Chapter Introduction (Finding and Organizing Mail with MH)

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This chapter shows how to use MH commands to organize and find your messages. It starts with lots of details about versatile MH folders and subfolders. Just as the UNIX filesystem has directories and subdirectories, MH lets you split messages into groups and subgroups. You don't need to understand the UNIX filesystem to use basic MH, though; in fact, this chapter ignores the standard filesystem wherever it can and concentrates on how to use MH.

MH has commands for moving messages between folders, putting them into more than one folder, and splitting folders into subfolders. You can get summaries of one or more folders. There are shortcuts for referring to folders. You can move between a set of folders easily and quickly with an MH folder stack.

Next, there's a look at the powerful pick command. It lets you search for messages in all kinds of ways. This can be very useful for people who want to use their email as a database of information -- or just to find an old message by its contents, such as the name of the person who sent it and a word in the message body.

Another way to organize messages is with an MH sequence. This is a list of message numbers that MH "remembers" for you. In MH 6.8.3, each folder can have up to 26 sequences; many earlier versions had a limit of 10. (In MH 6.8.3, at least, the limit is set by the NATTRS constant in the source file h/mh.h.) The pick command can make or add to sequences.

A section about storing messages starts with examples of saving messages and parts of messages in files. MH folders can take a lot of room to store; the next part of the section shows ways to save space. The last part of the section explains the mhn -store command for decoding and storing MIME messages.

MH can sort messages by the date they were sent and remove "holes" in the message numbering. Those features are useful after you've done a lot of rearranging.

You'll see how to recover messages that you've deleted accidentally and how to remove folders.

You'll learn how to add fields to message headers, which is useful for record-keeping. The book shows how this might be used in a group's problem-tracking system.

Then, the burst command is explained. It splits groups of messages into single messages. Finally, there are sections about the packf command, which packs messages into a single file, and msh, which uses MH-like commands on packed mailbox files.

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Last change $Date: 1996/06/06 15:08:50 $

This file is from the third edition of the book MH & xmh: Email for Users & Programmers, ISBN 1-56592-093-7, by Jerry Peek. Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. This file is freely-available; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. For more information, see the file copying.htm.

Suggestions are welcome: Jerry Peek <>