Reading Your Mail

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The mh-e entry point for reading mail is M-x mh-rmail. This command incorporates your mail and creates a buffer called +inbox in MH-Folder mode. The M-x mh-rmail command shows you only new mail, not old mail. (If you want to see your old mail as well, use M-r to pull all your messages into mh-e. Or, give a prefix argument to mh-rmail so it will prompt you for folder to visit like M-f (for example, C-u M-x mh-rmail RET bob RET). Both M-r and M-f are described in the Section Organizing Your Mail with Folders.)

The +inbox buffer contains scan lines, which are one-line summaries of each incorporated message. You can perform most MH commands on these messages via one-letter commands discussed in this chapter. See the Section Find and Specify with scan, pick, Ranges, Sequences for a description of the contents of the scan lines, and see the Figure After incorporating new messages for an example.

Command  |  Description
RET      |  Display a message
SPC      |  Go to next page in message
DEL      |  Go to previous page in message
, (comma)|  Display a message with all header fields
M-SPC    |  Go to next message in digest
M-DEL    |  Go to previous message in digest
M-b      |  Break up digest into separate messages
n        |  Display next message
p        |  Display previous message
g        |  Go to a message
M-<      |  Go to first message
M->      |  Go to last message
t        |  Toggle between MH-Folder and  "MH-Folder
         |  Show" modes

Viewing Your Mail

The RET command displays the message that the cursor is on. If the message is already displayed, it scrolls to the beginning of the message. Use SPC and DEL to move forwards and backwards one page at a time through the message. Both of these commands can be given a prefix argument that specifies the number of lines to scroll (such as C-u 10 SPC). mh-e normally hides a lot of the superfluous header fields that mailers add to a message, but if you wish to see all of them, use the , (comma) command.

Reading Digests

As described in the Section Creating Digests, a digest is a message that contains other messages. Special mh-e commands let you read digests conveniently. You can use SPC and DEL to page through the digest as if it were a normal message, but if you wish to skip to the next message in the digest, use M-SPC. To return to a previous message, use M-DEL.

Another handy command is M-b. This command uses the MH command burst(1) described in the Section Bursting Messages to break out each message in the digest into its own message. Using this command, you can quickly delete unwanted messages, like this: Once the digest is split up, toggle out of MH-Folder Show mode with t (the Section Moving Around) so that the scan lines fill the screen and messages aren't displayed. Then use d (the Section Deleting Your Mail) to quickly delete messages that you don't want to read (based on the Subject: header field). You can also burst the digest to reply directly to the people who posted the messages in the digest. One problem you may encounter is that the From: header fields are preceded with a > so that your reply can't create the To: field correctly. In this case, you must correct the To: field yourself. This is described later in the Section Editing Textual Messages.

Reading Multimedia Mail

MH has the ability to read MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) messages. Unfortunately, mh-e does not yet have this ability, so you have to use the MH commands show(1) or mhn(1) from the shell to read MIME messages. (You can call them directly from Emacs if you're running the X Window System: type M-! xterm -e mhn message-number. You can leave out the xterm -e if you use mhn -list or mhn -store.)

Moving Around

To move on to the next message, use the n command; use the p command to read the previous message. Both of these commands can be given a prefix argument to specify how many messages to skip (for example, C-u 5 n). You can also move to a specific message with g. After typing g, Emacs prompts you for the message number. Finally, you can go to the first or last message with M-< and M-> respectively.

You can also use the Emacs commands C-p and C-n to move up and down the scan lines in the MH-Folder window. These commands can be used in conjunction with RET to look at deleted or refiled messages.

The command t switches between MH-Folder mode and MH-Folder Show mode. (For you Emacs wizards, this is implemented as an Emacs minor mode.) MH-Folder mode turns off the associated show buffer so that you can perform operations on the messages quickly without reading them. This is an excellent way to prune out your junk mail or to refile a group of messages to another folder for later examination.

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(This section was written by Bill Wohler.)
Last change $Date: 1996/07/14 17:35:00 $

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: Bill Wohler <>