to another message.
- Deletion: Deleting and expunging messages.
- Inbox: How mail gets into the Rmail file.
- Files: Using multiple Rmail files.
- Output: Copying message out to files.
- Labels: Classifying messages by labeling them.
- Reply: Sending replies to messages you are viewing.
- Summary: Summaries show brief info on many messages.
- Sort: Sorting messages in Rmail.
- Display: How Rmail displays a message; customization.
- Editing: Editing message text and headers in Rmail.
- Digest: Extracting the messages from a digest message.
- Out of Rmail: Converting an Rmail file to mailbox
- Rot13: Reading messages encoded in the rot13 code.
Using Rmail in the simplest fashion, you have one Rmail file ~/RMAIL in which
all of your mail is saved. It is called your primary
Rmail file. The command M-x rmail
reads your primary Rmail file, merges new mail in from
your inboxes, displays the first message you haven't
read yet, and lets you begin reading.
Rmail uses narrowing to hide all but one message in the Rmail file. The message that is shown is called the current message. Rmail mode's special commands can do such
things as delete the current message, copy it into
another file, send a reply, or move to another message.
You can also create multiple Rmail files and use Rmail to move messages between them.
Within the Rmail file, messages are normally arranged sequentially in order of receipt;
you can specify other ways to sort them. Messages are assigned consecutive integers as
their message numbers. The number of the
current message is displayed in Rmail's mode line,
followed by the total number of messages in the file. You can move to a message by specifying its message
number with the j key (see section Moving Among
Following the usual conventions of Emacs, changes in an Rmail file become permanent
only when the file is saved. You can save it with s (
which also expunges deleted messages from the file first (see section Deleting Messages). To save the file without expunging, use C-x C-s. Rmail also saves the
Rmail file after merging new mail from an inbox file (see section Rmail
Files and Inboxes).
You can exit Rmail with q (
rmail-quit); this expunges and saves
the Rmail file and then switches to another buffer. But
there is no need to `exit' formally. If you switch from Rmail to editing in other buffers,
and never happen to switch back, you have exited. (The Rmail command b,
rmail-bury, does this
for you.) Just make sure to save the Rmail file eventually (like any other file you have
changed). C-x s is a good enough way to do this (see section Saving Files).
When Rmail displays a message that does not fit on
the screen, you must scroll through it to read the rest. You could do this with C-v,
M-v and M-, but in Rmail scrolling is
so frequent that it deserves to be easier to type.
- SPC Scroll forward (
Scroll backward (
scroll-down). . Scroll to start of message (
Since the most common thing to do while reading a message
is to scroll through it by screenfuls, Rmail makes SPC and DEL
synonyms of C-v (
scroll-up) and M-v (
The command . (
rmail-beginning-of-message) scrolls back to the beginning of the
selected message. This is not quite the same as M-:
for one thing, it does not set the mark; for another,
it resets the buffer boundaries to the current message if you have changed them.
The most basic thing to do with a message is to
read it. The way to do this in Rmail is to make the message
current. The usual practice is to move sequentially through the file, since this is the
order of receipt of messages. When you enter Rmail, you are positioned at the first message that you have not yet made current (that is, the
first one that has the unseen attribute; see section Labels). Move forward to see the other new messages; move
backward to reexamine old messages.
- n Move to the next nondeleted message,
skipping any intervening deleted messages (
rmail-next-undeleted-message). p Move to the previous nondeleted message (
rmail-previous-undeleted-message). M-n Move to the next message, including deleted messages (
rmail-next-message). M-p Move to the previous message, including deleted messages (
rmail-previous-message). j Move to the first message. With argument n, move to message number n (
rmail-show-message). > Move to the last message (
Move to the first message (
- M-s regexp RET Move to
the next message containing a match for regexp (
M-s regexp RET Move to the
previous message containing a match for regexp.
n and p are the usual way of moving among messages in Rmail. They
move through the messages sequentially, but skip over deleted messages, which is usually
what you want to do. Their command definitions are
rmail-previous-undeleted-message. If you do not want to skip deleted
messages---for example, if you want to move to a message
to undelete it---use the variants M-n and M-p (
rmail-previous-message). A numeric argument to any of these
commands serves as a repeat count.
In Rmail, you can specify a numeric argument by typing just the digits. You don't need
to type C-u first.
The M-s (
is Rmail's version of search. The usual incremental search command
C-s works in Rmail, but it searches only within the current message. The purpose of M-s is to search for
another message. It reads a regular expression (see
section Syntax of Regular Expressions) nonincrementally,
then searches starting at the beginning of the following message
for a match. It then selects that message. If regexp is empty, M-s reuses the regexp used the previous time.
To search backward in the file for another message,
give M-s a negative argument. In Rmail you can do this with - M-s.
It is also possible to search for a message based on
labels. See section Labels.
To move to a message specified by absolute message number, use j (
rmail-show-message) with the message
number as argument. With no argument, j selects the first message. (
rmail-first-message) also selects the first message. > (
rmail-last-message) selects the last message.
When you no longer need to keep a message, you can delete
it. This flags it as ignorable, and some Rmail commands pretend it is no longer present;
but it still has its place in the Rmail file, and still has its message number.
Expunging the Rmail file actually removes
the deleted messages. The remaining messages are renumbered consecutively. Expunging is the only action that changes the message number of any message,
except for undigestifying (see section Digest Messages).
- d Delete the current message, and move to the
next nondeleted message (
C-d Delete the current message, and move to the
previous nondeleted message (
u Undelete the current message, or move back to
a deleted message and undelete it (
rmail-undelete-previous-message). x Expunge the Rmail file (
There are two Rmail commands for deleting messages. Both delete the current message and select another message.
rmail-delete-forward) moves to the following message, skipping messages already deleted, while C-d
rmail-delete-backward) moves to the previous nondeleted message. If there is no nondeleted message to move to in the specified direction, the message that was just deleted remains current.
To make all the deleted messages finally vanish from the Rmail file, type x
rmail-expunge). Until you do this, you can still undelete the
deleted messages. The undeletion command, u
designed to cancel the effect of a d command
in most cases. It undeletes the current message if the
current message is deleted. Otherwise it moves backward
to previous messages until a deleted message is found,
and undeletes that message.
You can usually undo a d with a u because the u moves
back to and undeletes the message that the d
deleted. But this does not work when the d skips a few already-deleted messages
that follow the message being deleted; then the u
command undeletes the last of the messages that were
skipped. There is no clean way to avoid this problem. However, by repeating the u
command, you can eventually get back to the message that you intend to undelete. You can also select a
particular deleted message with the M-p command, then type u to undelete it.
A deleted message has the deleted
attribute, and as a result deleted appears in the mode line when the current message is deleted. In fact, deleting or undeleting a message is nothing more than adding or removing this
attribute. See section Labels.
The operating system places incoming mail for you in
a file that we call your inbox. When you
start up Rmail, it runs a C program called
movemail to copy the new messages
from your inbox into your primary Rmail file, which
also contains other messages saved from previous Rmail sessions. It is in this file that
you actually read the mail with Rmail. This operation
is called getting new mail. You can get new mail at any time in Rmail by typing g.
contains a list of the files which are inboxes for your
primary Rmail file. If you don't set this variable
explicitly, it is initialized from the
MAIL environment variable, or, as a last resort, set to
which means to use the default inbox. The default inbox is /var/mail/username,
/usr/spool/mail/username, or /usr/mail/username, depending on your operating
Some sites use a method called POP for accessing users' inbox
data instead of storing the data in inbox files.
can work with POP if you compile it with the macro
MAIL_USE_POP defined, and
then install it setuid to
root. It is safe to install
in this way.
Assuming you have compiled and installed
movemail appropriately, you can
specify a POP inbox with a ``file name'' of the form po:username.
movemail handles such a name by opening a connection to the POP server. The
environment variable specifies the machine to look for
the server on.
There are three reason for having separate Rmail files and inboxes.
- The inbox file format varies between operating
systems and according to the other mail software in
use. Only one part of Rmail needs to know about the alternatives, and it need only
understand how to convert all of them to Rmail's own format.
- The inbox file format usually doesn't provide a place
for all the information that Rmail records.
- It is very cumbersome to access an inbox file without
danger of losing mail, because it is necessary to
interlock with mail delivery. Moreover, different
operating systems use different interlocking techniques. The strategy of moving mail out of the inbox
once and for all into a separate Rmail file avoids the need for interlocking in all the
rest of Rmail, since only Rmail operates on the Rmail file.
When getting new mail, Rmail first copies the new mail from the inbox
file to the Rmail file; then it saves the Rmail file; then it truncates the inbox file. This way, a system crash may cause duplication
of mail between the inbox
and the Rmail file, but cannot lose mail.
movemail copies mail from an inbox in the system's mailer directory, it actually puts it in an intermediate file ~/.newmail-inboxname.
Once it finishes, Rmail reads that file, merges the new mail,
saves the Rmail file, and only then deletes the intermediate file. If there is a crash at
the wrong time, this file continues to exist and Rmail will use it again the next time it
gets new mail from that inbox.
Rmail operates by default on your primary Rmail file, which is named ~/RMAIL
and receives your incoming mail from your system inbox file. But you can also have other Rmail files and
edit them with Rmail. These files can receive mail
through their own inboxes, or you can move messages into them with explicit Rmail commands
(see section Copying Messages Out to Files).
- i file RET Read file into Emacs and run Rmail on
- M-x set-rmail-inbox-list
RET files RET Specify inbox
file names for current Rmail file to get mail from.
Merge new mail from current Rmail file's inboxes (
C-u g file RET Merge new mail
from inbox file file.
To run Rmail on a file other than your primary Rmail file, you may use the i
rmail-input) command in Rmail. This
visits the file in Rmail mode. You can use M-x rmail-input even when not in
The file you read with i should normally be a valid Rmail file. If it is
not, Rmail tries to decompose it into a stream of messages in various known formats. If it
succeeds, it converts the whole file to an Rmail file. If you specify a file name that
doesn't exist, i initializes a new buffer
for creating a new Rmail file.
You can also select an Rmail file from a menu. Choose first the menu bar Classify item,
then from the Classify menu choose the Input Rmail File item; then choose the Rmail file
you want. The variables
which files to offer in the menu: the first variable
says which directory to find them in; the second says
which files in that directory to offer (all those that
match the regular expression). These variables also apply to choosing a file for output
(see section Copying Messages Out to Files).
Each Rmail file can contain a list of inbox file names; you can specify this list with M-x set-rmail-inbox-list RET files
RET. The argument can contain any number of file names, separated by
commas. It can also be empty, which specifies that this file should have no inboxes. Once
a list of inboxes is specified, the Rmail file
remembers it permanently until you specify a different list.
As a special exception, if your primary Rmail file does not specify any inbox files, it uses your standard system inbox.
The g command (
rmail-get-new-mail) merges mail
into the current Rmail file from its specified inboxes. If the Rmail file has no inboxes, g
does nothing. The command M-x rmail also
merges new mail into your primary Rmail file.
To merge mail from a file that is not the usual inbox, give the g key a numeric argument, as in
C-u g. Then it reads a file name and merges mail
from that file. The inbox file is not deleted or
changed in any way when g with an argument is used. This is, therefore, a
general way of merging one file of messages into another.
These commands copy messages from an Rmail file into another file.
- o file RET Append a copy of the current message to the file file, using Rmail file
format by default (
- C-o file RET Append a copy of the current message to the file file, using system inbox file format by default (
The commands o and C-o copy the current message into a specified file. This file may be an Rmail
file or it may be in system inbox format; the output
commands ascertain the file's format and write the copied message
in that format.
The o and C-o commands differ in two ways: each has its own
separate default file name, and each specifies a choice of format to use when the file
does not already exist. The o command uses
Rmail format when it creates a new file, while C-o uses system inbox format for a new file. The default file name for o
is the file name used last with o, and the default file name for C-o
is the file name used last with C-o.
If the output file is an Rmail file currently visited in an Emacs buffer, the output commands copy the message into that buffer.
It is up to you to save the buffer eventually in its
You can also output a message to an Rmail file
chosen with a menu. Choose first the menu bar Classify item, then from the Classify menu
choose the Output Rmail Menu item; then choose the Rmail file you want. This outputs the
current message to that file, like the o command. The variables
rmail-secondary-file-regexp specify which files to offer in the menu:
the first variable says which directory to find them in; the second says which files in
that directory to offer (all those that match the
Copying a message gives the original copy of the message the filed attribute, so that filed
appears in the mode line when such a message is
current. If you like to keep just a single copy of every mail
message, set the variable
t; then the o and C-o
commands delete the original message after copying it.
(You can undelete the original afterward if you wish.)
Copying messages into files in system inbox format
uses the header fields that are displayed in Rmail at the time. Thus, if you use the t
command to view the entire header and then copy the message, the entire header is copied. See section Display of Messages.
lets you specify intelligent defaults for the output file, based on the contents of the
current message. The value should be a list whose elements have this form:
(regexp . name-exp)
If there's a match for regexp in the
current message, then the default file name for output
is name-exp. If multiple elements match the message,
the first matching element decides the default file name. The subexpression name-exp
may be a string constant giving the file name to use,
or more generally it may be any Lisp expression that returns a file name as a string.
rmail-output-file-alist applies to
both o and C-o.
Each message can have various labels
assigned to it as a means of classification. Each label has a name; different names are
different labels. Any given label is either present or absent on a particular message. A few label names have standard meanings and are
given to messages automatically by Rmail when appropriate; these special labels are called
attributes. All other labels are assigned only by users.
- a label RET Assign the label label to the
current message (
rmail-add-label). k label
RET Remove the label label from the current message (
rmail-kill-label). C-M-n labels
RET Move to the next message that has
one of the labels labels (
rmail-next-labeled-message). C-M-p labels RET
Move to the previous message that has one of the labels
C-M-l labels RET Make a summary of all messages containing
any of the labels labels (
The a (
rmail-add-label) and k (
commands allow you to assign or remove any label on the current message. If the label argument is empty, it
means to assign or remove the same label most recently assigned or removed.
Once you have given messages labels to classify them as you wish, there are two ways to
use the labels: in moving and in summaries.
The command C-M-n labels RET
rmail-next-labeled-message) moves to the
next message that has one of the labels labels.
The argument labels specifies one or more label names, separated by commas. C-M-p
similar, but moves backwards to previous messages. A numeric argument to either command serves as a repeat count.
The command C-M-l labels RET
rmail-summary-by-labels) displays a summary containing only the messages
that have at least one of a specified set of messages. The argument labels is
one or more label names, separated by commas. See section Summaries,
for information on summaries.
If the labels argument to C-M-n, C-M-p or C-M-l
is empty, it means to use the last set of labels specified for any of these commands.
Some labels such as deleted and filed have built-in meanings
and are assigned to or removed from messages automatically at appropriate times; these
labels are called attributes. Here is a list
of Rmail attributes:
- unseen Means the message has never been
current. Assigned to messages when they come from an inbox
file, and removed when a message is made current. When
you start Rmail, it initially shows the first message
that has this attribute. deleted Means the message
is deleted. Assigned by deletion commands and removed
by undeletion commands (see section Deleting Messages). filed
Means the message has been copied to some other file.
Assigned by the file output commands (see section Multiple
Rmail Files). answered Means you have mailed an answer to the message. Assigned by the r command (
rmail-reply). See section Sending Replies. forwarded Means you have forwarded
the message. Assigned by the f command (
rmail-forward). See section Sending Replies. edited Means you have edited the text of the message
within Rmail. See section Editing Within a Message. resent
Means you have resent the message. Assigned by the command M-x rmail-resend. See section Sending Replies.
All other labels are assigned or removed only by the user, and have no standard
Rmail has several commands that use Mail mode to
send outgoing mail. See section Sending Mail, for information on using Mail mode. What are documented here are the special
commands of Rmail for entering Mail mode. Note that the
usual keys for sending mail---C-x m, C-x
4 m, and C-x 5 m---are available in Rmail mode and work just as they
- m Send a message (
rmail-mail). c Continue editing already started
outgoing message (
Send a reply to the current Rmail message (
f Forward current message to other users (
C-u f Resend the current message to other users
rmail-resend). M-m Try sending a bounced message a second time (
The most common reason to send a message while in
Rmail is to reply to the message you are reading. To do
this, type r (
rmail-reply). This displays the *mail* buffer in
another window, much like C-x 4 m, but
preinitializes the Subject, To, CC and In-reply-to
header fields based on the message you are replying to.
The To field starts out as the address of the person who sent the message you received, and the CC field starts
out with all the other recipients of that message.
You can exclude certain recipients from being placed automatically in the CC,
using the variable
Its value should be a regular expression (as a string);
any recipient that the regular expression matches, is excluded from the CC
field. The default value matches your own name, and any name starting with info-.
(Those names are excluded because there is a convention of using them for large mailing
lists to broadcast announcements.)
To omit the CC field completely for a particular reply, enter the reply command with a numeric argument: C-u r or 1
Once the *mail* buffer has been initialized, editing and sending the mail goes as usual (see section Sending Mail). You can edit the presupplied header fields
if they are not right for you. You can also use the commands of Mail mode, including C-c C-y to yank in the message that you are replying to, and C-c C-q
to fill what was thus yanked. You can also switch to the Rmail buffer, select a different message,
switch back, and yank the new current message.
Sometimes a message does not reach its destination.
Mailers usually send the failed message back to you,
enclosed in a failure message. The Rmail command M-m (
prepares to send the same message a second time: it
sets up a *mail* buffer with the same text
and header fields as before. If you type C-c C-c right away, you send the message again exactly the same as the first time.
Alternatively, you can edit the text or headers and
then send it. The variable
in the same format as
rmail-ignored-headers (see section Display of Messages), controls which headers are stripped
from the failed message when retrying it; it defaults
Another frequent reason to send mail in Rmail is to forward
the current message to other users. f (
makes this easy by preinitializing the *mail*
buffer with the current message
as the text, and a subject designating a forwarded message. All you have to do is fill in the recipients and
send. When you forward a message, recipients get a message which is ``from'' you, and which has the original message in its contents.
Resending is an alternative similar to forwarding; the difference is that
resending sends a message that is ``from'' the original
sender, just as it reached you---with a few added header fields Resent-from
and Resent-to to indicate that it came via you. To resend a message in Rmail, use C-u f. (f runs
rmail-forward, which is programmed to invoke
rmail-resend if you
provide a numeric argument.)
The m (
rmail-mail) command is used to start editing an outgoing message that is not a reply. It leaves the header fields
empty. Its only difference from C-x 4 m is that it makes the Rmail buffer accessible for C-c C-y, just as r
does. Thus, m can be used to reply to or forward a message; it can do anything r or f
The c (
resumes editing the *mail* buffer, to finish editing an outgoing message you were already composing, or to alter a message you have sent.
If you set the variable
to a non-
nil value, then all the Rmail commands to start sending a message create a new frame
to edit it in. This frame is deleted when you send the message, or when you use the Don't Send item
in the Mail menu.
A summary is a buffer containing one line
per message to give you an overview of the mail in an Rmail file. Each line shows the message number, the sender, the labels, and the subject.
Almost all Rmail commands are valid in the summary buffer
also; these apply to the message described by the
current line of the summary. Moving point in the
summary buffer selects messages as you move to their
A summary buffer applies to a single Rmail file
only; if you are editing multiple Rmail files, each one can have its own summary buffer. The summary buffer
name is made by appending -summary to the Rmail buffer's name. Normally only one summary buffer is displayed at a time.
Here are the commands to create a summary for the current Rmail file. Once the Rmail
file has a summary buffer, changes in the Rmail file
(such as deleting or expunging messages, and getting
new mail) automatically update the summary.
- h C-M-h Summarize all messages (
rmail-summary). l labels
RET C-M-l labels RET Summarize message that have one or more of the specified labels (
C-M-r rcpts RET Summarize messages that have one or more of
the specified recipients (
rmail-summary-by-recipients). C-M-t topic
RET Summarize messages that have a match for the specified regexp topic in their subjects (
The h or C-M-h (
rmail-summary) command fills the summary buffer
for the current Rmail file with a summary of all the messages in the file. It then
displays and selects the summary buffer in another window.
C-M-l labels RET (
makes a partial summary mentioning only the messages that have one or more of the labels labels.
labels should contain label names separated by commas.
C-M-r rcpts RET (
makes a partial summary mentioning only the messages that have one or more of the
recipients rcpts. rcpts should contain mailing addresses separated
C-M-t topic RET (
makes a partial summary mentioning only the messages whose subjects have a match for the
regular expression topic.
Note that there is only one summary buffer for any
Rmail file; making one kind of summary discards any previously made summary.
rmail-summary-window-size says how many lines to use for the
You can use the Rmail summary buffer to do almost
anything you can do in the Rmail buffer itself. In
fact, once you have a summary buffer, there's no need
to switch back to the Rmail buffer.
You can select and display various messages in the Rmail buffer,
from the summary buffer, just by moving point in the summary buffer
to different lines. It doesn't matter what Emacs command
you use to move point; whichever line point is on at the end of the command, that message
is selected in the Rmail buffer.
Almost all Rmail commands work in the summary buffer
as well as in the Rmail buffer. Thus, d in
the summary buffer deletes the current message, u undeletes, and x
expunges. o and C-o output the current message to a file; r starts a reply to it. You
can scroll the current message while remaining in the
summary buffer using SPC and DEL.
The Rmail commands to move between messages also work in the summary buffer, but with a twist: they move through the set of
messages included in the summary. They also ensure the Rmail buffer appears on the screen (unlike cursor motion commands, which update the contents of the
Rmail buffer but don't display it in a window unless it already appears). Here is a list of these commands:
- n Move to next line, skipping lines saying `deleted', and select its message. p Move to previous line, skipping lines
saying `deleted', and select its message. M-n
Move to next line and select its message. M-p
Move to previous line and select its message. >
Move to the last line, and select its message. Move
to the first line, and select its message. M-s pattern
RET Search through messages for pattern starting with the
current message; select the message found, and move point
in the summary buffer to that message's line.
Deletion, undeletion, and getting new mail, and even selection
of a different message all update the summary buffer when you do them in the Rmail buffer. If the variable
rmail-redisplay-summary is non-
these actions also bring the summary buffer back onto
When you are finished using the summary, type w (
to delete the summary buffer's window. You can also exit Rmail while in the summary: q
rmail-summary-quit) deletes the summary window,
then exits from Rmail by saving the Rmail file and
switching to another buffer.
- M-x rmail-sort-by-date Sort messages of current Rmail file by date.
- M-x rmail-sort-by-subject Sort messages of current Rmail file by subject.
rmail-sort-by-author Sort messages of current Rmail file by author's name.
M-x rmail-sort-by-recipient Sort messages of current Rmail file by recipient's
M-x rmail-sort-by-correspondent Sort messages of current Rmail file by the name
of the other correspondent.
M-x rmail-sort-by-lines Sort messages of current Rmail file by size (number of
M-x rmail-sort-by-keywords RET labels RET Sort
messages of current Rmail file by labels. The argument labels should be a
comma-separated list of labels. The order of these
labels specifies the order of messages; messages with the first label come first, messages
with the second label come second, and so on. Messages which have none of these labels
The Rmail sort commands perform a stable sort: if there is no reason to prefer
either one of two messages, their order remains unchanged. You can use this to sort by
more than one criterion. For example, if you use
rmail-sort-by-date and then
messages from the same author appear in order by date.
With a numeric argument, all these commands reverse the order of comparison. This means
they sort messages from newest to oldest, from biggest to smallest, or in reverse
Rmail reformats the header of each message before
displaying it for the first time. Reformatting hides uninteresting header fields to reduce
clutter. You can use the t command to show
the entire header or to repeat the header reformatting operation.
- t Toggle display of complete header (
Reformatting the header involves deleting most header fields, on the grounds that they
are not interesting. The variable
holds a regular expression that specifies which header fields to hide in this way---if it
matches the beginning of a header field, that whole field is hidden.
Rmail saves the complete original header before reformatting; to see it, use the t
discards the reformatted headers of the current message
and displays it with the original header. Repeating t reformats the message again. Selecting
the message again also reformats.
One consequence of this is that if you edit the reformatted header (using e;
see section Editing Within a Message), subsequent use of
t will discard your edits. On the other hand, if you use e after t,
to edit the original (unreformatted) header, those changes are permanent.
When used with a window system that supports
multiple fonts, Rmail highlights certain header fields that are especially
interesting---by default, the From and Subject fields. The variable
rmail-highlighted-headers holds a
regular expression that specifies the header fields to highlight; if it matches the
beginning of a header field, that whole field is highlighted.
If you specify unusual colors for your text
foreground and background, the colors used for highlighting
may not go well with them. If so, specify different colors for the
face. That is worth doing because the
highlight face is used for other kinds
of highlighting as well. See section Using Multiple Typefaces, for how to do this.
To turn off highlighting entirely in Rmail, set
Most of the usual Emacs commands are available in Rmail mode, though a few, such as C-M-n
and C-M-h, are redefined by Rmail for other purposes. However, the Rmail buffer is normally read only, and most of the letters are
redefined as Rmail commands. If you want to edit the text
of a message, you must use the Rmail command e.
- e Edit the current message as ordinary text.
The e command (
rmail-edit-current-message) switches from Rmail mode into Rmail Edit
mode, another major mode which is nearly the same as Text
mode. The mode line indicates this change.
In Rmail Edit mode, letters insert themselves as usual and the Rmail commands are not
available. When you are finished editing the message
and are ready to go back to Rmail, type C-c C-c, which switches back to Rmail
mode. Alternatively, you can return to Rmail mode but cancel all the editing that you have
done, by typing C-c C-].
Entering Rmail Edit mode runs the hook
then it runs the hook
rmail-edit-mode-hook (see section Hooks). It adds the attribute edited to the message.
A digest message is a message which exists to contain and carry several other
messages. Digests are used on some moderated mailing lists; all the messages that arrive
for the list during a period of time such as one day
are put inside a single digest which is then sent to the subscribers. Transmitting the
single digest uses much less computer time than transmitting the individual messages even
though the total size is the same, because the per-message
overhead in network mail transmission is considerable.
When you receive a digest message, the most
convenient way to read it is to undigestify it: to turn it back into many
individual messages. Then you can read and delete the individual messages as it suits you.
To do this, select the digest message and type the command M-x undigestify-rmail-message. This extracts the submessages as separate
Rmail messages, and inserts them following the digest. The digest message itself is flagged as deleted.
The command M-x unrmail converts a file
in Rmail format to inbox format (also known as the
system mailbox format), so that you can use it with other mail-editing
tools. You must specify two arguments, the name of the Rmail file and the name to use for
the converted file. M-x unrmail does not alter the Rmail file itself.
Mailing list messages that might offend some readers
are sometimes encoded in a simple code called rot13---so named because it
rotates the alphabet by 13 letters. This code is not for secrecy, as it provides none;
rather, it enables those who might be offended to avoid ever seeing the real text of the message.
To view a buffer using the rot13 code, use the command M-x rot13-other-window. This displays the current buffer in another window
which applies the code when displaying the text.