mailx, Mail - Sends and receives mail
mailx [-dinvF] [-h number] [-r address] [-s subject]
Mail [-dinvF] [-h number] [-r address] [-s subject]
Handling Mail [Toc] [Back]
mailx [-dinNveH] -f [file]
Mail [-dinNveH] -f [file]
mailx [-dinNveH] [-u user]
Mail [-dinNveH] [-u user]
The mailx and Mail commands allow you to read, write,
send, receive, store, and discard mail messages.
[Tru64 UNIX] See the section Internationalization under
the DESCRIPTION section for more information about the
internationalization features of the mailx command.
Interfaces documented on this reference page conform to
industry standards as follows:
Refer to the standards(5) reference page for more information
about industry standards and associated tags.
Causes the mailx command to display debugging information.
Messages are not sent while in debug mode. Tests for the
presence of mail. The mailx command prints nothing and
exits with a successful return code if there is mail to
read. Reads in the contents of your mbox or the specified
file for processing. When you quit, mailx writes
undeleted messages back to this file. Records the message
in a file named after the first recipient. Overrides the
record option, if set. Specifies the number of network
"hops" made so far. This is provided for network software
to avoid infinite loops. Prints header summary only.
Ignores tty Interrupt signals. Useful when using mailx on
noisy phone lines. Inhibits the reading of the
/usr/share/lib/Mail.rc file. Suppresses the initial
printing of headers. Changes sender's address to address.
The original sender must be a trusted user. See sendmail(8) for more information on trusted users. Specifies
a subject for a message to be created. Activates mailx
for a specified users mailbox; short way of doing mailx -f
/var/spool/mail/user. You must have access permission to
the specified user's mailbox. Puts mailx into verbose
mode. Details of delivery are displayed on the user's
The mailx and Mail commands allow you to do the following:
Compose a message and send it. Receive a message and look
at it. Store received messages in your mailbox or in
folders. Discard messages.
The mailx command uses two types of mailboxes: the system
mailbox and the personal mailbox. The system mailbox is a
file assigned to a particular user. The file is created
when mail arrives for a user ID, and it is deleted when
all the messages are removed from the file. It is not
deleted if you have specified the keep option in your
file, or if the /var/spool/mail directory has no write
permissions for other. A separate system mailbox can
exist for each user ID on the system. The mailx command
keeps all system mailboxes in the directory
/var/spool/mail. Each system mailbox is named by the user
ID associated with it. For example, if your user ID is
jeanne, then your system mailbox is
The personal mailbox is a file assigned to a particular
user. The mailx command creates a file with the name
$HOME/mbox when you receive mail from the system mailbox.
For example, if your home directory is /u/lance, the mailx
command creates the file /u/lance/mbox as your personal
mailbox. The system deletes this file when all messages
are removed from the personal mailbox. When you use the
mailx command to view mail in your system mailbox, the
mailx command automatically puts all messages that you
have read but did not delete into your personal mailbox.
The messages remain in your personal mailbox until you
move them to a folder or delete them.
Folders provide a way to save messages in an organized
fashion. You can create as many folders as you need.
Name each folder according to the subject matter of the
messages that it contains. Using the mailx command, you
can put a message into a folder from your system mailbox,
from your personal mailbox, from the dead.letter file, or
from another folder.
To send a message to one or more persons, enter mailx on
the command line with arguments that are the network
addresses of the people you want to receive the message.
When mailx starts, you can type the message using an editor
such as ed. When you are finished with the message,
press <Return> at the end of a line, and use an End-ofFile
key sequence at the beginning of the next line to
exit the editor and send the message.
When mail arrives for you from another user, the mail system
puts the mail in your system mailbox
(/var/spool/mail/user). The command shell will notify you
that mail has arrived before displaying its next prompt
(that is, notification is synchronous), provided that the
MAIL environment variable is set and the interval specified
by MAILCHECK (mail for csh) has elapsed since the
shell last checked for mail. If you are logged in, the
shell sends a message to your terminal to tell you that
new mail has arrived. If you are not logged in, a message
is sent to your terminal the next time you log in. The
notification message is the value of the MAILMSG environment
variable. The default message is as follows: [YOU
HAVE NEW MAIL]
To look at the contents of your mailbox, enter the mailx
command without options on the command line. The program
displays a listing of the messages in your mailbox and
allows you to look at them, reply to them, save them, dispose
of them, and so on.
[Tru64 UNIX] Tru64 UNIX provides locking for the mailbox
files. The style of locking used depends on how it is set
in the rc.config.common file. For more information, see
Reading Incoming Mail [Toc] [Back]
To receive and read incoming mail, enter mailx with no
The mailx command then checks your system mailbox
(/var/spool/mail/user) and displays a one-line entry for
each message in the system mailbox similar to the following:
"/var/spool/mail/geo": 2 messages 2 new >N 1 amy Thu
Sep 17 14:36 13/359 "Dept Meeting"
N 2 amy Thu Sep 17 16:28 13/416 "Dept Meeting Delayed"
The > (right angle bracket) indicates the current message,
or the message that subcommands act on if you do not specify
a message number or list of message numbers. The
first field for each message contains a one-letter indicator
of the status of the message. Possible indicators are
as follows: The message is stored in your personal mailbox.
The message is new. The message is held (preserved)
in your system mailbox. You have read the message. The
message is unread. The message was listed in the mailbox
before, but you have not looked at the contents of the
message. You have saved or written the message to a file
or folder. The message was read, but was not deleted or
The other fields in the listing (in order) represent: The
number that mailbox subcommands use to refer to the message.
User address of the sender. Date the message was
received, including day of the week, month, day, and time.
Size of the message in number of lines and characters,
including header information. The contents of the subject
field of the message, if the message has one.
From the mailbox prompt (?), you can enter subcommands to
look at, reply to, save, discard, or otherwise manage the
contents of the mailbox. To display a summary of some of
the subcommands that you can use to handle mail in your
mailbox, enter a ? (question mark) at the mailbox prompt.
Note that the behavior of the <Return> key has changed for
XCU4.2 compliance. Using this key with no following argument
now causes the current message to be displayed, and
not the next message.
Many mailbox subcommands allow you to specify groups of
messages upon which to perform the subcommand. Subcommands
that allow groups of messages use the argument message_list
in the command format. For example, the format
of the from (or f) subcommand (display information about
messages) appears as:
? from [message_list]
In this format, message_list can be one of the following:
One or more message numbers separated by spaces. For
? f 1 2 4 7 A range of message numbers indicated by
the first and last numbers in the range separated
by a dash. For example, the following subcommand:
? f 2-5
is the same as:
? f 2 3 4 5 An example of one or more addresses
separated by spaces to apply the subcommand to messages
received from those addresses follows:
? f amy geo@zeus
The characters entered for an address need not
match the address exactly. They must only be contained
in the address field of the messages in
either uppercase or lowercase letters. Therefore,
the request for address amy matches all of the following
addresses (and many others): amy AmY
amy@zeus hamy A string, preceded by a / (slash), to
match against the Subject: field of the messages
? f /meet
This applies the subcommand to all messages whose
Subject: field contains the letters meet in uppercase
or lowercase. The characters entered for a
match pattern do not have to match the Subject:
field exactly. They must only be contained in the
Subject: field of the messages in either uppercase
or lowercase. Therefore, the request for subject
meet matches all of the following subjects (and
many others): Meeting on Thursday Come to meeting
tomorrow MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
The special character (dot) addresses the current message,
* (asterisk) addresses all messages, ^ (circumflex)
addresses the first undeleted message, and $ (dollar sign)
addresses the last message. The character sequence :c
addresses all messages of type c, where c is one of the
following: Deleted messages New messages Old messages Read
messages Unread messages
All commands that take a message list will default to the
current message number if no list is specified.
When the mailx command is processing a mailbox, the mailbox
prompt (?) is displayed to indicate that it is waiting
for input. When this prompt is displayed, you can enter
any of the following mailbox subcommands. The subcommand
abbreviation in parentheses can be used instead of the
full subcommand name. Echoes the number of the current
message. Allows you to write comments in mail script
files. Goes to the previous message and displays it. If
given a number argument of n, goes to the nth previous
message and displays it. Displays a brief summary of
mailbox subcommands. Executes shell_command. Displays
all currently defined aliases. With the argument of a
previously defined alias, displays the expansion of the
alias. With at least two arguments, alias and address_list
(a space-separated list of addresses), creates a new alias
or changes an old alias. Identical to the group subcommand.
Informs mailx that the addresses listed in alternate_list
all refer to you. The alternates subcommand is
useful if you have accounts on several machines. Then,
when you reply to messages, mailx does not send a copy of
the message to any of the addresses given in alternate_list.
If you enter the alternate subcommand with no
argument, mailx displays the current set of alternate
names. Changes your working directory to directory. If
no directory is given, it changes to your login directory.
Appends each message in message_list in turn to the end of
file. Displays the filename in quotes, followed by the
line count and character count, on your terminal. Does not
mark the appended messages for deletion when you quit.
Saves the specified messages in a file whose name is
derived from the author of the message to be saved, without
marking the messages as saved. Otherwise equivalent
to the Save subcommand. Marks the messages in message_list
to be deleted when you quit mailx. Deleted messages
are not saved in mbox, nor are they available for
most other subcommands. However, you can restore messages
that you have deleted while in the same mailbox session
(see the undelete subcommand). If you delete a message and
either change to another mailbox or quit the mailbox with
the quit subcommand, the deleted message cannot be
recalled. Identical to the ignore subcommand. Deletes
the current message and displays the next message. If
there is no next message, mailx displays the message, at
EOF. Identical to the dp subcommand. Displays the character
string string on the command line. Invokes the
alternate editor that you can define with the set EDITOR=
statement and loads message_list into the editor. When you
exit the editor, any changes made during the editing session
are saved in the messages in message_list. The
default editor is /usr/bin/ex. Exits to the shell without
changing the mailbox being processed. The mailbox returns
to the condition that it was in when mailx was started.
Messages marked to be deleted are not deleted. Identical
to the xit subcommand. Identical to the folder subcommand.
Switches to a new mail file or folder. With no
arguments, displays the name of the mailbox that you are
currently reading. If an argument is included, it stores
the current mailbox with changes (such as messages
deleted) and reads in the new mailbox specified by the
name argument. Identical to the file subcommand.
Some special conventions are recognized for the
name: Refers to the previous file. Refers to the
system mailbox (/var/spool/mail/user). Refers to
your personal mailbox ($HOME/mbox). Refers to a
file in your folder directory (determined by the
value of the folder option; see Enabling and Disabling
Options). Lists the names of the folders in
your folder directory (see the folder option in
Enabling and Disabling Options). Responds to a
message, recording the response in a file whose
name is derived from the author of the message.
Overrides the record option, if set. (See also the
Followup, Save, and Copy subcommands and the outfolder
option.) Responds to the first message in
message_list, sending the message to the author of
each message in message_list. The subject line is
taken from the first message and the response is
recorded in a file whose name is derived from the
author of the first message. (See also the followup,
Save, and Copy commands and the outfolder
option.) Displays the headers of messages in message_list.
Identical to the alias subcommand.
Lists the headers in the current group of messages
(each group of messages contains 20 messages by
default; change this with the set screen= statement).
If the mailbox contains more messages than
can be displayed on the screen at one time, information
about only the first group of messages is
displayed. To see information about the rest of
the messages, use the h subcommand with a message
number that is in the next range of messages, or
use the z subcommand to change the current message
group. Displays a brief summary of mailbox subcommands.
Identical to the ? (question mark) subcommand.
Marks each message in message_list to be
saved in your system mailbox (/var/spool/mail/user)
instead of in $HOME/mbox. Does not override the
delete subcommand. Identical to the preserve subcommand.
Construction for conditional execution of
mailx subcommands. Subcommands following if are
executed if condition is TRUE. Subcommands following
else are executed if condition is not TRUE.
The else is not required. The endif subcommand ends
the construction and is required. The condition can
be receive (receiving mail) or send (sending mail).
Adds the header fields in field_list to the list of
fields to be ignored. Ignored fields are not displayed
when you look at a message with the type or
print subcommands. Use this subcommand to suppress
machine-generated header fields. Use the Type and
Print subcommands to print a message in its
entirety, including ignored fields. If ignore is
executed with no arguments, it lists the current
set of ignored fields. Identical to the discard
subcommand. Displays a list of valid mailx subcommands.
Lists other names for the local host.
Activates the mail editor to allow you to create
and send a message to people specified in
address_list. The newly created message is independent
from any received messages. Indicates that
the messages in message_list be sent to your personal
mailbox when you quit. This operation is the
default action for messages that you have looked at
if you are looking at your system mailbox and the
hold option is not set. Displays the messages
inmessage_list using the defined pager program to
control the display to the screen. Identical to the
page subcommand. Like more, but also displays
ignored header fields. (See more and ignore.)
Marks each message in message_list as not having
been read. Identical to the New, unread, and Unread
subcommands. Marks each message in message_list as
not having been read. Identical to the new, unread,
and Unread subcommands. Makes the next message in
the mailbox the current message, and displays that
message. With an argument list, it displays the
next matching message. Displays the messages in
message_list using the defined pager program to
control the display to the screen. Identical to the
more subcommand. Like the page subcommand, but
also displays ignored header fields. Identical to
the More subcommand. Pipes the message through
shell_command. The message is treated as if it
were read. If no arguments are given, the current
message is piped through the command specified by
the value of the cmd option. If the page option is
set, a formfeed character is inserted after each
message. Identical to the hold subcommand. Displays
the messages in message_list. Identical to
the type subcommand, or simply pressing the
<Return> key with no argument. Like print, but
also displays ignored header fields. (See print
and ignore.) Identical to the Type subcommand.
Ends the session and returns to the shell. All
messages that were not deleted or saved are stored
in your personal mailbox ($HOME/mbox). All messages
marked with hold or preserve and those messages
that you did not look at are saved in the
system mailbox (/var/spool/mail/user). If the quit
subcommand is given while editing a mailbox file
with the -f option, then the edit file is saved
with the changes. If the edit file cannot be
saved, mailx does not exit. Use the exit subcommand
to exit without saving the changes. Allows
you to reply to the sender of message and to all
others who received copies of message. Identical to
the respond subcommand. Allows you to reply only
to the sender of message. Identical to the Respond
subcommand. Allows you to reply to the sender of
message and to all others who received copies of
message. Identical to the reply subcommand. Allows
you to reply only to the sender of message. Identical
to the Reply subcommand. Adds the header
fields in field_list to the list of fields to be
retained. Retained fields are displayed when you
look at a message with the type or print subcommands.
Use this subcommand to define which header
fields you want displayed. Use the Type and Print
subcommands to print a message in its entirety,
including fields that are not retained. If retain
is executed with no arguments, it lists the current
set of retained fields. Saves message_list,
including header information, to file (or to a
folder). If file already exists, message_list is
appended to file. Displays the filename and the
size of the file when the operation is complete. If
you save a message to a file, that message is not
returned to the system mailbox nor saved in your
personal mailbox when you quit the mailx command.
If a filename is not specified, the mailx command
saves the messages in your personal mailbox. Saves
the specified messages in a file whose name is
derived from the author of the first message. The
name of the file is taken to be the author's name
with all network addressing stripped off. (See
also the Copy, followup, and Followup subcommands,
and the outfolder option.) Displays the options
that are currently enabled. If arguments are specified,
sets options in option_list (a list of binary
options, those that are either set or not set); or
sets an option that must be assigned a value. (See
Enabling and Disabling Options for a description of
valid options.) Invokes an interactive version of
the shell. Displays the sizes in lines and characters
of the messages in message_list. Reads and
executes the mailx commands from file. Displays
the top few lines of the messages specified by message_list.
The number of lines displayed is determined
by the valued option toplines and defaults to
5. Marks the messages in message_list to be moved
from your system mailbox to your personal mailbox
when you quit the mailx command, even though you
have not read the listed messages. The messages
appear in your personal mailbox as unread messages.
When you use touch, the last message in message_list
becomes the current message. Displays
the messages in message_list. Identical to the
print subcommand. Like type, but also displays
ignored header fields. (See type and ignore.)
Identical to the Print subcommand. Deletes the
specified alias names. If a specified alias does
not exist, the results are unspecified. Removes
the messages in message_list from the list of messages
to be deleted when you quit mailx. Without a
message_list, undelete recalls the last deleted
message. Marks each message in message_list as not
having been read. Identical to the new, New, and
Unread subcommands. Marks each message in message_list
as not having been read. Identical to the
new, New, and unread subcommands. Discards the
values of the options specified in option_list.
This action is the inverse of the set subcommand.
Displays the version banner for the mailx command.
Invokes the visual editor and loads message_list
into the editor. (This editor can be defined with
the set VISUAL= statement.) When you exit the editor,
any changes made during the editing session
are saved back to the messages in message_list.
Appends the messages specified in message_list to
file. Displays the filename and the size of the
file when the operation is complete. Does not
include message headers in the file. Identical to
the exit subcommand. Changes the current message
group (group of 20 messages) and displays the headers
of the messages in that group. If a + or no
argument is given, then headers in the next group
are shown. If a - argument is given, the headers
in the previous group are shown.
Sending Mail [Toc] [Back]
You can use the mailx command in one of two ways to send
information. You can use the mailx command's built-in editor
to both compose and send a short message. You can
also use the mailx command to send any text file to
another user. The file can be a letter you have written
using your favorite editor, a source file for a program
you have written, or any other file in text format.
The mailx command provides a line-oriented editor for composing
messages. This editor allows you to enter each line
of the message and then press <Return> to get a new line
to enter more text. You cannot change the text after you
press <Return>. However, before you press <Return>, you
can change text on the current line by using <Backspace>
and <Delete> to erase the text and then enter the replacement
text. Although you cannot change text on a line once
you have pressed <Return>, you can change the contents of
your message before sending it by using the visual or edit
subcommand to edit the message.
By default, mailx treats lines beginning with the ~
(tilde) character as special while you are composing a
message. For instance, entering ~m on a line by itself
places a copy of the current message into the response,
shifting it to the right by one tab stop.
Other escapes set up subject fields, add and delete recipients
of the message, and allow you to escape to an editor
to revise the message, or to a shell to run other commands.
You can change the Escape character to something
other than a tilde with the set escape= statement. To
view a summary of many useful commands, enter ~? on a
line by itself while in the mail editor.
The following list provides a summary of the mail editor
commands. Use these commands only while in the mail editor.
The editor recognizes commands only if you enter
them at the beginning of a new line. Escapes to command
mode. Displays a summary of the mailx subcommands. Executes
the shell command and returns to the message. Simulates
End-of-File (terminates message input). Performs
the command-level request. Valid only when sending a message
while reading mail. Inserts the autograph string
from the sign= option into the message. Inserts the autograph
string from the Sign= option into the message. Adds
names in address_list to the list of people to receive
blind copies of the message. Can only be used to add to
(not to change or delete) the contents of the Bcc: list.
Adds names in address_list to the list of people to
receive copies of the message. Can only be used to add to
(not to change or delete) the contents of the Cc: list.
Dumps core. Appends the file dead.letter from your home
directory to the current end of the message. Invokes the
alternate editor using the text of the current message as
input. (This editor can be defined with the set EDITOR=
statement.) When you exit that editor, you return to the
mail editor, where you can continue appending text to the
message, or you can send the message by quitting the mailx
command. Includes one or more additional messages in the
current message to forward to another user. This subcommand
reads each message in message_list and appends it to
the end of the current message, but it does not indent the
appended messages. This subcommand is also used to append
messages for reference when the margins are too wide to
imbed with the ~m subcommand. The ~f subcommand works
only if you entered the mail editor from the mailbox
prompt using the mail subcommand, the reply subcommand, or
the Reply subcommand. Performs the same operation as the
~f command escape, except that all headers are included in
the message, regardless of previous discard, ignore, and
retain commands. Allows you to add or to change information
in all of the header fields. The system displays each
of the four header fields, one at a time. You can view
the contents of each field and delete or add information
to that field. Press <Return> to save any changes to that
field and to display the next field and its contents.
Inserts the value of the named option into the text of the
message. For example, ~A is equivalent to ~i Sign. Reads
message_list into the current messagefor reference purposes.
This subcommand reads each message in message_list
and appends it to the current message. The included message
is indented one tab character from the normal left
margin of the message. This subcommand works only if you
entered the mail editor from the mailbox prompt using the
mail subcommand, the reply subcommand, or the Reply subcommand.
If no messages are specified, it reads the current
message. Performs the same operation as the ~m command
escape, except that all headers are included in the
message, regardless of previous discard, ignore, and
retain commands. Displays the message as it currently
exists, prefaced by the message header fields. Quits the
editor, aborting the message being created without sending
it. Saves the message in the dead.letter file in your home
directory, unless the nosave option is set. The previous
contents of the dead.letter file are overwritten by the
partially completed message.
You can also quit the editor by using the Interrupt
key sequence. Reads the named file into the message.
If the argument begins with !, the rest of
the string is taken as an arbitrary system command
and is executed, with the standard output inserted
into the message. Changes the Subject: field to
the phrase specified in string. Adds the addresses
in address_list to the To: field of the message.
Can only be used to add to (not to change or
delete) the contents of the To: list. Invokes the
visual editor using the text of the current message
as the input file. (This editor can be defined
using the set VISUAL= statement.) When you exit
that editor, you return to the mail editor, where
you can continue appending text to the message, or
you can send the message by quitting the mailx command.
Writes the message to the named file. Exits
as with ~q, except the message is not saved in
dead.letter. Pipes the message through command as
a filter. If command gives no output or terminates
abnormally, it retains the original text of the
message. Otherwise, the output of command replaces
the current message. The fmt command is often used
as command to format the message. Allows you to
use the ~ (tilde) character in a message without it
being interpreted as a command prefix. The
sequence ~~ (two tildes) results in only one ~
being sent in the message.
Customizing the Mail Program [Toc] [Back]
The system manager uses the /usr/share/lib/Mail.rc file to
define the initial configuration for the mailx command.
The subcommands in this file override the default characteristics
of the mailx command for all users on the system.
Although the initial configuration can meet the
needs of most users, you can alter it by creating the
$HOME/.mailrc file. Subcommands in this file override
similar subcommands in /usr/share/lib/Mail.rc when you run
the mailx command. The following subcommands are not
legal in the start-up file: !, Copy, edit, followup, Followup,
hold, mail, preserve, reply, Reply, shell, and
There are four mail subcommands that are most commonly
used to alter the characteristics of the mailx session:
set, unset, alias, and ignore. The set and unset subcommands
enable and disable mail options, the alias subcommand
shortens how you address mail, and the ignore subcommand
suppresses message header fields.
Enabling and Disabling Options [Toc] [Back]
The following are environment variables taken from the
execution environment and are not alterable within mailx:
The name of the locale for performing character conversions
on outgoing messages. The pathname of the user's
home directory. The name of the locale for displaying
mail messages. The name of the start-up file. The
default is $HOME/.mailrc.
Use the set subcommand to enable options and the unset
subcommand to disable options. Options can be either
binary or valued. Binary options are either set or unset,
while valued options can be set to a specific value. You
can set options by placing set subcommand lines in your
The syntax for enabling options using the set subcommand
is as follows: set [option_list | option=value]
The syntax for disabling options using the unset subcommand
is as follows: unset [option_list]
The following is a list of binary options (those that can
be set or unset): Off by default; all network names with
the same login name are treated as being the same. Causes
messages saved in mbox to be appended (added to the end)
rather than prepended (added to the beginning). Causes
mailx to prompt you for the subject of each message you
send. If you respond with a newline (carriage return), no
subject field is set. This option is enabled by default.
Causes mailx to prompt you for the address of people to
receive blind carbon copies of the message. Responding
with a newline indicates satisfaction with the current
list. The default is noaskbcc. Causes you to be prompted
for the addresses of people to receive copies of the message.
Responding with a newline indicates your satisfaction
with the current list. Prompts for subject if it is
not specified on the command line with the -s option.
Identical to ask. Causes the delete subcommand to behave
like dp. Thus, after deleting a message, the next one is
typed automatically. Enables the special-case treatment
of ! (exclamation points) in escape command lines as in
vi. The default is nobang. Causes mailx to display
debugging information. The mailx command does not send
mail while in debug mode. Same as specifying -d on the
command line. Causes mailx to interpret a period alone on
a line as the terminator of a message you are sending.
Reverses the meaning of the R and r commands. The default
is noflipr. Enables printing of the header summary when
entering mailx. This option is enabled by default. Holds
messages in the system mailbox by default. Causes Interrupt
signals from your terminal to be ignored and echoed
as @'s. Makes mailx refuse to accept End-of-File key
sequence as the end of a message or as the quit subcommand.
Related to the dot subcommand. Truncates the mailbox
to zero length when it is empty, instead of removing
it. This option is disabled by default. Keeps messages
that have been saved in other files in the mailbox,
instead of deleting them. The default is nokeepsave.
Causes the sender to be included in the alias expansion,
and thus receives copies of messages. Usually, when an
alias containing the sender is expanded, the sender is
removed from the expansion. Used when replying to a message
sent to several users and prevents the addresses of
the recipients from being made relative to the address of
the original author. You can use this variable only on a
network where all systems can connect to one another
directly. Prevents mailx from copying the partial letter
to the file dead.letter in your home directory when a message
is terminated with two Interrupt key sequences.
Causes the files used to record outgoing messages to be
located in the directory specified by the folder option
unless the pathname is absolute. The default is nooutfolder.
(See the folder option and the Save, Copy, followup,
and Followup subcommands.) Inserts a formfeed
after each message sent through the pipe when used with
the pipe command. The default is nopage. Suppresses the
printing of the program banner when mailx starts. (The
banner is the line that shows the name of the mail
program.) Reverses the sense of the reply and Reply mailbox
subcommands. Enables saving of messages in dead.letter
on interrupt or delivery error. (See DEAD= for a
description of this file. This option is enabled by
default.) Waits for the background mailer to finish
before returning. The default is nosendwait. Prints the
recipient's name instead of the author's name when displaying
the header summary and the message is from the
user. Runs mailx in verbose mode; the actual delivery of
messages is displayed on the user's terminal. Same as
using the -v option on the command line.
The following is a list of valued options (those that can
be assigned a value). The syntax for assigning values is
set option=value. Sets the default command for the pipe
subcommand. There is no default value. Off by default;
used to convert uucp addresses for sendmail. Causes the
paging program to automatically be invoked for messages
that exceed number lines. Specifies the name of the file
in which to save partial letters in case of untimely
interrupt or delivery errors. The default is
$HOME/dead.letter. Defines the text editor invoked by the
~e and edit subcommands. The absolute pathname must be
given. The default editor is /usr/bin/ex. Defines a
character to use in the place of ~ (tilde) to denote
escapes. Sets the locale for performing character conversion
on outgoing messages. The default is None. Defines
the name of the directory to use for storing folders of
messages. If this name begins with a / (slash), mailx
considers it to be an absolute pathname; otherwise, the
folder directory is found relative to your home directory.
Specifies a string that is prefixed to each line inserted
into the message by the ~m command escape. The default
string is one <Tab> character. Sets the locale for displaying
mail messages. The default is C. Specifies the
command (and arguments) to use when listing the contents
of the folder directory. The default is ls. Specifies
the name of the system mailbox, by default
/var/spool/mail/username. Specifies the name of the file
in which to save messages that have been read. The exit
subcommand overrides this function, as does saving the
message explicitly in another file. The default is
$HOME/mbox. Specifies the pathname of the paging program
to use for the more subcommand or when the crt option is
set. If you do not specify a value for PAGER, the system
uses /usr/bin/pg. Sets the command mode prompt to string.
The default is ?. Specifies the pathname of the file
(relative to $HOME) used to record all outgoing mail. A
copy of all the messages you send out is saved in this
file. Review this file periodically and delete all unnecessary
The mailx subcommands do not create directories, so
any directories included in the pathname must
already exist before using this subcommand. Do not
include the home directory as part of the pathname.
If record is not defined, then copies of outgoing
mail are not saved. Controls how many lines of the
message list are displayed at a time. You can set
this option to show a certain number of lines on
the screen. Each message in your mailbox has a
one-line header in the message list. If you have
more than 24 messages, the first headers from the
message list scroll past the top of your screen
whenever you display the list. Specifies an alternative
command for delivering mail. Specifies the
pathname of the shell to use in the ! and ~! subcommands.
If this option is not defined, your
default shell is used. Specifies the variable
inserted into the text of a message when the ~a
(autograph) subcommand is given. (See also the ~i
tilde escape.) There is no default value. Specifies
the variable inserted into the text of a message
when the ~A subcommand is given. (See also
the ~i tilde escape.) There is no default value.
Specifies the number of lines of a message to be
displayed with the top subcommand; normally, the
first five lines are displayed. Specifies the
pathname of the text editor to use in the visual
and ~v subcommands. The default pathname is
Creating Aliases and Distribution Lists [Toc] [Back]
If you send mail on a large network or often send the same
message to a large number of people, entering long
addresses for each receiver can become tedious. To simplify
this process, you can create an alias or a distribution
list in your $HOME/.mailrc file.
An alias is a name you define that can be used in place of
a user address when you address mail. A distribution list
is a name that you define that can be used in place of a
group of user addresses when you address mail.
Aliases and distribution lists are used the same way and
defined in similar ways; the only difference is the number
of addresses defined for an alias (one address) and a distribution
list (more than one address).
Changing the Information at the Top of a Message [Toc] [Back]
You can use the ignore subcommand to suppress message
header fields that are normally displayed when you read a
message using the type or print subcommands. The four
message header fields are To, Subject, Cc, and Bcc.
The syntax of the ignore subcommand is as follows: ignore
Note that fields are specified without a trailing :
(colon). You can include the fields you want to ignore in
your $HOME/.mailrc file.
Internationalization [Toc] [Back]
[Tru64 UNIX] The mailx command supports codeset conversion
of mail messages between the mail interchange code
(specified by the EXCODE environment variable) used to
transmit messages to other hosts and the application code
(specified by the LANG environment variable) used by the
user. For example, if the mail interchange code is
ISO-2022-JP and the application code is eucJP, the mailx
program converts incoming messages from ISO-2022-JP to the
Japanese EUC character set when displaying them and converts
outgoing mail message from the Japanese EUC character
set to ISO-2022-JP.
To prevent data loss, incoming mail messages are stored in
the mail folders as received, without conversion. The
conversion takes place when you display or extract mail
To encode the mail interchange code information, new
header lines are added to the outgoing mail messages. For
example, if the mail interchange code is ISO-2022-JP, the
following additional header lines are added:
Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN;
The charset field of the Content-Type header line provides
the mail interchange code information. For non-ISO codesets,
the prefix X- is added to the character set name for
identification purposes. For example:
Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=XeucJP
For incoming mail messages, the mail interchange to be
used is determined by the charset field of the additional
header lines, if present.
For outgoing mail messages, the following rules determine
the mail interchange code to be used: The EXCODE environment
variable. The excode valued option defined in
$HOME/.mailrc or /usr/share/lib/Mail.rc
The application code is determined from the codeset part
of the following locale information: The LANG environment
variable. The lang valued option defined in $HOME/.mailrc
or /usr/share/lib/Mail.rc Defaults to C.
Note that you must specify a mail interchange code to do
character conversion. There are no defaults.
All messages associated with conversion are informational
only. The mail messages in question are still delivered
The excode and lang options are recognized only within
$HOME/.mailrc or /usr/share/lib/Mail.rc. Setting these
options within mailx has no effect.
The mailx command uses only mailbox files. It does not
use POP or IMAP mailboxes.
To save a message to a folder, enter the following at the
mailbox prompt (?): save 1 +procedures
The following message is displayed: /u/jay/doc/procedures
In this example, message 1 was added to the end of
the folder procedures. User jay has the following
set folder statement in his $HOME/.mailrc file so
that the folder directory where that folder is kept
is already selected:
set folder=/u/jay/doc To look at the contents of a
specific mail folder, enter the following at the
command-line prompt: mailx -f +dept
In this example, a listing of the messages in the
dept folder is displayed. To prevent the Date,
From, and To headers from being displayed when a
message is read with the type or the print subcommand,
enter the following statement in your
$HOME/.mailrc file: ignore date from to
When a message is displayed using the type or print
subcommand, the date, from, and to headers are not
displayed. However, if you want to display these
headers without deleting the ignore statement from
your $HOME/.mailrc file, use the Type, Print, or
top subcommands to display the message. To keep a
record of messages you send to others, enter the
following statement in your $HOME/.mailrc file: set
record=letters/mailout To create a distribution
list for your department, enter the following
statement in your $HOME/.mailrc file: alias dept
dee@merlin anne@anchor jerry@zeus bill carl
To send a message to your department after you have
added this line to your $HOME/.mailrc file, enter
the following at the command line prompt: mailx
The message you now create and send will go to dee
on system merlin, anne on system anchor, jerry on
system zeus, and to bill and carl on the local system.
User mailbox files. Holds saved mail. File containing
mailx subcommands to customize mailx for a specific user.
File containing mailx subcommands to change mailx for all
users on the system.
Commands: mail(1), fmt(1), pg(1), sendmail(8)
[ Back ]