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MAIL(1)                     General Commands Manual                    MAIL(1)

     mail, mailx - send and receive mail

     mail [-EIinv] [-a file] [-b bcc-addr] [-c cc-addr] [-r rcfile]
          [-s subject] to-addr ... [- sendmail-flags]
     mail [-EIiNnv] [-H[colon-modifier]] -f [name]
     mail [-EIiNnv] [-H[colon-modifier]] [-u user]

     mail is an intelligent mail processing system, which has a command syntax
     reminiscent of ed(1) with lines replaced by messages.

     -a    Attach file to the message.

     -b    Send blind carbon copies to list.  List should be a comma-separated
           list of names.

     -c    Send carbon copies to list of users.

     -E    Don't send messages with an empty body.  This is useful for piping
           errors from cron scripts.

     -f    Read in the contents of your mbox (or the specified file) for
           processing; when you quit, mail writes undeleted messages back to
           this file.

     -H    Print the header summaries and exit.  The optional colon-modifier
           string must begin with a `:' and be followed by one or more of the
           characters described in the Specifying messages section below.
           E.g., "mail -H:n" will display just new message headers.

     -I    Forces mail to run in interactive mode even when input isn't a
           terminal.  In particular, the ~ special character when sending mail
           is only active in interactive mode.

     -i    Ignore tty interrupt signals.  This is particularly useful when
           using mail on noisy phone lines.

     -N    Inhibits the initial display of message headers when reading mail
           or editing a mail folder.

     -n    Inhibits reading /etc/mail.rc upon startup.

     -r    Specify an alternate user rcfile to load.  This overrides the value
           specified in the environment variable MAILRC which in turn
           overrides the default ~/.mailrc file.

     -s    Specify subject on command line (only the first argument after the
           -s flag is used as a subject; be careful to quote subjects
           containing spaces.)

     -u    Is equivalent to:

                 mail -f /var/mail/user

     -v    Verbose mode.  The details of delivery are displayed on the user's

   Sending mail
     To send a message to one or more people, mail can be invoked with
     arguments which are the names of people to whom the mail will be sent.
     You are then expected to type in your message, followed by a `control-D'
     at the beginning of a line.

     Any flags following the list of recipients, will be passed, together with
     their arguments, directly to sendmail(1).  For example to change your
     From address to somebody@somewhere.net you can specify:

           mail recipient -f somebody@somewhere.net

     To prevent multiple copies of a message being sent to the same address,
     duplicate addresses (after alias expansion) are removed from the
     bcc-addr, cc-addr, and to-addr lists.  In addition, addresses on the
     cc-addr and to-addr lists are removed if they occur on the bcc-addr list
     and addresses on the cc-addr list are removed if they occur on the
     to-addr list.  If the to-addr list is empty after these deletions, most
     systems will insert the line "To: undisclosed recipients:;".

     The section below Replying to or originating mail, describes some
     features of mail available to help you compose your letter.

   Reading mail
     In normal usage mail is given no arguments and checks your mail out of
     the post office, then prints out a one line header of each message found.
     The current message is initially the first message (numbered 1) and can
     be printed using the print command (which can be abbreviated p).  You can
     move among the messages much as you move between lines in ed(1), with the
     commands + and - moving backwards and forwards, and simple numbers.

   Disposing of mail
     After examining a message you can delete (d) the message or reply (r) to
     it.  Deletion causes the mail program to forget about the message.  This
     is not irreversible; the message can be undeleted (u) by giving its
     number, or the mail session can be aborted by giving the exit (x)
     command.  Deleted messages will, however, usually disappear never to be
     seen again.

   Specifying messages
     Many commands (e.g., delete, from, and print) accept a list of messages
     as an argument.  Messages may be specified by their message number, by a
     range of messages, or by a pattern string matching certain fields in the
     header as described below.  These message "specs" may be combined by the
     usual binary boolean operations `&', `|', and `^', which denote,
     respectively, a logical "and", "or", and "xor".  Logical expressions may
     be grouped with parentheses `(' and `)' and negated with `!'.  If the
     binary operator is missing between two message specs, it is assumed to be
     a `|'.  This is for simplicity, backwards compatibility, and also to
     facilitate using the `|' symbol to denote a pipe.  (See enable-pipes.)

     Besides the obvious (base10) message numbers, the characters `^', `-',
     `.', `+', and `$' denote, respectively, the first message, the message
     before the "dot" (the current message), the "dot" message, the message
     following the "dot", and the last message.

     A "message range" consists of two message numbers separated by a `-'.  A
     `*' denotes all messages and is equivalent to `^-$'.

     A pattern is a string (not beginning with any of the above special
     characters).  If it does not begin with a `/', it is compared with the
     senders address.  If it begins with a `/', and searchheaders is not
     defined, the remainder of the string is compared with the subject field.
     (See searchheaders for searching other header fields or the message
     body.)  If regex-search is not defined, then the comparison is a simple
     case insensitive substring match.  (See regex-search for regular
     expression matches.)

     A list of messages may be restricted by a "colon-modifier" string, i.e.,
     a `:' followed by one or more of the characters:

           d       deleted
           e       edited
           m       mboxed
           n       new
           o       old
           p       preserved
           r       read
           s       saved
           t       tagged
           u       unread and not new
           !       invert the meaning of the colon-modifiers

     If there are no address specifications other than colon-modifiers, the
     colon-modifiers apply to all messages.  Thus "from netbsd :n" would
     display the headers of all new messages with `netbsd' in the sender's
     address, while "from :!r" and "from :nu" would both display all new and
     unread messages.  Multiple colon-modifiers may be specified and a single
     `:' with no letters following indicates the colon-modifier from the
     preceding command.

     For example:

           from 1 12 3-5

     would display the headers from messages 1, 3, 4, 5, and 12.

           from anon & ( /foo | /bar )

     would display all headers that had `anon' in the sender's address and
     either `foo' or `bar' in the subject line.

     Generally, commands cannot select messages that are not displayed, such
     as deleted or hidden messages, the exception being the undelete command.

   Replying to or originating mail
     You can use the reply command to set up a response to a message, sending
     it back to the person who it was from.  Text you then type in, up to an
     end-of-file, defines the contents of the message.  While you are
     composing a message, mail treats lines beginning with the character ~
     specially.  For instance, typing ~m (alone on a line) will place a copy
     of the current message into the response right shifting it by a tab stop
     (see indentprefix variable, below).  Other escapes will set up subject
     fields, add and delete recipients to the message, and allow you to escape
     to an editor to revise the message or to a shell to run some commands.
     (These options are given in the summary below.)

   Ending a mail processing session
     You can end a mail session with the quit (q) command.  Messages which
     have been examined go to your mbox file unless they have been deleted in
     which case they are discarded.  Unexamined messages go back to the post
     office.  (See the -f option above).

   Personal and system wide distribution lists
     It is also possible to create personal distribution lists so that, for
     instance, you can send mail to "cohorts" and have it go to a group of
     people.  Such lists can be defined by placing a line like

           alias cohorts bill ozalp jkf mark kridle@ucbcory

     in the file .mailrc in your home directory.  The current list of such
     aliases can be displayed with the alias command in mail.  System wide
     distribution lists can be created by editing /etc/mail/aliases, see
     aliases(5) and sendmail(1); these are kept in a different syntax.  In
     mail you send, personal aliases will be expanded in mail sent to others
     so that they will be able to reply to the recipients.  System wide
     aliases are not expanded when the mail is sent, but any reply returned to
     the machine will have the system wide alias expanded as all mail goes
     through sendmail(1).

   Network mail (ARPA, UUCP, Berknet)
     See mailaddr(7) for a description of network addresses.

     mail has a number of options which can be set in the .mailrc file to
     alter its behavior; thus "set askcc" enables the askcc feature.  (These
     options are summarized below.)

     (Adapted from the "Mail Reference Manual")

     Each command is typed on a line by itself, and may take arguments
     following the command word.  The command need not be typed in its
     entirety - the first command which matches the typed prefix is used.  For
     commands which take message lists as arguments, if no message list is
     given, then the next message forward which satisfies the command's
     requirements is used.  If there are no messages forward of the current
     message, the search proceeds backwards, and if there are no good messages
     at all, mail types "No applicable messages" and aborts the command.

     !       Executes the shell (see sh(1) and csh(1)) command which follows.

     -       Print out the preceding message.  If given a numeric argument n,
             goes to the n'th previous message and prints it.

     =       With no argument, it displays the current message number.
             Otherwise, set the current message number to its first argument.

     ?       Prints a brief summary of commands.

     |       Pipe the current message body through the shell (see sh(1) and
             csh(1)) command which follows.

     Detach  Like detach but also saves MIME parts that don't have a filename
             associated with them.  For the unnamed parts, a filename is
             suggested containing the message and part numbers, and the

     Header  (H) Specify or show additional header fields.  This is intended
             for adding extra header fields like "Reply-To:" or
             "X-Organization:" to the header.  For example:

                Header X-Mailer: NetBSD mail(1) 9.1

             would add the "X-Mailer: NetBSD mail(1) 9.1" line to the message
             header.  Without any arguments, the extra header fields are
             displayed.  With only a header name (including the `:'), it will
             delete all extra header fields with that name.  Note: Although
             some syntax checking is done on the header line, care should be
             taken to ensure that it complies with RFC 2821 and 2822.  Also,
             the extra header lines are not currently displayed by the ~h
             tilde command when sending mail (use ~:Header to see them).

     More    (M) Like more but also prints out ignored header fields.

     Page    (Pa) A synonym for More.

     Print   (P) Like print but also prints out ignored header fields.  See
             also print, more, page, type, view, ignore, and retain.

     Reply   (R) Reply to originator.  Does not reply to other recipients of
             the original message.  (See reply.)

     Save    (S) Same as save except that all header fields are saved ignoring
             the saveignore or saveretain lists.

     Type    (T) Identical to the Print command.

     View    (V) Like Print but has the opposite MIME decoding behavior.  (See
             the mime-decode-message variable.)

     alias   (a) With no arguments, prints out all currently-defined aliases.
             With one argument, prints out that alias.  With more than one
             argument, creates a new alias or changes an old one.

             (alt) The alternates command is useful if you have accounts on
             several machines.  It can be used to inform mail that the listed
             addresses are really you.  When you reply to messages, mail will
             not send a copy of the message to any of the addresses listed on
             the alternates list.  If the alternates command is given with no
             argument, the current set of alternative names is displayed.

     bounce  Takes a list of messages and prompts for an address to bounce the
             messages to.  If no message is specified, the current message is
             used.  All the original header fields are preserved except for
             the `Delivered-To', `X-Original-To' and `Status' fields.  The new
             `To' field contains the bounce address(es) plus any addresses in
             the old `To' field minus the user's local address and any on the
             alternates list.  (See the alternates command.)

     chdir   (c) Changes the user's working directory to that specified, if
             given.  If no directory is given, then changes to the user's
             login directory.

     copy    (co) The copy command does the same thing that save does, except
             that it does not mark the messages it is used on for deletion
             when you quit.

             Delete duplicate messages based on their `Message-Id' field,
             keeping the first one in the current sort order.  This can be
             useful with replies to a mailing list that are also CCed to a
             subscriber.  (The same thing can also be accomplished with the
             threading and tagging commands.)

     delete  (d) Takes a list of messages as an argument and marks them all as
             deleted.  Deleted messages will not be saved in mbox, nor will
             they be available for most other commands.

     detach  Takes a message list followed by a target directory as arguments,
             decodes each MIME part in the message list, and saves it in the
             target directory.  If the message list is empty, use the current
             message.  If the directory is not specified, use the directory
             specified by mime-detach-dir variable and, if that is empty,
             default to the directory mail was started in.  For each MIME part
             in the message list, the filename is displayed for confirmation
             or changes.  If an empty name is entered, the part is skipped.
             If the filename already exists, the user will be prompted before
             overwriting it.  (See the mime-detach-batch and
             mime-detach-overwrite variables to change this behavior.)  Only
             MIME parts with an associated filename in the `Content-Type' or
             `Content-Disposition' fields are decoded.  (See Detach to detach
             all parts.)  The MIME extension hooks and character set
             conversion are ignored.

     dp      (also dt) Deletes the current message and prints the next
             message.  If there is no next message, mail says "at EOF".

     down    Go down one level in the thread.  If given a message number, it
             descends the thread below that message, otherwise it descends
             from the current message (dot).

     edit    (e) Takes a list of messages and points the text editor at each
             one in turn.  On return from the editor, the message is read back

     else    Switch the command execution condition set by the previous if,
             ifdef, or ifndef command.

     endif   Terminate an if, ifdef, or ifndef command.

     exit    (ex or x) Effects an immediate return to the Shell without
             modifying the user's system mailbox, his mbox file, or his edit
             file in -f.

             If unset (the default), recipient addresses must be names of
             local mailboxes or Internet mail addresses.  If set, shell
             expansion of existing mailbox names will be performed.

     expose  Expose the thread structure so all messages appear in header
             listings.  (See hide for the inverse.)  The default header prompt
             will indent each header line one space for each level in the
             threading.  The "%?* ?" format string does this.

     file    (fi) The same as folder.

             For each message number in the argument list, or the current
             thread if no message list is given, promote all exposed children
             to the same thread level.

             List the names of the folders in your folder directory.

     folder  (fo) The folder command switches to a new mail file or folder.
             With no arguments, it tells you which file you are currently
             reading.  If you give it an argument, it will write out changes
             (such as deletions) you have made in the current file and read in
             the new file.  Some special conventions are recognized for the
             name.  `#' means the previous file, `%' means your system
             mailbox, `%user' means user's system mailbox, `&' means your mbox
             file, and `+file' means a file in your folder directory.

             Takes a list of messages and prompts for an address (or
             addresses) to forward each message to.  If no message list is
             specified, the current message is used.  The mail editor is run
             for each message allowing the user to enter a message that will
             precede the forward message.  The message is sent as a
             multipart/mixed MIME encoded message.  All header fields except
             the `Status' field are included.

     from    (f) Takes a list of messages and prints their message headers.

             (h) Lists the current range of headers, which is an 18-message
             group.  If a `+' argument is given, then the next 18-message
             group is printed, and if a `-' argument is given, the previous
             18-message group is printed.

     help    A synonym for ?

     hide    Collapse the threads so that only the head of each thread is
             shown, hiding the subthreads.  (See expose for the inverse.)

             Restrict the display to untagged messages.  In threaded mode,
             subthreads that connect directly to an untagged message are also
             displayed, including tagged messages in the connecting chain.

             The same as hide.

     hold    (ho, also preserve) Takes a message list and marks each message
             therein to be saved in the user's system mailbox instead of in
             mbox.  Does not override the delete command.

     if      Execute commands that follow depending on the operating mode.
             The current supported modes are `receiving', `sending', and
             `headersonly'.  For example, one use might be something like:

              if headersonly
                set header-format="%P%Q%3i %-21.20f %m/%d %R %3K \"%q\""
                set header-format="%P%Q%?& ?%3i %-21.20f %a %b %e %R %3K/%-5O \"%q\""

     ifdef   Execute commands that follow if the specified variable is
             defined.  Note: This includes environment variables.

     ifndef  Execute commands that follow if the specified variable is not

     ignore  Add the list of header fields named to the ignored list.  Header
             fields in the ignore list are not printed on your terminal when
             you print a message.  This command is very handy for suppression
             of certain machine-generated header fields.  The Type and Print
             commands can be used 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.

     inc     Incorporate any new messages that have arrived while mail is
             being read.  The new messages are added to the end of the message
             list, and the current message is reset to be the first new mail
             message.  This does not renumber the existing message list, nor
             does it cause any changes made so far to be saved.

             Invert the tags on a list of messages or the current message if
             none are given.  Note: this will not affect any currently deleted

     mail    (m) Takes as argument login names and distribution group names
             and sends mail to those people.

     mbox    Indicate that a list of messages be sent to mbox in your home
             directory when you quit.  This is the default action for messages
             if you do not have the hold option set.

     mkread  (mk) Takes a message list and marks each message as having been

     more    (mo) Takes a message list and invokes the pager on that list.

     next    (n, like + or CR) Goes to the next message in sequence and types
             it.  With an argument list, types the next matching message.

     page    (pa) A synonym for more.

             (pre) A synonym for hold.

     print   (p) Takes a message list and types out each message on the user's

     quit    (q) Terminates the session, saving all undeleted, unsaved
             messages in the user's mbox file in his login directory,
             preserving all messages marked with hold or preserve or never
             referenced in his system mailbox, and removing all other messages
             from his system mailbox.  If new mail has arrived during the
             session, the message "You have new mail" is given.  If given
             while editing a mailbox file with the -f flag, then the edit file
             is rewritten.  A return to the Shell is effected, unless the
             rewrite of edit file fails, in which case the user can escape
             with the exit command.

     reply   (r) Takes a message list and sends mail to the sender and all
             recipients of the specified message.  The default message must
             not be deleted.  (See the Reply command and the Replyall

             A synonym for reply.

     retain  Add the list of header fields named to the retained list.  Only
             the header fields in the retained list are shown on your terminal
             when you print a message.  All other header fields are
             suppressed.  The Type and Print commands can be used to print a
             message in its entirety.  If retain is executed with no
             arguments, it lists the current set of retained fields.  Retain
             overrides save.

             Reverse the order of the messages in at the current thread level.
             This is completely equivalent to "sort !".

     save    (s) Takes a message list and a filename and appends each message
             in turn to the end of the file.  The filename in quotes, followed
             by the line count and character count is echoed on the user's

     set     (se) With no arguments, prints all variable values.  Otherwise,
             sets option.  Arguments are of the form option=value (no space
             before or after =) or option.  Quotation marks may be placed
             around any part of the assignment statement to quote blanks or
             tabs, i.e.  "set indentprefix="->"" Inside single quotes
             everything is parsed literally, including `\' escaped characters.
             Inside double quotes `\' character escapes are interpreted.  This
             is an extension as POSIX specifies that `\' should be left
             uninterpreted for both single and double quoted strings.

             Saveignore is to save what ignore is to print and type.  Header
             fields thus marked are filtered out when saving a message by save
             or when automatically saving to mbox.

             Saveretain is to save what retain is to print and type.  Header
             fields thus marked are the only ones saved with a message when
             saving by save or when automatically saving to mbox.  Saveretain
             overrides saveignore.

     shell   (sh) Invokes an interactive version of the shell.

     show    (sho) Takes a list of variables and prints out their values in
             the form option=value.  If the list is empty, all variable values
             are shown.

             Display all current messages, tagged or not, unless they are in a
             hidden thread.

             The same as expose.

     size    Takes a message list and prints out the size in characters of
             each message.

     smopts  Takes an "address-spec" followed by the sendmail flags that
             should be used when sending mail to an address that matches that
             "address-spec".  If no sendmail flags are specified, then list
             the sendmail flags in effect for the "address-spec".  If the
             "address-spec" is also omitted, then list all smopts settings.
             The "address-spec" may be an alias, address, domain (beginning
             with a `@'), or subdomain (beginning with a `.').  If mail is
             sent to multiple users, the sendmail flags are used only if the
             flags are the same for each recipients.  If smopts-verify is set,
             then you will be asked to verify the sendmail flags (if there are
             any) before the mail is sent.  Address matching is case
             insensitive and done from most specific to least.

             For example if you have:

                   smopts mylist -F "List Maintainer"
                   smopts @NetBSD.org -f anon@somewhere.net -F "Anon Ymous"
                   smopts friend@NetBSD.org ""

             then mail sent to any of the addresses that the `mylist' alias
             expands to would have the sender's name set to `List Maintainer'.
             Mail sent to anyone at NetBSD.org other than `friend@NetBSD.org'
             would look like it was sent from `anon@somewhere.net' by `Anon
             Ymous'.  Mail sent to `friend@NetBSD.org' would not have any
             sendmail flags set (unless they are set by the ~h escape).

     sort    With no argument, sort does nothing.  Otherwise it will sort
             based on the header field name given as an argument.  A few names
             are special:

                   blines          sort based on the number of body lines.
                   hlines          sort on the number of header lines.
                   tlines          sort on the total number of lines.
                   size            sort on the message size
                   sday            sent day (ignores the hour/min/sec)
                   rday            received day (ignores the hour/min/sec)
                   sdate           sent date
                   rdate           received date
                   subject         sort on the subject, ignoring "Re:" prefixes.
                   from            sort on the sender's address.

             The check for these special names is case sensitive while the
             header field name comparisons are case insensitive, so changing
             the case on any of these special names will sort based on the
             header field ignoring the special keyword.

             There are also three modifiers which may precede the argument:

                   !       reverse the sorting order.
                   ^       case insensitive sorting.
                   -       skin the field (removing RFC 822 comments and
                           keep the address).

             The same keywords and modifiers also apply to threading.  (See
             the thread command.)

             Note: sort has no effect on the threading, sorting only on the
             heads of the threads if threads exist.

     source  The source command reads commands from a file.

     tag     Tag a list of messages or the current message if none are given.
             In hidden thread mode, the entire thread will be tagged, i.e.,
             tag is recursive

             Tag all messages of the current thread below the level of the
             current message (dot) or the supplied message number if given.

     thread  By default this threads the current message list based on the
             `In-Reply-To' and `References' header fields (intended for this
             purpose by RFC 2822).  If given an argument, it will thread on
             that header field name instead.  The same field keywords and
             modifiers recognized by the sort command are also recognized
             here.  Display of the threads is controlled by the hide and
             expose commands; navigation of threads is done with the down, up,
             and tset commands.

             If recursive-commands is defined, many commands (e.g., print) act
             on the entire thread (when it is hidden), otherwise they act on
             just the current message.

             Note: the `In-Reply-To' and `Reference' header fields are
             necessary to do threading correctly.  This version of mail now
             emits these header fields when replying.

     top     Takes a message list and prints the top few lines of each.  The
             number of lines printed is controlled by the variable toplines
             and defaults to five.

     tset    Set the current thread (thread set) so that the supplied message
             number (or the current message if no argument is given) is at the
             top level of the current thread.

     type    (t) A synonym for print.

             Takes a list of names defined by alias commands and discards the
             remembered groups of users.  The group names no longer have any

             (u) Takes a message list and marks each message as not being

     unread  (unr) Takes a message list and marks each message as not having
             been read.

     unset   Takes a list of option names and discards their remembered
             values; the inverse of set.

             Takes a list of "address-specs" defined by smopts commands and
             discards them from the smopts database.

     untag   Untag a list of messages or the current message if none are
             given.  Like the tag command, untag is recursive on hidden

             Undo all threading and sorting, restoring the original display
             order, i.e., the order in the mail file.

     up      Go up one level in the thread.  This also takes an optional
             (positive) argument to go up multiple levels in the thread.

     view    (vie) Like print but has the opposite MIME decoding behavior.
             (See the mime-decode-message variable.)

     visual  (v) Takes a message list and invokes the display editor on each

     write   (w) Similar to save, except that only the message body (without
             the header) is saved.  Extremely useful for such tasks as sending
             and receiving source program text over the message system.

     xit     (x) A synonym for exit.

     z       mail presents message headers in windowfuls as described under
             the headers command.  You can move mail's attention forward to
             the next window with the z command.  Also, you can move to the
             previous window by using z-.

     Here is a summary of the tilde escapes, which are used when composing
     messages to perform special functions.  Tilde escapes are only recognized
     at the beginning of lines.  The name "tilde escape" is somewhat of a
     misnomer since the actual escape character can be set by the option

             Execute the indicated shell command, then return to the message.

     ~@ [filelist]
             Add the files in the white-space delimited filelist to the
             attachment list.  If filelist is omitted, edit the attachment
             list, possibly appending to it: For each file in the list the
             user is prompted to change its attachment data.  Changing the
             filename to empty will delete it from the list.  Upon reaching
             the end of the attachment list, the user is prompted for
             additional files to attach until an empty filename is given.
             Filenames containing white-space can only be added in this "edit"

     ~a      Inserts the autograph string from the sign= option into the

     ~A      Inserts the autograph string from the Sign= option into the

     ~bname ...
             Add the given names to the list of carbon copy recipients but do
             not make the names visible in the Cc: line ("blind" carbon copy).

     ~cname ...
             Add the given names to the list of carbon copy recipients.

     ~d      Read the file "dead.letter" from your home directory into the

     ~e      Invoke the text editor on the message collected so far.  After
             the editing session is finished, you may continue appending text
             to the message.

             Read the named messages into the message being sent.  If no
             messages are specified, read in the current message.  Message
             headers currently being ignored (by the ignore or retain command)
             are not included.

             Identical to ~f, except all message headers are included.

     ~h      Edit the message header fields, and the options passed to
             sendmail (the Smopts), by typing each one in turn and allowing
             the user to append text to the end or modify the field by using
             the current terminal erase and kill characters.  If editline(3)
             support is included, then that line editor is used.

             Inserts the value of the named option into the text of the

             Read the named messages into the message being sent, indented by
             a tab or by the value of indentprefix.  If no messages are
             specified, read the current message.  Message headers currently
             being ignored (by the ignore or retain command) are not included.

             Identical to ~m, except all message headers are included.

     ~p      Print out the message collected so far, prefaced by the message
             header fields.

     ~q      Abort the message being sent, copying the message to
             "dead.letter" in your home directory if save is set.

     ~x      Exits as with ~q, except the message is not saved in


             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.

             Cause the named string to become the current subject field.

     ~tname ...
             Add the given names to the direct recipient list.

     ~v      Invoke an alternative editor (defined by the VISUAL option) on
             the message collected so far.  Usually, the alternative editor
             will be a screen editor.  After you quit the editor, you may
             resume appending text to the end of your message.

             Write the message onto the named file.

             Pipe the message body through the command as a filter.  If the
             command gives no output or terminates abnormally, retain the
             original text of the message.  The command fmt(1) is often used
             as command to rejustify the message.

             Execute the given mail command.  Not all commands, however, are

             Insert the string of text in the message prefaced by a single ~.
             If you have changed the escape character, then you should double
             that character in order to send it.

   Mail Options
     Options are controlled via set and unset commands.  Options may be either
     binary, in which case it is only significant to see whether they are set
     or not; or string, in which case the actual value is of interest.  The
     binary options include the following:

     append  Causes messages saved in mbox to be appended to the end rather
             than prepended.  This should always be set (perhaps in

     ask, asksub
             Causes mail to prompt you for the subject of each message you
             send.  If you respond with simply a newline, no subject field
             will be sent.

     askcc   Causes you to be prompted for additional carbon copy recipients
             at the end of each message.  Responding with a newline indicates
             your satisfaction with the current list.

             Causes new mail to be automatically incorporated when it arrives.
             Setting this is similar to issuing the inc command at each
             prompt, except that the current message is not reset when new
             mail arrives.

     askbcc  Causes you to be prompted for additional blind carbon copy
             recipients at the end of each message.  Responding with a newline
             indicates your satisfaction with the current list.

             Causes the delete command to behave like dp - thus, after
             deleting a message, the next one will be typed automatically.

     crt     If crt is set, then the PAGER will be used for the print, Print,
             type, and Type commands.  Normally these commands do not invoke
             the pager.  (See page-also.)

     debug   Setting the binary option debug is the same as specifying -d on
             the command line and causes mail to output all sorts of
             information useful for debugging mail.

     dot     The binary option dot causes mail to interpret a period alone on
             a line as the terminator of a message you are sending.

             If defined, the output of most commands can be piped into a shell
             command or redirected to a file.  The pipe/redirection is
             signaled by the first occurrence of a `|' or `>' character that
             is not in a quoted string or in a parenthetical group.  This
             character terminates the mail command line and the remaining
             string is passed to the shell.  For example, assuming normal
             headers, something like

                     from john@ | fgrep -i ' "Re:' | wc

             could be used to count how many replies were made by senders with
             `john@' in their address and

                     from john@ >> /tmp/john

             would append all the headers from such senders to /tmp/john.

             Note: With piping enabled, you cannot use the `|' as a logical
             "or" operator outside of a parenthetical group.  This should not
             be a problem as it is the default logical operator.  (See the
             Specifying messages section.)

     hold    This option is used to hold messages in the system mailbox by

     ignore  Causes interrupt signals from your terminal to be ignored and
             echoed as @'s.

     metoo   Usually, when a group is expanded that contains the sender, the
             sender is removed from the expansion.  Setting this option causes
             the sender to be included in the group.

             If set, the command line flag -a will accept a whitespace
             delimited list of files.  Otherwise, its argument is interpreted
             as a single filename.  Warning: If enabled, care must be taken to
             properly quote files that contain whitespace, both from the shell
             and from this second expansion done by mail.

             If set, decode the headers along with the body when
             mime-decode-message is set.  The header decode follows the same
             rules as the body (see mime-decode-message).

             When inserting a message into the mail buffer (~f or ~F), the
             text inserted will be decoded according to the settings of the
             mime-decode-message and mime-decode-header variables.

             If set, the More, more, Page, page, Print, print, Type, and type
             commands will display decoded the MIME messages.  Otherwise, they
             display the undecoded message.  Recall that the View and view
             commands always have the opposite MIME decoding behavior from
             these commands.

             When quoting a message into the mail buffer (~m or ~M), the text
             inserted will be decoded according to the settings of the
             mime-decode-message and mime-decode-header variables.

             If set, the detach command does not prompt for anything (unless
             mime-detach-overwrite is set to `ask'), overwriting target files
             depending on the setting of mime-detach-overwrite.

             Setting the option noheader is the same as giving the -N flag on
             the command line.

     nosave  Normally, when you abort a message with two RUBOUT (erase or
             delete) mail copies the partial letter to the file "dead.letter"
             in your home directory.  Setting the binary option nosave
             prevents this.

             A comma or whitespace delimited list of additional commands to
             page.  The comparisons are case insensitive, so if view is in the
             list, both view and View will page.

             If set, disable the pager on all commands.

     quiet   Suppresses the printing of the version when first invoked.

             When defined, and threading is in effect, the following commands
             operate on the entire thread (if it is "hidden") rather than just
             the top displayed message of the thread:

                   More Page Print Type View more page print type view
                   Save copy save write
                   Detach detach
                   delete dp dt
                   hold preserve
                   mbox mkread touch unread
                   tag untag invtags

             If not defined, or if the threads are "exposed", commands behave
             exactly as they do in non-threaded mode, i.e., each operates on
             individual messages.

             Reverses the sense of reply and Reply commands.

             If this option is set, then a message-list specifier in the form
             "/x:y" will expand to all messages containing the substring "y"
             in the header field "x".  The string search is case insensitive.
             If "x" is omitted, it will default to the `Subject' header field.
             If "y" is omitted, only those messages that contain the field "x"
             will be matched.  The three forms "/from:y", "/to:y", and
             "/body:y" are special.  The first will match all messages which
             contain the substring "y" in the headline (which is added locally
             at receipt time and begins with "From ").  The second will match
             all messages containing the substring "y" in the `To', `Cc', or
             `Bcc' header fields.  The third will match all messages which
             contain the substring "y" in a line of the message body.  The
             check for "from", "to", and "body" is case sensitive, so that
             "/From:y" and "/To:y" can be used to search the `From' and `To'
             fields, respectively.  (See also regex-search.)

             Verify the sendmail options used on outgoing mail if they were
             obtained from a smopts match.  This has no effect if there are no
             sendmail flags or if the flags were set by the ~h escape.

             Setting the option verbose is the same as using the -v flag on
             the command line.  When mail runs in verbose mode, the actual
             delivery of messages is displayed on the user's terminal.

   Option String Values
     EDITOR        Pathname of the text editor to use in the edit command and
                   ~e escape.  If not defined, then a default editor is used.

     LISTER        Pathname of the directory lister to use in the folders
                   command.  Default is /bin/ls.

     PAGER         Pathname of the program to use in the more command or when
                   crt variable is set.  The default paginator more(1) is used
                   if this option is not defined.

     SHELL         Pathname of the shell to use in the ! command and the ~!
                   escape.  A default shell is used if this option is not

     VISUAL        Pathname of the text editor to use in the visual command
                   and ~v escape.

                   A comma or space delimited list of keys to do editline(3)
                   completion.  For example set el-completion-keys=^I,^D will
                   bind completion to both the tab and CTRL-D keys.  (Requires
                   editline(3) support.)

     el-editor     The line editing mode: must be `emacs' or `vi'.  If unset,
                   editing is not enabled.  (Requires editline(3) support.)

                   The number of lines of history to remember.  If unset,
                   history is not enabled.  (Requires editline(3) support.)

     escape        If defined, the first character of this option gives the
                   character to use in the place of ~ to denote escapes.

     folder        The name of the directory to use for storing folders of
                   messages.  If this name begins with a `/', mail considers
                   it to be an absolute pathname; otherwise, the folder
                   directory is found relative to your home directory.

                   If set, use this format string when displaying headers in
                   command mode.  The format string supports the following
                   conversions in addition to those of strftime(3):

                   %?key?      The header field with name `key'.  Note: if
                               key[0] is `-', ignore the `-' and extract the
                               address portion of the field (i.e., "skin" the
                   %?*string?  If the depth is n, substitute `string' n times.
                               This is intended to be used when displaying an
                               "exposed thread".
                   %?&string?  Like %?*string?, but uses the depth relative to
                               the current depth rather than the absolute
                   %J          The number of header lines in the message.
                   %K          The number of body lines in the message.
                   %L          The total number of lines in the message.
                   %N          The sender's full name (as in the `From' or
                               `Sender' fields).
                   %O          The message size.
                   %P          The current "dot" (`>') message.
                   %Q          The message status flag.
                   %Z          The time zone name (if it exists).
                   %f          The email address of sender.
                   %i          The message number.
                   %n          The sender's login name (taken from the
                   %q          The subject.
                   %t          The total number of messages.
                   %z          The GMT offset (if found).

                   If the format string begins with `%??' then the date will
                   be extracted from the headline.  Otherwise it will be
                   extracted from the `Date' header falling back to the
                   headline if that extraction fails.  For example, the
                   default format is:

                    set header-format="%??%P%Q%?* ?%3i %-21.20f %a %b %e %R %3K/%-5O \"%q\""

                   Note 1: The message status flag `%Q' will display the
                   single character `+' for the parent of a subthread.  This
                   will be overwritten by a `T', `E', `*', `P', `U', `N', `M'
                   indicating, respectively, a tagged, modified, saved,
                   preserved, unread, new, or modified message, in that order
                   with the last matching condition being the one displayed.
                   In the case of hidden threads, the entire subthread is
                   searched and the letters above will be displayed in lower
                   case if the property is that of a hidden child with the
                   case `*' being displayed as `&'.

                   Note 2: %n and %t as used by strftime(3) were redundant
                   with \t and \n, respectively, so nothing is lost using them

     ignoreeof     An option related to dot is ignoreeof which makes mail
                   refuse to accept a `control-D' as the end of a message.  If
                   given a numeric argument n, a `control-D' will be accepted
                   after n tries.  Ignoreeof also applies to mail command

                   If set, this format string will be inserted before quoting
                   a message (~m or ~M).  The format syntax is the same as for
                   header-format.  For example, the following:

                    set indentpreamble=
                      "On %b %e %T, %Y %z (%Z), %n (%.50N) wrote:\n-- Subject: %.65q\n"

                   would insert something like

                    On Oct 27 11:00:07, 2006 -0400 (EDT), anon (Anon Ymous) wrote:
                    -- Subject: suggestions for mail(1)

                   before the quoted message.

     indentprefix  String used by the ~m and ~M tilde escapes for indenting
                   messages, in place of the normal tab character (`^I').  Be
                   sure to quote the value if it contains spaces or tabs.

                   If set, this format string will be inserted after quoting a
                   message (~m or ~M).  The format syntax is the same as for
                   header-format.  For example, the following:

                    set indentpostscript="-- End of excerpt from %.50N"

                   would insert something like

                    -- End of excerpt from Anon Ymous

                   after the quoted message.

                   MIME-hook for the body of a MIME block of `Content-Type:
                   TYPE/SUBTYPE'.  (See MIME Enhancements below.)

     mime-charset  Convert `Content-type: text' messages to this character set
                   or `us-ascii' if the value is empty.  If unset, no
                   character set conversion is done.

                   The directory to detach files to if the detach command is
                   given no arguments.  (See detach.)

                   This controls overwriting of existing files by the detach
                   command.  If set to `ask' the user will be prompted before
                   overwriting a file.  If set to `yes', or to the empty
                   string, existing target files will be overwritten.  If set
                   to `no', no target files will be overwritten.

                   If set, encode the body of the message as required.
                   Typically, this is just an issue of whether
                   `quoted-printable' encoding is used or not.  If it has a
                   value, then use it to determine the encoding type.  Allowed
                   values are `7bit', `8bit', `binary', `quoted-printable', or

                   MIME-hook for the header of a MIME block of `Content-Type:
                   TYPE/SUBTYPE'.  (See MIME Enhancements below.)

                   MIME-hook for MIME block of `Content-Type: TYPE/SUBTYPE'.
                   (See MIME Enhancements below.)

     MBOX          The name of the mbox file.  It can be the name of a folder.
                   The default is "mbox" in the user's home directory.

     prompt        If defined, it specifies the prompt to use when in command
                   mode.  Otherwise, the default `&' is used.  The format
                   syntax is the same as for header-format.

     record        If defined, gives the pathname of the file used to record
                   all outgoing mail.  If not defined, then outgoing mail is
                   not so saved.

     regex-search  If set, regular expression searches are used, instead of
                   simple case insensitive substring matches, when determining
                   message lists by searching sender names, subjects, or
                   header fields (if searchheaders is defined); see the
                   Specifying messages section.  The value of the variable is
                   a space or comma delimited list of options.  Valid options
                   are `icase' to do case insensitive searches, `extended' to
                   use extended (rather than basic) regular expressions, and
                   `nospec' to turn off all special character meanings and do
                   literal string searches.  Note that `extended' and `nospec'
                   are not compatible (see regcomp(3)).

                   This is used when replying to email (see the reply or Reply
                   commands).  It is useful if you have multiple email
                   addresses and wish to ensure that replies respect them.  If
                   set, grab the email address(es) from the `To' field of the
                   message being replied to.  If there is only one such
                   address, and if it does not match any address in the value
                   of ReplyAsRecipient (a comma or space delimited list of
                   addresses, possibly empty), then use this address in the
                   `From' field of the reply.  This is accomplished by passing
                   the address to sendmail(1) with the -f option.  Note: the
                   sendmail options can be edited with the ~h escape.  (See
                   also the smopts command.)

     toplines      If defined, gives the number of lines of a message to be
                   printed out with the top command; normally, the first five
                   lines are printed.

   MIME Enhancements
     A MIME message is (recursively) divided into a series of MIME parts that
     can be thought of as sub-messages, each with a header and body.  When
     MIME support is enabled (by setting mime-decode-message), mail splits a
     message into a series of its smallest MIME parts and processes those
     parts as if they were messages themselves, passing the header and body
     through a pipeline of the form:

           mail -> MIME-decoder -> MIME-hook -> pager -> screen

     The MIME-decoder decodes `base64' or `quoted-printable' encoding and is
     enabled according to the `Content-Transfer-Encoding' of the part.  The
     MIME-hook is an external program to further process the part (see below).
     The pager is the program that pages the message (see PAGER).  Any of
     these intermediate pipe stages may be missing and/or different for the
     head and body of each MIME part.  Certain `Content-Types' may disable the
     entire pipeline (e.g., `application/octet').

     The MIME-hook stage is not present unless one of the following variables
     is set:

           mime-hook-TYPE-SUBTYPE    applies to the entire MIME part
           mime-head-TYPE-SUBTYPE    applies to the header of the MIME part
           mime-body-TYPE-SUBTYPE    applies to the body of the MIME part

     where TYPE and SUBTYPE are the `Content-Type' type and subtype
     (respectively) of the MIME part to which the hook applies.  If the
     "-SUBTYPE" is missing, any subtype is matched.  The value of these
     variables has the format:

           [flags] command

     where the command is expected to read from stdin and write to stdout, and
     the possible flags are

           !       Execute command in a sub-shell rather than doing an exec(3)
                   (see SHELL).

           +       Use this hook when selecting the part to display in a
                   `multipart/alternative' block.  Multipart blocks contain
                   "alternative" versions with the same information, in
                   increasing order of preference (and decoding complexity).
                   The last one the mail agent understands is the one to be
                   displayed.  This is typically used for sending a message in
                   both "plain text" and "html", but more complex subtypes are
                   also possible.

           -       Do not decode before executing command.

     If your command begins with one of these flags, precede it with a space
     to signal the end of the flags.

     WARNING: automatically running a program is a potential security risk if
     that program has bugs, so be careful what you run.

     Examples: View all `Content-Type: image/jpeg' parts with xv(1) (assuming
     it is installed):

           set mime-body-image-jpeg="/usr/pkg/bin/xv -"

     Decode all `Content-Type: images/*' blocks with uudeview(1) (assuming it
     is installed), placing the results in /tmp:

           set mime-hook-image="-/usr/pkg/bin/uudeview -p /tmp -i -a +o -q -"

     Read all `Content-Type: text/html' parts using lynx(1) (assuming it is
     installed) and add this support to `multipart/alternative' blocks:

           set mime-body-text-html="+/usr/pkg/bin/lynx -force_html -dump -stdin"

     mail uses the HOME, TMPDIR, and USER environment variables.

     /var/mail/*                 Post office.  This can be overwritten by
                                 setting the MAIL environment variable.
     ~/mbox                      User's old mail.  This can be overwritten by
                                 setting the MBOX environment variable.
     ~/.mailrc                   File giving initial mail commands.  This can
                                 be overridden by setting the MAILRC
                                 environment variable.
     /tmp/mail.R*                Temporary files.
     /usr/share/misc/mail.*help  Help files.
     /etc/mail.rc                System initialization file.

     fmt(1), newaliases(1), sendmail(1), vacation(1), aliases(5), mailaddr(7)

     The Mail Reference Manual.

     A mail command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.  This man page is derived
     from "The Mail Reference Manual" originally written by Kurt Shoens.

     There are some flags and commands that are not documented here.  Most are
     not useful to the general user.

     Historically, mail was just a link to Mail, which was confusing.  Mail
     has been removed in NetBSD 9.

     The name of the alternates list is incorrect English (it should be
     "alternatives"), but is retained for compatibility.

     There must be sufficient space on $TMPDIR for various temporary files.

     If an unrecoverable character set conversion error occurs (during
     display), the message is truncated and a warning is printed.  This seems
     to be rare, but probably the remainder of the message should be printed
     without conversion.

     The internal sh-like parser is not terribly sh-like.

     Selecting messages by their content (i.e., with `/body:') is rather slow.

NetBSD 10.99                   December 14, 2019                  NetBSD 10.99