alex - extract addresses from message headers (only available
within the message handling system, mh)
alex [+folder] [msgs] [options]
Accepts an address that you type in, rather than taking an
address from a message. If any -field option is specified,
it is ignored. Specifies the name of the alias file, in
which aliases are placed. You must provide a file name or
a dash (-) as an argument with this option. There is no
default value. If the value given for this option is -, or
the option is not specified, alex will print the output to
your screen. If you do not give the full pathname of your
alias file, alex will look for the alias file in your Mail
directory, as specified in the Path field of your file. If
alex cannot locate the alias file in the directory that
you specify, it will ask you whether or not you wish to
You can set up an alias file to be used by alex in
your mh_profile(4) for more information. Like
other mail commands, alex uses the Aliasfile entry
to find the alias file. Prevents any repetition of
the same address in the output of an alex command.
You can use this option when there are multiple
occurrences of an address in an address group and
you want just one occurrence of it in your alias.
The default is -nocompress. Specifies the name of
a header field. The name of the field is not casesensitive.
If you specify this option without providing
an argument, the default values are: -field
reply-to/sender/from/to. You can set up your own
default values for the -field option in your
Examples of field names are From, cc and To. You
must not type a colon after the name of a field.
When more field names follow, in the form /name,
the message header is searched for each of the
fields in turn until one is found. Only the first
header field found to contain an address is used;
the rest are ignored.
The option -nofield excludes the named field.
The special name, all, means all fields, and can be
used as a value for the -nofield option to override
any default order of header fields, otherwise
-field values are appended to any default values.
Specifies that any address replacements or appendings
will apply to all occurrences of that alias
name. Normally, if an alias name is entered in the
alias file more than once, any actions performed by
alex are performed only on the first occurrence of
that alias name. The -global option ensures that
any changes are made to all occurrences of the
alias. Whenever this option is specified, a message
is broadcast to your screen telling you how many
entries in the alias file have been changed.
Prints a list of the valid options for this command.
Specifies the alias name for address information
extracted. The alex command appends a colon
(:) to the name as required by mh-alias(4). If you
do not specify this option,alex will print
extracted addresses to your screen. If you specify
this option, you must provide an argument; there is
no default value. Extracts addresses interactively.
Before adding each address of a list of
extracted addresses to an alias group, the mail
system will ask you whether you wish the address to
be added. The query prompt is written on the standard
error output. The default is -noquery.
Replaces existing alias with the new list of
addresses. By default, if there is an existing
alias with the same name as the one you are trying
to create, alex appends the new address list to the
old alias. If an address appears in both address
groups, it is still appended, so that it appears
twice in the new alias. You can specify this
explicitly by using the -noreplace option. If you
specify the -replace option, the new list of
addresses replaces the existing group. The default
is -noreplace. Specifies the maximum width of your
alias file line. If an alias group extends beyond
this length, it is continued on the next line, with
a backslash (\) at end of the first line. Any X.400
addresses which are longer than the maximum line
length specified by this option are automatically
wrapped onto the next line. This option affects the
format of each individual entry when it is implemented;
any subsequent or previous entries in the
alias file remain the same. The default is 72 characters.
The address line extraction utility alex extracts electronic
mail addresses from message headers and prints the
addresses on your screen or places them, with a specified
alias name, in an alias file.
By default, alex searches for addresses in the current
message in the current folder. You can list the messages
you wish alex to search giving a msgs argument. You can
also search messages in a different folder by giving a
You define the fields from which you want addresses by
using combinations of field names with the -field option.
You can also supply an address yourself as a value to the
-address option. Results are printed either to your screen
or to a file in mh-alias(4) format. Where there is an
address group in the alias file with an alias name identical
to one you have specified in an alex command, it may
be replaced or the new addresses appended. A copy of the
original alias file is kept.
By default, alex searches the Reply-to:, Sender:, From:
and To: header fields in that order until an address is
found. You can set up your own default values for alex in
your file; see mh_profile(4).
When giving options to the alex command, generally the
shortest unique abbreviation suffices.
Because the -nofield option can take the value all as an
argument, alex will not recognize a header field called
All. If you wish to use such a header field, you should
call it X-all.
If a command line contains contradictory arguments then
the last value specified is used. For example, in the following
command, alex only uses the options -name fred and
-noreplace: % alex -name sam -name fred -replace -noreplace
This example takes the address from the From field of the
current message, and places it in your alias file with the
alias name bob: % alex -field from -alias aliases -name
bob The following example shows what happens if you specify
an alias file that does not exist. You are asked
whether you want to create the file; enter y to create it:
% alex -field from -name bob -alias aliases Create alias
file "HOME/Mail/aliases"? y The next example takes
addresses from two fields, From and cc, and saves them as
the alias sales_team: % alex -field from -field cc -alias
aliases -name sales_team
Your user profile.
ali(1), mh(1), pick(1), mh-alias(4), mh_profile(4)
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