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                           The Claws Mail User Manual

  The Claws Mail Team

   Copyright (c) 2006-2016 The Claws Mail Team.


   Table of Contents

   1. Introduction

                1.1. What is Claws Mail?

                1.2. What Claws Mail is not

                1.3. Main features

                1.4. History of Claws Mail

                1.5. Useful URLs

   2. Getting started with Claws Mail

                2.1. The initial wizard

                2.2. Getting mail

                2.3. Reading your mail

                2.4. Writing your first mail

                2.5. Sending your first mail

   3. Basic mail handling

                3.1. Mail folders

                3.2. Folder organisation

                3.3. IMAP subscriptions

                3.4. Filtering

                3.5. Searching

   4. Account customisation

                4.1. Basic preferences

                4.2. Account types

                             4.2.1. POP3

                             4.2.2. IMAP

                             4.2.3. News

                             4.2.4. Local

                             4.2.5. SMTP only

                4.3. Multiple accounts

                4.4. More filtering

   5. Address book

                5.1. Basic management

                5.2. Exporting and importing addresses

                5.3. Filtering messages using the address book

                5.4. Advanced features

                             5.4.1. Using LDAP servers

                             5.4.2. Integration with jPilot

                             5.4.3. vCard support

   6. Advanced features

                6.1. Actions

                6.2. Templates

                6.3. Processing

                6.4. Colour Labels

                6.5. Tags

                6.6. Mailing-List support

                6.7. Plugins

                6.8. Deploying Claws Mail

                6.9. Hidden preferences

                6.10. Autofaces

   7. Extending Claws Mail

                7.1. Plugins

                7.2. Network access from the plugins

                7.3. Plugin path configuration

   A. The Claws Mail FAQ

                A.1. What are the differences between Claws Mail and

                A.2. Does Claws Mail allow me to write HTML styled messages?

                A.3. How can I submit patches, report bugs, and talk about
                Claws Mail with others?

                A.4. Does Claws Mail have an anti-spam feature?

                A.5. Does Claws Mail support Return Receipts?

                A.6. How can I make Claws Mail notify me when new mail

                A.7. Why are special characters (e.g. umlauts) not displayed

                A.8. Can I quote just a section of the original message when

                A.9. Where can I find the answers to more FAQs about Claws

   B. Default keyboard shortcuts

                B.1. Motivations and general conventions

                B.2. Main window

                B.3. Compose window

   C. Acknowledgements

   D. Glossary

   E. Gnu General Public License


1. Introduction

  1.1. What is Claws Mail?

   Claws Mail is an email client aiming at being fast, easy-to-use and
   powerful. It is mostly desktop-independent, but tries to integrate with
   your desktop as best as possible. The Claws Mail developers try hard to
   keep it lightweight, so that it should be usable on low-end computers
   without much memory or CPU power.


  1.2. What Claws Mail is not

   Claws Mail is not a full-featured Personal Information Manager like
   Evolution or Outlook, although external plugins provide these
   functionalities. Claws Mail will not let you write and send HTML emails or
   other kind of annoyances, hence it may not be the software you need in
   some business environments.


  1.3. Main features

   Claws Mail sports almost everything a perfect email client needs. Mail
   retrieval over POP3, IMAP4, local mbox, over SSL; support for various
   authentication schemes. It has multiple accounts and mailboxes, powerful
   filtering and search functionality, import/export capabilities using a
   number of formats, support for GnuPG (digital signatures and encryption).
   It supports plugins, customisable toolbars, spell checking, a number of
   guards to prevent any data loss, per-folder preferences, and much more. A
   list of features can be found at


  1.4. History of Claws Mail

   Claws Mail has existed since April 2001. It was initially named
   Sylpheed-Claws and changed its name to Claws Mail in November 2006. The
   primary goal of Sylpheed-Claws was to be a test-bed for potential features
   of Sylpheed, so that new features could be tested thoroughly without
   compromising Sylpheed's stability. Sylpheed-Claws developers regularly
   synchronised their codebase with Sylpheed's codebase, and Sylpheed's
   author, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, took back the new features he liked once they
   were stabilised.

   Originally both Sylpheed and Claws Mail were based on GTK1. The work on
   the GTK2 versions started in early 2003, and the first modern (GTK2-based)
   Sylpheed-Claws was released in March 2005. Since about this time, Sylpheed
   and Sylpheed-Claws' goals started to diverge more, and Sylpheed-Claws
   became an entity of its own. This is why its name is now Claws Mail.


  1.5. Useful URLs


   Latest News:


   Icon Themes:


   Mailing Lists:


   Source code:



   VCS repository



2. Getting started with Claws Mail

  2.1. The initial wizard

   The first time that you start Claws Mail, you will be asked a few
   questions in order to set up an account. These questions are easy to
   answer and grouped in several short pages.

   First you will be asked to fill in your name, (usually guessed from the
   operating system), your email address, and the name of your organisation,

   The following page will allow you to enter details of how to retrieve your
   mail. The format of the page will be determined by the "Server type":


             If you choose POP3, you will need to enter the server address,
             username, and password. The password is optional, if you don't
             provide it here then you will be prompted for it each time it is


             If you choose IMAP, you will need to enter the server address,
             username, password, and IMAP server directory. The password is
             optional, if you don't provide it here then you will be prompted
             for it each time it is needed. The IMAP server directory is also
             optional, often it is not needed and can be left empty.

     Local mbox file

             If you choose Local mbox file, you will need to enter the
             location of your local mailbox spool file. This location depends
             on your Operating System, but values like /var/mail/username or
             /var/spool/mail/username are common, where username is your
             system login.

   When you click the "Auto-configure" button, Claws Mail will attempt to
   configure your account's servers based on your email address and the type
   of account you have chosen.

   On the next page you will enter the address of your SMTP server,
   (sometimes referred to as "Outgoing server"). You will also be asked
   whether to authenticate when sending mail; this is often not the case if
   you're using an ISP to connect to Internet, and often the case if you are
   configuring a professional account.

   If you chose either POP3 or Local mbox file, the next page will ask you
   where you want to save your mail on disk. The default, "Mail", is usually
   ok and will save your mails in a directory called Mail in your home

   If Claws Mail is built with support for OpenSSL, you will next see the
   "Security" page, here you will be able to choose to use SSL encryption to
   send and receive your emails. Most ISPs do not enable this, but many
   companies do; if you're unsure about it, you can leave them unselected.

   You can now click on the Save button, and start enjoying Claws Mail.


  2.2. Getting mail

   Retrieving your email can be done from the toolbar button named "Get mail"
   or from the "Receive" submenu of the "Message" menu.

   If you want Claws Mail to check your mail automatically at regular
   intervals, you can ask it to do so from the "Mail handling: Receiving"
   preference page which you'll find in the "Configuration/Preferences..."
   menu. Just click the "Automatically check new mail every [...] minute(s)"
   checkbox, and set the interval to your liking.


  2.3. Reading your mail

   Once you have retrieved your emails, the Inbox folder will contain them.
   The total number of emails in a folder is shown at the right of the
   folder's name, along with the number of unread and new emails in it. To
   see them, click on the folder row in the folder list, and the list of
   emails in that folder will be displayed in the Message List pane. You can
   then select an email using the mouse, or by using the Up and Down keys to
   navigate through the list, and the Space bar to display and scroll emails.
   You can use other keys to navigate through emails, like P and N (previous
   and next).


  2.4. Writing your first mail

   When clicking on the "Compose" button of the toolbar, a composition window
   will open. This window contains different fields which you should be able
   to recognise easily: if you have multiple accounts, the From field can be
   used to select which account you want to use for this email; the To field
   is for recipient of the email. When you fill it in, a second To field will
   appear, so that you can send the email to multiple recipients. You can
   also change the To field to a Cc field or other types of fields, by using
   its dropdown menu, or by typing in the field that you require. After that,
   you will be able to set the subject of your email, then type its body.

   A little note about an email's subject: Claws Mail will ask you for
   confirmation if you attempt to send an email with an empty subject. This
   is because it can be annoying for the recipient to receive emails without
   a subject, as it doesn't help in handling email.


  2.5. Sending your first mail

   When you have finished writing your first email, you can either click the
   "Send" button to send your email immediately, or use the "Send later"
   button to queue the message for later sending. When using "Send", the
   composition window will close itself when the mail has been sent; it will
   stay open if there is an error. When using "Send later", the composition
   window will immediately close, and your email will be stored in your Queue
   folder. It will then be sent when you click the "Send" button in the main
   window's toolbar.

   The emails that you send are saved in the Sent folder of your mailbox, so
   that you can recall what you wrote to whom, or use an already sent email
   as a template to write another.


3. Basic mail handling

  3.1. Mail folders

   If you receive a lot of emails, you will probably soon find that your
   Inbox folder is growing to the point where you have a hard time finding an
   email again, even if you received it just a few days ago. This is why
   Claws Mail, like most good mail clients, provides you with multiple
   possibilities in organising your mails.

   You can create as many folders and subfolders as you need. For example,
   one folder for your family, one folder for friends, folders for
   mailing-lists, archive folders for old mails that you still want to have
   available, etc. To create a new folder, simply right-click on its parent
   folder and choose "New folder..." from the drop-down menu. If you want to
   create a folder "Friends" inside your Inbox folder, for example, just
   right-click on the Inbox folder, choose "New folder...", and type in
   "Friends" in the dialogue that appears. Click the OK button, and the new
   folder is created.


  3.2. Folder organisation

   Now that you have created folders, you can manipulate them and their
   contents using menu items or drag 'n' drop. Moving one folder into
   another, for example, can be done by right-clicking on the folder you want
   to move, choosing the "Move folder..." menu item, and selecting the
   destination folder. This will move the folder, with the mail it contains,
   to a subfolder of the chosen folder. Alternatively, you can drag a folder
   to another one by clicking on it, keeping the mouse pressed, moving the
   mouse cursor over the destination folder and releasing the button.

   If you want to remove a folder and the mail it contains, simply
   right-click on the folder and choose "Delete folder...". As this is
   potentially harmful, (the mails in the folder will be deleted and not
   recoverable), you will be asked for confirmation.

   In the same manner that you move a folder to another one, you can move
   emails from one folder to another. The same method applies for this:
   either drag 'n' drop emails to a folder, or choose "Move..." after
   right-clicking on the mail. You can select multiple emails by using the
   Control or Shift key while clicking on them. You can also copy emails to
   another folder by pressing the Control key when drag'n'dropping, or by
   choosing "Copy..." from the email's contextual menu.


  3.3. IMAP subscriptions

   The IMAP protocol allows one to store a list of subscribed folders. Most
   mail user agents hide the unsubscribed folders away from the GUI, and have
   a little window allowing to subscribe to these unsubscribed folders. In
   Claws Mail, subscriptions are respected by default, and only subscribed
   folders will be displayed. If you want to see all your folders, you can
   just uncheck "Show subscribed folders only" in the IMAP mailbox'
   contextual menu or the account preferences. You'll be able to subscribe
   and unsubscribe folders from this contextual menu too. If the unsubscribed
   folders are hidden from the list, you will have two ways to subscribe to a
   folder: either show all folders, subscribe the ones you want, and hide
   unsubscribed folders again; or, if you know the folder's name, use "Create
   new folder" in its parent's contextual menu.


  3.4. Filtering

   Once you have a nice folder hierarchy in place, you'll probably want Claws
   Mail to sort your incoming emails automatically, in order to avoid having
   to move messages manually each time they arrive. For this you can use the
   Filtering feature.

   You will find the filtering preferences via the "Configuration" menu,
   "Filtering" item. From this dialogue you will be able to define new rules,
   modify or delete existing rules, re-order the rules, and enable/disable
   them. Filtering rules are defined by five things: the enabled status, a
   name, an account name, a condition, and an action. All disabled rules are
   simply ignored. The "Name" entry is optional, it's there to help you
   identify your rules. An account name can be chosen, which will restrict
   the rule to mail retrieved from the named account only, skipping it for
   mail retrieved from all other accounts. The default value is "All", which
   means that the rule is global and will be applied to all mail, regardless
   of the account from which it was retrieved, (see paragraph below). The
   condition format is an expression defining what Claws Mail should look for
   when filtering mail, for example: "to matchcase claws-mail-users" is for
   messages sent to any address containing "claws-mail-users". You can easily
   define conditions by clicking the "Define..." button at the right of the
   field. The last part of a filtering rule is the action, which instructs
   Claws Mail what to do with mail matching the condition we just defined.
   For example, "mark_as_read" marks the mail as read as soon as it arrives
   in your inbox, or "move #mh/Mailbox/inbox/Friends" moves the mail to your
   "Friends" subfolder. Here, too, a "Define..." button is available to help
   you define the action to take.

   Filtering rules can be assigned to a single, specific account. To do this
   select an account from the "Account" combo below the "Name" entry. When
   you set a specific account the filtering rule will only be applied to
   messages retrieved from the named account. The default value is "All",
   which means that the rule will be applied globally, to messages retrieved
   from any account. When filtering messages manually, if there are any
   per-account filtering rules defined, you will be asked what you wish to do
   with those rules. Possible choices are to skip the rules, or apply these
   rules regardless of the account to which they belong, or use the rules for
   the currently selected account. Caution: if you unset the "Show this
   message next time" checkbox and click "Filter", on subsequent manual
   filtering this choice will be applied without any confirmation. Account
   specific rules are only available for filtering, (at incorporation or
   manually), the feature is not available for folder Processing or

   Once you have defined the rule, you can add it to the list of rules with
   the "Add" button. Don't forget that the order of the rules is important:
   if Claws Mail finds a rule suitable for an email that either moves or
   deletes the email, it will stop looking for further rules for that email.
   This is why, at the right of the rules list, you will find four buttons
   allowing the re-ordering of rules. The rules can also be reordered by drag
   'n' drop.

   There is also a quick method of creating filtering rules based on the
   selected message. After selecting a mail of the type you want to filter,
   choose "Create filter rule..." from the "Tools" menu, and choose a type
   from the submenu: "Automatically" mainly helps for mailing-lists posts,
   "by From" creates a filter based on the sender of the email, "by To"
   creates a filter based on the recipient, and "by Subject" creates a filter
   based on the subject. Each one of these types of filtering has its
   advantages, it's up to you to find out what would be the more practical.
   Usually, "by From" is nice to sort out your regular contacts' mails,
   whereas "by To" is more useful to sort mails sent to your different


  3.5. Searching

   There are several methods for searching your emails.

   One of them is relatively standard, and can be found in the "Edit" menu,
   it's the "Search folder..." item. This will open a window where you can
   specify one or more fields to search in: From, To, Subject, and Body.
   After having specified your criteria, click on the "Back" or "Forward"
   buttons to navigate through the matching emails, or use "Find all" to
   select all the matching emails at once. Be aware that searching for text
   in the body of emails is much slower than searching in its headers,
   because the body of emails isn't cached by Claws Mail. "Extended Search"
   mode can be turned on by clicking the relevant checkbox, thus allowing you
   to use match expressions like those used in "Filtering" rules.

   If you're looking at a large email and want to find a particular part of
   it, you can use the "Find in current message..." item of the "Edit" menu.
   This works like search in a text document.

   The final way of searching for emails is using "Quick Search", which you
   can display or hide by clicking the little magnifying glass icon under the
   Message List. It is also accessible from the "Quick Search" item of the
   "Edit" menu. "Quick Search" is more powerful than the normal search as it
   can search in standard headers (From, To, Subject) or in "Extended" mode
   using just about any criteria you can think of. When in "Extended" mode,
   the "Information" button is visible, enabling you to see the search
   syntax. An "Edit" button is also available which allows you to quickly
   create a rule. You can also configure "Quick Search" to search recursively
   through subfolders, whether it should reset itself when you change
   folders, and whether to use Type-ahead search (this is a search which
   results update dynamically if you pause in the typing).

   When you hit Enter after having specified the search string, the Message
   List will shrink to present you with only the matching messages. If you
   set the search to be recursive, any subfolder of the current one that has
   matching emails will change its icon to a magnifying glass icon. This way,
   you can search in your whole mailbox at once. If the search is in Sticky
   mode, the filter will stay applied when you go to another folder. This can
   be disturbing at first, as you can forget about it, but is useful in some
   cases, for example if you want to search in the body of emails and are not
   sure of which folder contains the searched email: a recursive search on
   the body of emails in a whole mailbox can be really slow.


4. Account customisation

  4.1. Basic preferences

   The first tab of the account preferences, "Basic", contains, as its name
   indicates, basic account data. In this tab you can specify your name,
   email address, organization and basic connection information. The name of
   the account is just the name Claws Mail will use when referring to this
   account, for example, in the account switcher at the lower right-hand
   corner of the main window. The server information lets you specify the
   receiving protocol to use (which is not modifiable for existing accounts),
   the server(s) used to receive or send your emails (usually and and your login on the receiving server.

   In the "Receive" tab you are able to change the default behaviour of Claws
   Mail. For example, leaving messages on the server for a while, preventing
   downloading of mails that are too large, or specifying whether you want
   the filtering rules to apply to this account's mails. The "Receive size
   limit" is used to limit the time spent downloading large emails. Whenever
   you receive a mail larger than this limit, it will be partially downloaded
   and you will later have the choice to either download it entirely or
   delete it from the server. This choice will be presented to you while
   viewing the email.

   The "Send" tab contains preferences for special headers that you might
   want to add to your outgoing emails, like X-Face or Face headers, and
   authentication information for sending emails. Most of the time, your ISP
   allows its subscribers to send email via the SMTP server without
   authenticating, but in some setups, you have to identify yourself before
   sending. There are different possibilities for doing that. The best one,
   when available, is SMTP AUTH. When not available, you'll usually use
   POP-before-SMTP, which connects to the POP server, (which is
   authenticated), disconnects, and sends the mail.

   The "Compose" tab holds options for changing the behaviour of the
   Composition window when used with the account. You can specify a signature
   to insert automatically, and set default Cc, Bcc or Reply-To addresses.

   In the "Privacy" tab you can choose the default level of paranoia for your
   account. You might want all outgoing emails to be digitally signed and/or
   encrypted. Signing all outgoing emails, not only important ones, will for
   example allow you to protect yourself from faked mails sent on your behalf
   to coworkers. This can help solve embarrassing situations.

   The "SSL" tab is also security related, although this time its settings
   apply to the transport of your emails and not their content. Basically,
   using SSL encrypts the connection between you and the server, which
   prevents people from snooping on your connection and being able to read
   your mails and your password. SSL should be used if it is available.

   Finally, the "Advanced" tab allows you to specify ports and domains if the
   defaults are not used. Normally you can leave these empty. You can also
   specify folders for sent, queued, draft, and deleted messages here.


  4.2. Account types

   We saw earlier that once an account is created, you can't change its type
   (protocol) anymore. This is because preferences for these different types
   are not quite the same, most of the POP3 related options are irrelevant
   for IMAP, for example.


    4.2.1. POP3

   POP3 is one of the two most used protocols and is available at almost
   every ISP on Earth. Its advantage is that it allows you to download email
   to your computer, which means that accessing your mail will be really fast
   once you have it on your hard disk. The disadvantage of POP3 is that it is
   more difficult to keep your mail synchronised on multiple computers,
   (you'll have to keep the mail on the server for a few days), and you won't
   be able to easily keep track of which mails you have read, or which mails
   you have replied to, etc., when using another computer.

   Mail received from a POP3 account will be stored in an MH mailbox in the
   folder tree.


    4.2.2. IMAP

   IMAP is the second most used protocol and its goal is to address the
   shortcomings of POP3. When using IMAP your folder list and your emails are
   all kept on a central server. This slows down navigation a little as each
   mail is downloaded on demand, but when you use another computer, or email
   client, your emails will be in the same state that you left them,
   including their status (read, unread, replied, etc.).

   When you create an IMAP account an IMAP mailbox is created for it in the
   folder tree.


    4.2.3. News

   News (NNTP) is the protocol for sending and receiving USENET articles.
   Messages are held on a central server and downloaded on demand. They
   cannot be deleted by the user.

   When you create a News account a News mailbox is created for it in the
   folder tree.


    4.2.4. Local

   The "Local mbox file" type of account can be used if you run an SMTP
   server on your computer and/or want to receive your logs easily.

   Mail received from a Local account is stored in an MH mailbox in the
   folder tree.


    4.2.5. SMTP only

   The account type "None, (SMTP only)" is a special type of account that
   won't retrieve any mail, but will allow you to create different identities
   that can be used to send out emails with various aliases, for example.


  4.3. Multiple accounts

   You can easily create multiple accounts in Claws Mail. For POP accounts,
   you can choose to store all email from your different accounts in the same
   folder(s), using the Receive tab preference. IMAP and News accounts each
   get their own mailbox in the folder tree.

   You can choose which accounts get checked for new mail when using the "Get
   All" command (or "Get Mail" in the toolbar) by checking the relevant box
   in the Receive tab of their preferences or in the "G" column of your
   accounts list.


  4.4. More filtering

   By default filtering rules are global, but they can also be assigned to a
   specific account. When fetching mail, any rules that are assigned to a
   specific account will only be applied to mails that are retrieved from
   that account.

   Mail from any account can be filtered into another account's folders, for
   example, a mail received by POP3 could be filtered into an IMAP account's
   folder, and vice-versa. This is either a useful feature or an annoying
   one, depending on what you want to achieve. If you'd rather avoid that,
   but still want to automatically sort your incoming mail, the best thing to
   do is to disable Filtering on certain accounts, and use Processing rules
   in the Inbox folders that you specified, as Processing rules are
   automatically applied when entering a folder and can be manually applied
   from a folder's context menu.


5. Address book

  5.1. Basic management

   The address book is accessible via the "Tools/Address book" menu. It is
   arranged in different sections: the "Address Book" and its subsections,
   which contain the contacts that you added locally; the vCard sections,
   which contain imported vCards; and, if support for them was built into
   Claws Mail, the LDAP and jPilot sections, containing contacts from your
   LDAP servers or handheld devices.

   In the "Address Book" section, you can create multiple address books; each
   one is able to contain addresses and/or folders. This can help you in
   organising your contacts by category. In addition to this, you can create
   groups of addresses, which can be used from the composition window to send
   mails to multiple people at once. The menus in the address book window
   allow you to do all of this. For example, you can create a Family folder
   inside your "Personal Addresses" address book, using the "Book/New folder"
   menu when "Personal Addresses" is selected, or by right-clicking on it. In
   the same way, you can add contacts to an address book or folder by using
   the "Address" menu, or by right-clicking an item in the list in the
   right-hand part of the window. When adding a contact, a new window will
   appear, where you'll be able to specify the details of the contact in the
   first tab (Display Name, First Name, ...), and a list of email addresses
   in the second tab.

   A simpler way to save your contacts to your address book is to save them
   when reading one of their emails, using the "Tools/Add sender to address
   book" menu, or by right-clicking on an email address in the message view.


  5.2. Exporting and importing addresses

   Claws Mail can import address books easily from the majority of email
   programs. From the "Tools" menu in the address book, you will be able to
   import Pine or Mutt address books. As these formats are not so widespread,
   you can also import LDIF files. LDIF is a widely-used format, so most
   other email programs can export their address book to this format.
   Importing an LDIF file is done via "Tools/Import LDIF file" and is a
   three-step operation: select the file to import and an address book name,
   check the fields you want to import if the defaults do not please you,
   then use the "Save" button.


  5.3. Filtering messages using the address book

   It is possible to filter messages by matching addresses found in headers
   against the address book, use for this the match type "Found in
   addressbook" when defining the condition expression of a filtering rule.
   You have to select the address header to match against a part of the
   address book. The address header can be To, From, Cc, Reply-to and Sender
   (if at least one address in that header matches, the rule will be
   applied). Some special items allow to match at least one address found in
   "Any" address header, or to match "All" addresses found in all address
   headers. Click the "Select..." button to choose the address book part to
   search in (either a book or a sub-folder), or select "Any" to search in
   the whole address book.


  5.4. Advanced features

    5.4.1. Using LDAP servers

   LDAP servers are used to share address books across networks. They are
   often available in companies. Enabling an LDAP server in Claws Mail is
   quite straight forward. Choose "Book/New LDAP server" in the "Book" menu,
   then choose a name for this LDAP server. Enter the hostname of the server
   (e.g. ""), its port, if necessary (the standard port is
   389). You can then either fill in the "Search Base" yourself if you know
   what to use, or click on "Check Server" to have Claws Mail attempt to
   guess it automatically. If your server requires authentication, you can
   set it in the "Extended" tab. When you close this window by clicking "Ok",
   the server appears in the address book's sources list on the left-hand
   side. When selecting the server, you will see an empty list of contacts at
   the right, which can be surprising at first. This is to avoid doing full
   searches on the server without you explicitly asking for it. You can now
   search for names using the "Lookup" form at the bottom of this list. If
   you want a full listing, just search for "*".


    5.4.2. Integration with jPilot

   Claws Mail can use addresses stored on your handheld device.


    5.4.3. vCard support

   Claws Mail can import vCards of your contacts by using "Book/New vCard".


6. Advanced features

  6.1. Actions

   Actions allow you to use all the power of the Unix command-line with your
   emails. You can define various commands, taking parameters such as the
   current email file, a list of emails, the currently selected text, and so
   on. In this way, you'll be able to perform various tasks such as editing a
   raw mail in your text editor, hide what you mean using ROT-13, apply
   patches contained in emails directly, and so on. The only limit is your
   imagination. You can create and configure Actions via the
   "/Configuration/Actions..." menu.

   The "Tools/Actions/" menu will contain one submenu item for each action
   that you have created. When you have selected one or more messages in the
   Message List, or are viewing a message in the Message View, selecting one
   of these menu items will invoke the action, and, depending on how it was
   defined, will pass the message(s) to it.

   Additionally, it is possible to add toolbar entries for your actions. To
   do so, open the "Configuration/Preferences" menu and select "Toolbars/Main
   Window". Select "User Action" in the "Item type" dropdown menu, then
   select the Action in the "Event executed on click" dropdown menu, and
   click the "Icon" button to select the icon that you want to use.

     Example 1. Simple "Open With..."

     Menu name: Open with/kate Command Line: kate %p

             Opens the file of the selected decoded MIME part (%p) with the
             kate text editor.

     Example 2. Spam management using Bogofilter

     Menu name: Bogofilter/Mark as Ham Command Line: bogofilter -n -v -B "%f"

             Marks the currently selected mails (%f) as "not spam" using

     Menu name: Bogofilter/Mark as Spam Command Line: bogofilter -s -v -B

             Marks the currently selected mails (%f) as "spam" using

     Example 3. Search Google using an external script

     Menu name: Search/Google Command Line: |/path/to/

             Searches Google for the currently selected text (|) using the
             external script


  6.2. Templates

   Templates are used in composition windows, and act as a model for emails.
   Templates can be filled with static text and dynamic parts, such as the
   original sender's name ("Dear %N, ..."), the date, etc. When applying a
   template, the dynamic fields will be replaced with the relevant values.
   You can configure templates via the "Tools" menu.

   When applying a template, you will be asked to "Insert" or "Replace", the
   difference between replacing and inserting is only concerned with the
   message body. "Replace" will replace the current composition window
   message body with the body defined in the template, clearing it if the
   template body is empty. "Insert" will insert the template's body, if set,
   at the current cursor position.

   Whether you choose to Insert or Replace, any To, Cc or Bcc field that is
   defined in the template will be appended to the compose window's
   recipients list. If it is defined, the template's Subject will always
   replace the compose window's Subject.

   Symbols can be used in all parts of the templates and will be substituted
   with their respective dynamic value if possible, otherwise no value will
   be used. This often makes more sense if you apply a template when replying
   or forwarding, otherwise most of the symbols value will be undefined.
   There is no restriction on which symbols can be used in template parts,
   even if inserting the body (%M or %Q) may make no sense in common

   When applying a template, the body is processed first, then the To, Cc,
   Bcc and Subject fields follow.

   Further information and examples of usage can be found in the
   user-contributed FAQ on the Claws Mail website


  6.3. Processing

   Processing rules are the same as Filtering rules, except that they are
   applied when entering a folder or when manually applied from a folder's
   context menu and apply only to this folder. You can use them to
   automatically move old mails into an archive folder, or for further
   dispatching of emails, and more. You can set each folder's Processing
   rules by right-clicking on it.

   Processing rules are accompanied by Pre-processing and Post-processing
   rules. Like Processing rules, they apply when opening a folder or manually
   applying them from a folder's context menu, but like Filtering rules, they
   are shared across all folders. You can configure them from the "Tools"
   menu. Pre-processing rules are executed before the folder's specific
   Processing rules, while Post-processing rules are executed afterwards.


  6.4. Colour Labels

   Colour labels can be used to denote a message as having a particular
   significance. To set a colour label simply right-click a message in the
   Message List and use the "Color label" submenu.

   Colour labels are user-configurable. Both the colour and the label can be
   set by the user. Preferences can be found on the
   "Configuration/Preferences/Display/Colors" page.


  6.5. Tags

   Tags are short text notes which may be set on messages. They are useful
   for classifying messages with your own words. These tags can be used later
   to find the mails with Quick Search or to manage them with filtering or
   processing rules, for example.

   Tagged messages are displayed with a yellow background at the top of the
   Message View. This line shows all tags associated with the message. You
   can enable the "Tags" column in the Message List, so tagged items can be
   seen without having to open the message.

   Setting of tags is done by right-clicking on the message in the Message
   List or by the corresponding option in Message menu. A panel with the
   existing tags is shown and you can select some of them or just add a new
   one. Removal of existing tags is also allowed, of course.

   Once tags exist it's even easier, as the context menu allows you to set
   and unset tags with just one click to the selected messages. Mixed
   selections of tagged and untagged messages are allowed, and Claws Mail is
   clever enough to do what you want to do in any case.


  6.6. Mailing-List support

   Claws Mail offers mailing-list support from the "Message/Mailing-List/"
   submenu. When you have a mailing-list message selected, the submenu allows
   you to quickly initiate subscribing, unsubscribing, posting, getting help,
   contacting the list owner, and viewing the list archive; either by opening
   a new Compose window with the appropriate address pre-filled, or by
   opening the URL in your web browser.


  6.7. Plugins

   Plugins are the mechanism for extending Claws Mail' capabilities. For
   example, imagine that you want to store your mails in a remote SQL
   database. In most mailers out there this is simply impossible without
   reworking the internals of the mailer. With Claws Mail you can simply
   write a plugin to achieve the task.

   This is just an example of the possibilities. A good number of plugins
   developed for Claws Mail already exist, and more are to come. The
   Extending Claws Mail section gives details of them.


  6.8. Deploying Claws Mail

   The initial configuration wizard tries to guess various fields using
   information gathered from the system, such as username, hostname, and
   more. As it is oriented towards general use, the default values often have
   to be fixed. However, this wizard is customisable, in a manner designed to
   allow system administrators to deploy Claws Mail easily over various users
   of one machine, or even over multiple machines installed via some
   replication tool.

   The first part consists of creating a wizard configuration template and
   setting the various default parameters of a new Claws Mail installation.

     * Start with a user who does not have a ~/.claws-mail directory, ideally
       a new user.

     * Start Claws Mail and go through the wizard. The values you fill in
       will be of no use for the future deployment, so you can click

     * Once the wizard is finished and you have Claws Mail' main window
       opened, configure the various defaults you want to have in the master.
       You can load plugins, add people or LDAP servers in the addressbook,
       create filtering rules, and so on.

     * If needed, and if the deployed Claws Mail will use MH folders, you can
       create subdirectories in the mailbox.

     * Next, quit Claws Mail.

     * Now, edit the newly created wizard template file,
       ~/.claws-mail/accountrc.tmpl. In this file, you will see different
       variables, corresponding to the wizard's fields. You can leave some
       commented, in which case the usual default will be used, or specify
       values or variables. Not all fields can contain variables; for
       example, smtpauth, smtpssl and recvssl are booleans, either 0 or 1,
       and recvtype is an integer value. The other fields, like name, email,
       or recvuser, are parsed by the wizard and the variables they contain
       are replaced by values. This allows you to specify everything as
       needed for your site, even if you have strange server names or server

     * Save this file, and delete both ~/.claws-mail/accountrc, (which
       contains your dummy account) and ~/.claws-mail/folderlist.xml, (so
       that the folder tree will be correctly parsed for new users).
       Recursively copy .claws-mail to /etc/skel/; if the deployed Claws Mail
       will use MH folders, also copy the created Mail directory. chown all
       of /etc/skel/.claws-mail and /etc/skel/Mail to root:root for security

     * Test! Create a new user, login as that user, run Claws Mail. If you
       filled everything as you wanted, this user will just have to fill in
       his passwords.

     * Now, if you're creating a master for a site-wide deployment, you can
       continue with this process. If you were just doing it for one machine,
       you're done!

   Here are the different variables of the accountrc.tmpl file:


           Your domain name ( If not set, it'll be extracted
           from the hostname.


           The user's name. If not set, it'll be extracted from Unix login
           information, which is usually ok.


           The user's email. If not set, it'll be extracted from $name and


           Your organization. If not set, it'll be empty.


           The SMTP server to use. If not set, it'll be smtp.$domain.


           0 or 1. Whether to authenticate on the SMTP server. If not set,
           it'll be 0.


           The login on the SMTP server. If not set, it'll be empty (same
           login as for reception will be used).


           The password on the SMTP server. If not set, it'll be empty (if
           smtppass is empty but smtpuser is not, the user will be asked for
           the password).


           The type of server to receive from. 0 for POP3, 3 for IMAP4, 5 for
           a local MBOX file. If not set, it'll be 0 (POP3).


           The reception server. If not set, it'll be (pop|imap).$domain,
           depending on $recvtype.


           The login on the reception server. If not set, it'll be extracted
           from the Unix login information.


           The password on the reception server. If not set, it'll be empty
           (the user will be asked for it once per session).


           The IMAP subdirectory. If not set, it'll be empty, which is often


           The MBOX file to receive from if $recvtype is 5. If not set,


           The MH mailbox to store mail in (for $recvtype 0 or 5). If not
           set, it'll be "Mail".


           0 or 1. Whether to use SSL for sending mail. If not set, it'll be


           0 or 1. Whether to use SSL for receiving mail. If not set, it'll
           be 0.

   Here are the different variables you can use in the domain, name, email,
   organization, smtpserver, smtpuser, smtppass, recvserver, recvuser,
   recvpass, imapdir, mboxfile and mailbox fields:


           The domain name as extracted from Unix hostname information. Often


           The domain name as set in the domain variable, the first of the
           template file.


           The user's real name.


           The user's Unix login.


           The user's real name as set in the name variable of the template
           field, in lowercase and with spaces replaced by dots. "Colin
           Leroy" becomes "colin.leroy".


           The email address as set in the email variable of the template

   Be sure not to use a variable before defining it.


  6.9. Hidden preferences

   There are a number of hidden preferences in Claws Mail, preferences that
   some users who we wanted to please couldn't live without, but which did
   not have a place in the GUI in our opinion. You can find the following,
   and change them while Claws Mail is not running, in ~/.claws-mail/clawsrc.

   There's a small tool written in Perl-GTK called Clawsker which provides a
   user-friendly GUI for tweaking these settings instead of direct editing of
   clawsrc. You can read more about it on the Clawsker page.


           TAB-address completion in the Compose window and other GUI places
           will match any part of the string ('1') or just the start of the
           string ('0'). Default value is '1'.


           Use a separate dialogue to edit a person's details if set to '1'
           (default). '0' will use a form embedded in the addressbook's main


           Show unread messages in the message list of summary view using a
           bold font when set to '1' (default). '0' will use normal font.


           The maximum amount of memory to use to cache messages, in kB. It
           will try to keep the memory usage below this value, but it will
           always use the assigned amount of memory for speed gain. Default
           value is '4096'.


           The minimum time in minutes to keep a folder cache in memory.
           Caches more recent than this time will not be freed, even if the
           memory usage is too high. You should probably set this value
           higher than your mail check interval. Otherwise the cache will
           always be freed between checks even if the folder is accessed on
           every check, which will cause much disk I/O. Default value is


           Don't use bold and italic text in Compose dialogue's account
           selector if set to '1'. Default value is '0' (use markup).

   default_header_color, default_header_bgcolor

           Foreground and background colors to use for the Compose window's
           header entry values. Default values are '#000000' (black) and
           '#f5f6be' (pale yellow), respectively.

   diff_added_color, diff_deleted_color, diff_hunk_color

           Colors to use when displaying attachments in unified diff format.
           Default values are '#008b8b' (dark cyan), '#6a5acd' (slate blue)
           and '#a52a2a' (red brown) respectively.


           The colour used for the X-Mailer line in Message View when its
           value is Claws Mail. Default value is '#0000CF' (medium blue).


           Enables capture and/or rendering of internal avatars (Face and
           also X-Face headers if built with compface support). '0' disables
           both, '1' enables capture only, '2' enables rendering only and '3'
           enables both. Default value is '3'.

           Note that external plugins already providing these features may
           disable partially or completely this to speed up process,
           regardless of the configured value.


           Enable the horizontal scrollbar in the message list of Summary
           View if set to '1' (default). Set it to '0' to disable.


           Display the sender's email address in the To column of the Sent
           folder instead of the recipient's when set to '1'. Default value
           is '0'.


           The type-ahead function in the Select Folder window will match any
           part of the folder name ('1') or just the start of the folder name
           ('0'). Default value is '1'.


           Specify the policy of vertical scrollbar of Folder List: '0' is
           always shown, '1' is automatic and '2' is always hidden. Default
           value is '0'.


           If enabled ('1') the timezone in date headers is set to the
           unknown timezone value, as specified in section 3 of the RFC 5322.
           Default value is '0'.


           Time in milliseconds that will cause a folder tree to expand when
           the mouse cursor is held over it during drag 'n' drop. Default
           value is '500'.


           Don't ask for confirmation before definitive deletion of emails
           when set to '1'. Default value is '0'.

   log_error_color, log_in_color, log_msg_color, log_out_color,
   log_warn_color, log_status_ok_color, log_status_nok_color,

           The colours used in the log window. Default values are: '#af0000'
           (dark red), '#000000' (black), '#00af00' (dark lime green),
           '#0000ef' (blue), '#af0000' (dark red), '#00af00' (dark lime
           green), '#0000af' (dark blue) and '#aa00aa' (dark magenta)


           Number of rounds (or iterations) to use in PBKDF2 function when
           computing next master passphrase key derivation. Currently stored
           master passphrase KD is not affected by changing this preference.
           Default value is '50000'.


           '0' or '1'. Use the same user-defined date format in the Message
           View as is used in the Message List. Default is '0', turned off.


           '0' or '1'. Controls the message selection after deleting, moving,
           or trashing a message. Default is '0', select previous message.


           '0' or '1'. The outgoing encoding of a message will use 7bit
           US-ASCII whenever it is suitable for the message content, ignoring
           the "Outgoing encoding" option unless it is necessary. Turning
           this option off forces the user-defined encoding to be used,
           regardless of message content. Default is '1', turned on.


           '0' or '1'. Causes the primary buffer to be cleared and the
           insertion point to be repositioned when the middle mouse button is
           used for pasting text. Default is '0', turned off.

   qs_active_color, qs_active_bgcolor, qs_error_color, qs_error_bgcolor

           Foreground and background colors to use in the QuickSearch field
           when the search is active and when there is a syntax error.
           Default values are '#000000' (black), '#f5f6be' (pale yellow),
           '#000000' (black), and '#ff7070' (pale red), respectively.


           '0' or '1'. Respect format=flowed on text/plain message parts.
           This will cause some mails to have long lines, but will fix some
           URLs that would otherwise be wrapped. Default is '0', turned off.


           '0' or '1'. This works around a limitation of some servers with
           'overly-liberal parsers'. When this is turned on and the Content-
           Transfer-Encoding is set to 8bit or 7bit, in a message body
           starting with 'From ' the 'From ' will become '=46rom ' and the
           Content-Transfer-Encoding will be changed to Quoted-Printable.
           When it is turned off no such modification will be made but it is
           very likely that an MTA will convert the 'From ' to '>From '. See
           RFC 4155 for further details. Default value is '1', turned on.


           If set to '1' saves temporary files when opening attachments with
           write bit set. Default value is '0', temporary files are read


           '0' or '1'. Adds margins to the message text area in the Compose
           window. Default is '0', turned off.


           '0' or '1'. Show inline attachments in MimeView. Default is '1',
           turned on.


           Disables the verification of SSL certificates when set to '1'.
           Default value is '0'.


           Update stepping in progress bars. Default value is '10'.


           Specify the value to use when creating alternately coloured lines
           in GtkTreeView components. The smaller the value, the less visible
           the difference in the alternating colours of the lines. Default
           value is '4000'.


           Controls the data displayed in the From column in the Message
           List. Default value '0' displays name, '1' displays address and
           '2' displays both name and address.

   tags_color, tags_bgcolor

           Foreground and background colors to use when displaying tags.
           Default values are '#000000' (black) and '#f5f6be' (pale yellow),


           Display the cursor in the message view when set to '1'. Default
           value is '0'.


           Number of days to include a message in a thread when using "Thread
           using subject in addition to standard headers". Default value is


           Show handles in the toolbars when set to '1'. Default value is


           Allows to type any header on the compose window header entries
           when set to '1'. By default ('0') only the entries available from
           the combobox can be selected.


           Spread message list information over two lines when using the
           three column layout when set to '1' (default). Set it to '0' to
           use only one line.


           Allows Claws Mail to remember multiple SSL certificates for a
           given server/port when set to '1'. This is disabled by default


           Use NetworkManager to switch offline automatically. This is
           enabled by default ('1'). Set it to '0' to ignore NetworkManager.


           Enable alternately coloured lines in GtkTreeView components when
           set to '1' (default). Set it to '0' to disable them.


           Enable alternately coloured lines in the main window GtkTreeView
           components, (Folder List and Message List). The only useful way to
           use this option is to set it to '0' when use_stripes_everywhere is
           set to '1'.


           Use UTF-8 encoding for broken mails instead of current locale when
           set to '1'. Default value is '0'.


           Display a confirmation dialogue on drag 'n' drop of folders when
           set to '1' (default). Set to '0' to bypass this confirmation.


           Display a confirmation dialogue when sending a message to a number
           of recipients larger than the value of this preference. Set to '0'
           to bypass this confirmation.


           Character to show in Folder List counter columns when a folder
           contains no messages. Default value is '0'.


  6.10. Autofaces

   Claws Mail allows setting the Face and X-Face headers directly from files,
   either globally for all defined accounts or on a per-account basis. These
   files must be placed in the ~/.claws-mail/autofaces/ directory.

   If they exist, the global Face and/or X-Face headers for all accounts are
   taken from the face and/or xface files respectively. In a similar manner,
   Face and/or X-Face headers for a specific account can be provided by
   face.accountname and/or xface.accountname, where accountname is the name
   of the account you want this header to be associated with.

   If the name of the account contains characters which may be unsuitable for
   the underlying filesystem (including spaces) these are replaced by
   underscores ("_") when searching for the autofaces of that account. For
   example, if your account is called "<My Mail>", the name for the X-Face
   filename for that account would be
   ~/.claws-mail/autofaces/xface._My_Mail_. Be aware that this feature
   doesn't check the content of the files, or for duplication of headers,
   (most mailers, including Claws Mail, will ignore duplicates and display
   the last one only).


7. Extending Claws Mail

  7.1. Plugins

   Claws Mail's capabilities are extended by plugins, which are listed below.

   Plugins are installed in $PREFIX/lib/claws-mail/plugins/ and have a suffix
   of ".so". To load a plugin go to "Configuration/Plugins" and click the
   "Load Plugin" button. Select the plugin that you want and click "Open"

   If you don't find the plugin you're looking for, it is possible that your
   Operating System distribution provides it in a separate package. In this
   case, search for the plugin in your package manager.

   Some plugins provide the same functionality as others, (for example, the 3
   anti-Spam plugins). In this case you will have to choose which one to
   load, as Claws Mail will refuse to load more than one of the same type.

   There is a list of all plugins available at

   ACPI Notifier

           Enables new mail notification via the LEDs found on some laptops
           like Acer, Asus, Fujitsu and IBM laptops. More information:


           Saves all unknown recipient addresses ("To", "Cc" and/or "Bcc") to
           a designated addressbook folder.


           Reminds you about possibly forgotten attachments. Checks for
           common expressions found when attaching a file and warns you if no
           attachment was added to the mail you're sending. More information:


           Allows you to remove attachments from emails.


           The Bogofilter plugin comes with two major features:

           The ability to scan incoming mail received from a POP, IMAP or
           LOCAL account using Bogofilter. It can optionally delete mail
           identified as spam or save it to a designated folder. Mail
           scanning can be turned off.

           The ability for users to teach Bogofilter to recognise spam or
           ham. You can train Bogofilter by marking messages as spam or ham
           from the Message List contextual menu, or using the relevant
           toolbar button in the main window or the message window (see
           "Configuration/Preferences/Toolbars"). Messages marked as spam are
           optionally saved to a designated folder.

           Plugin preferences can be found in

           Bogofilter's advantage over Spamassassin is its speed.

           Bogofilter must be trained before it can filter messages. To train
           it you will need to mark some spam as Spam, and some legitimate
           emails as Ham.

           Bogofilter is available from


           BSFilter is a plugin that is very similar to the Bogofilter plugin
           but uses the bsfilter ( bayesian spam
           filter as a backend.

           Like Bogofilter, you have to train it with spam and ham messages
           in order for bsfilter to start recognising spam.

           Plugin preferences can be found in


           Allows scanning all messages received from IMAP, POP or local
           accounts using the clam daemon part of the ClamAV (AntiVirus)
           software (


           Enables the rendering of HTML messages using the GTK+ port of the
           WebKit library. By default, no remote content is loaded.

           Plugin preferences can be found in


           Inserts headers containing some download information, like UIDL,
           Claws Mail' account name, POP server, user ID and retrieval time.


           Provides an interface to Google services using the gdata library.
           Currently, the only implemented functionality is to include Google
           Contacts in the Tab-address completion.


           Enables the display of avatar images associated with user profiles
           at or the user's avatar enabled domains. More

   Mail Archiver

           Enables folders and subfolders to be archived in several different


           Handles mailboxes in MBox format.


           Writes a message header summary to a log file, (Default:
           ~/Mail/NewLog), on arrival of new mail after sorting.


           Provides various ways to notify the user of new and unread email.
           More information:

   PDF Viewer

           Allows rendering of PDF and PostScript attachments using the
           Poppler library and GhostScript external program. More


           Intended to extend the filtering possibilities of Claws Mail. It
           provides a Perl interface to Claws Mail' filtering mechanism,
           allowing the use of full Perl power in email filters.

   PGP/Core, PGP/Inline and PGP/MIME

           Handles PGP signed and/or encrypted mails. You can decrypt mails,
           verify signatures or sign and encrypt your own mails. Uses
           GnuPG/GPGME, More information:


           This plugin provides Python integration features. More


           Allows you to read your favorite newsfeeds in Claws. RSS 1.0, 2.0
           and Atom feeds are currently supported. More information:


           Handles S/MIME signed and/or encrypted mails. You can decrypt
           mails, verify signatures or sign and encrypt your own mails. Uses
           GnuPG/GPGME and GpgSM,


           The SpamAssassin plugin comes with two major features:

           The ability to scan incoming mail received from a POP, IMAP or
           LOCAL account using SpamAssassin. It can optionally delete mail
           identified as spam or save it to a designated folder. Mail
           scanning can be turned off, which is useful if your email is
           scanned on your server.

           The ability for users to teach SpamAssassin to recognise spam or
           ham. You can train SpamAssassin by marking messages as spam or ham
           from the Message List contextual menu, or using the relevant
           toolbar button in the main window or the message window (see
           "Configuration/Preferences/Toolbars"). Messages marked as spam are
           optionally saved to a designated folder.

           Plugin preferences can be found in

           SpamAssassin's advantage over Bogofilter is that it's not only a
           bayesian filter, but it also performs various local and network
           tests to determine spaminess.

           SpamAssassin is available from
           Version 3.1.x or higher is required to use the learning feature in
           TCP mode.


           This plugin reports spam to various places. Currently the sites
  and are supported, and the Debian lists
           ( spam nomination system.

   TNEF parse

           This plugin enables reading application/ms-tnef attachments. More


           Enables vCalendar message handling like that produced by Evolution
           or Outlook, and Webcal subscriptions. More information:

   If you're a developer, writing a plugin to extend Claws Mail's
   capabilities is probably the best and easiest solution. We will provide
   hosting to your code, and will be glad to answer your questions in the
   mailing-list or on the IRC channel, #claws on Freenode.


  7.2. Network access from the plugins

   Some of the external plugins, for example RSSyl, vCalendar, Libravatar or
   Fancy, need Internet access for their operations (retrieving feeds in the
   case of RSSyl or vCalendar, and fetching images in the case of Libravatar
   or Fancy). These plugins use the Curl library. Hence, if your Internet
   access is restricted by a proxy, you will need to tell libCurl to use this
   proxy. This is done by setting an environment variable, http_proxy. For
   example, http_proxy= will tell
   libCurl to connect to port 8080 of the machine, with
   the user "user" and password "passwd" to connect to the Internet.

   You can either set this variable before starting Claws Mail by using, for
   example, http_proxy=
   claws-mail, or you can set it in your ~/.bashrc file (or your shell
   equivalent), by adding the following line[1]: export
   http_proxy= (you'll have to
   reconnect to have it taken into account).


  7.3. Plugin path configuration

   By default, when loading a plugin, its full path is saved in

   As most users have only one copy of Claws Mail installed and always use
   the same installation method, this is not a problem.

   However, if you have multiple copies of Claws Mail installed and want to
   share the same configuration among them, this may not work, particularly
   when using different versions of Claws Mail.

   A second installed copy will try to load the plugins installed by the
   first and, if the versions differ, the plugins will be rejected.

   In order to avoid this problem you can manually edit the plugins section
   in the clawsrc file, replacing the full path with just the plugin file
   name of those you want to load relative to the copy of Claws Mail being

   In so doing, each copy of Claws Mail will try to load those plugins from
   its own plugin directory, rather than a fixed location.


                             A. The Claws Mail FAQ

A.1. What are the differences between Claws Mail and Sylpheed?

   Claws Mail is a fork of Sylpheed, therefore you will find that it has all
   the features that Sylpheed has and a lot more besides. It also includes
   some modified dialogues to enhance usability. Further information can be
   found at


A.2. Does Claws Mail allow me to write HTML styled messages?

   No. A discussion has gone on around this topic, and the outcome was that
   HTML mail is not wanted. If you really need to send HTML, you can of
   course attach a webpage to an email.


A.3. How can I submit patches, report bugs, and talk about Claws Mail with

   Patches should be submitted via our Bugzilla,, but please follow the
   patch guidelines at

   Bug reports should be submitted at our Bugzilla,

   To talk to others, you should join the Claws Mail users' mailing list.
   Details can be found at


A.4. Does Claws Mail have an anti-spam feature?

   Yes. It has a SpamAssassin and a Bogofilter plugin. You can find details
   of it on the Extending Claws Mail chapter.

   You can also use other spam filters via the "Filtering" and "Actions"
   features. Instructions on how to use other antispam filters with Claws
   Mail can be found as a Bogofilter-based example on the   Bogofilter FAQ.


A.5. Does Claws Mail support Return Receipts?

   Yes. To request a Return Receipt use "Options/Request Return Receipt" in
   the Compose window. When you receive a message that requests a Return
   Receipt a notification area is shown just above the message view. You can
   either use the "Send receipt" button, or ignore the request - no receipts
   are sent automatically.

   If you do not ever want to send Return Receipts then you can use the
   option "Never send Return Receipts" in the "Configuration/Preferences/Mail
   Handling/Sending" page.


A.6. How can I make Claws Mail notify me when new mail arrives?

   Go to "Configuration/Preferences", in the "Mail Handling/Receiving"
   section, use the settings for "Run command" in the "After receiving new
   mail" frame. Alternatively, use the Trayicon plugin.


A.7. Why are special characters (e.g. umlauts) not displayed correctly?

   In most cases, this is caused by emails with broken encodings. You can try
   to force it using the "View/Character Encoding" submenu.


A.8. Can I quote just a section of the original message when replying?

   Yes, select the section of the message that you want to quote and use


A.9. Where can I find the answers to more FAQs about Claws Mail?

   An enlarged, user-contributed FAQ can be found on the Claws Mail website,


                         B. Default keyboard shortcuts

B.1. Motivations and general conventions

   Although Claws Mail is a graphical application and can mainly be commanded
   with your mouse, it also requires the frequent use of the keyboard.
   Composing a mail is the most common of the tasks that require the use of
   the keyboard. For people who write a lot of mails, having to move hands
   from keyboard to mouse greatly reduces productivity, so Claws Mail
   provides keyboard shortcuts to allow faster operation.

   This not only benefits power users by providing keyboard alternatives and
   keyboard navigation, it also enables people with disabilities, (who may
   not be able to properly control a pointing device), to use Claws Mail.

   The most general convention is the Escape key. Focused dialogues or
   windows can be closed by hitting the Esc key.

   There are other key combinations which are assigned by default to menu
   items. We won't list these here, as they are already shown on the
   righthand side of the menus themselves, so you can easily learn them with
   usage. Furthermore, if you don't like them, these shortcuts can be changed
   on the fly by focusing on the menu item and pressing the desired key

   In addition to these shortcuts there are others which vary from window to
   window, which are summarised in the following sections.


B.2. Main window

    Shortcut     |                                                            
    Ctrl+p       | Print...                                                   
    Ctrl+w       | Work offline                                               
    Ctrl+Shift+s | Synchronise folders                                        
    Ctrl+s       | Save as...                                                 
    Ctrl+q       | Exit                                                       
    Ctrl+c       | Copy                                                       
    Ctrl+a       | Select all                                                 
    Ctrl+f       | Find in current message...                                 
    Shift+Ctrl+f | Search folder...                                           
    Ctrl+t       | Toggle threaded display                                    
    n            | Go to next mail in Message List. The Down arrow does the   
                 | same.                                                      
    p            | Go to previous mail. The Up arrow is a synonym.            
    Shift+n      | Go to next unread mail.                                    
    Shift+p      | Go to previous unread mail.                                
    g            | Go to other folder...                                      
    Ctrl+u       | Show message source                                        
    Ctrl+h       | Show all message headers                                   
                 | Toggles the message view panel visibility. When            
    v            | invisible, Message List expands itself to fill the full    
                 | window height and more summary lines are displayed.        
    /            | Positions the cursor on the Quicksearch field, also        
                 | opening the Quicksearch panel if needed.                   
    Ctrl+Alt+u   | Update summary                                             
    Ctrl+i       | Get mail from current account                              
    Shift+Ctrl+i | Get mail from all accounts                                 
    Ctrl+m       | Compose a new message                                      
    Ctrl+r       | Reply                                                      
    Shift+Ctrl+r | Reply to all                                               
    Ctrl+l       | Reply to mailing list                                      
    Ctrl+Alt+f   | Forward message                                            
    Ctrl+o       | Move...                                                    
    Shift+Ctrl+o | Copy...                                                    
    Ctrl+d       | Move to trash                                              
    Shift+d      | Empty all Trash folders                                    
    Shift+*      | Mark message                                               
    u            | Unmark message                                             
    Shift+!      | Mark message as unread                                     
    Shift+Ctrl+a | Open address book                                          
    x            | Execute                                                    
    Shift+Ctrl+l | Open log window                                            
    Ctrl+F12     | Toggles menu bar visibility                                


B.3. Compose window

    Shortcut     |                              
    Ctrl+Return  | Send                         
    Shift+Ctrl+s | Send later                   
    Ctrl+m       | Attach file                  
    Ctrl+i       | Insert file                  
    Ctrl+g       | Insert signature             
    Ctrl+s       | Save                         
    Ctrl+w       | Close                        
    Ctrl+z       | Undo                         
    Ctrl+y       | Redo                         
    Ctrl+x       | Cut                          
    Ctrl+c       | Copy                         
    Ctrl+v       | Paste                        
    Ctrl+a       | Select all                   
    Ctrl+b       | Move a character backward    
    Ctrl+f       | Move a character forward     
    Ctrl+e       | Move to end of line          
    Ctrl+p       | Move a previous line         
    Ctrl+n       | Move a next line             
    Ctrl+h       | Delete a character backward  
    Ctrl+d       | Delete a character forward   
    Ctrl+u       | Delete line                  
    Ctrl+k       | Delete to end of line        
    Ctrl+l       | Wrap current paragraph       
    Ctrl+Alt+l   | Wrap all long lines          
    Shift+Ctrl+l | Toggle auto wrapping         
    Shift+Ctrl+x | Edit with external editor    
    Shift+Ctrl+a | Open address book            


                              C. Acknowledgements

   The Claws Mail manual was written by:

     * Colin Leroy

     * Paul Mangan

     * Ricardo Mones

     * Tristan Chabredier

   Thanks to:

     * Hiroyuki Yamamoto for starting Sylpheed, and all past and current

     * Caroline, Clo and Silvia for their tolerance wrt long hacking

     * Norman Walsh, for his invaluable technical help and assistance with
       the PDF version of this manual

     * ...


                                  D. Glossary



           An account represents an identity within Claws Mail. As such only
           one email address is associated with each account. However, the
           number of accounts you can setup is unlimited.

   Action (filtering/processing rules)

           An action is something that is performed on a message when it
           matches the rule conditions. A typical action is moving the
           message to a particular folder. See also   Condition
           (filtering/processing rules) .


           Actions are user-defined commands that can be applied to a
           message, or part of a message, using a special syntax. They are
           presented to the user in a customisable menu.

   Address book

           Storage for names, mail addresses and custom user attributes. Also
           provides access to   LDAP servers and   vCard files.


           American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard  
           Character encoding using 7 bit. It's defined as an Internet
           standard in RFC 20.


           Additional file(s) included with a mail message. Some attachments
           can be displayed by Claws Mail, others require external programs. 
           Plugins can provide additional functions for attachments.


   Character encoding

           A map between written symbols, like letters and other symbols, and
           the numbers used to represent them inside the computer. The most
           well-known character encoding is probably   ASCII , but it has
           been superseded by others, such as   UTF-8 .


           Create new a message text or a reply to a received mail in the
           Compose window.

   Condition (filtering/processing rules)

           The prerequisites that a mail message must fulfil in order for the
           rule's action to be executed. See also   Action
           (filtering/processing rules) .


   Digital signature (GPG)

           A piece of data obtained from merging a message and a
           cryptographic key which ensures message authorship, in a similar
           way that a hand-written signature does in a document. This piece
           of data is sent with the m essage so the recipient can verify its


   Encryption (GPG)

           Scrambling a message with a cryptographic key so that only the
           recipient and ownwer of the key password can unscramble it for



           A more modern implementation of the   X-Face , it's a coloured
           image (48x48 pixels) included in the message headers.

   Filtering rule

           A   Rule applied to incoming messages. Filtering rules can be also
           applied manually to the contents of any folder.


           A folder is the primary message container. Folders can be local or
           remote, but they are managed in a uniform way by Claws Mail.


           To send a copy of a received mail to another recipient, optionally
           adding your own message.



           Machine readable lines which form the first part of a mail
           message. The purpose of headers varies; Typical headers are From
           and To which state the sender and recipient of the message, others
           are used by the mail system. Some headers are optional and are
           used to provide additional information, such as   X-Face or   Face


           Acronym for Hyper-Text Markup Language. It was the standard
           language to encode web pages in the beginning of the   WWW . Some
           mail clients use this language to encode the textual body of mails
           in order to craft special effects to text at the cost of
           multiplying the message size several times. HTML mail is also
           widely used by spammers to send   Spam .



           Internet Messaging Access Protocol (version 4). A protocol for
           accessing email on a remote server from a local client. All
           messages are stored in the remote server.

   Immediate execution

           When the "Execute immediately when moving or deleting messages"
           option is used, operations performed on messages, (like deletions
           or movements), are performed immediately. If the option is turned
           off, all operations performed on messages by the user are only
           carried out when the "Execute" button is pressed.


           Internet Service Provider. A company which provides Internet
           access to its customers. In the dialup access age these were the
           big telephony companies, with the arrival of broadband access the
           number of companies and types of services offered has grown



           Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. A protocol for accessing
           information directories such as organisations, individuals, phone
           numbers, and addresses.


           LDAP Data Interchange Format. A text file format widely used for
           moving data between   LDAP servers and/or other programs.

   Local mbox file

           A local mailbox spool file in   MBox format.

   Log window

           A special window which records protocol operations in detail that
           are performed by Claws Mail. It's a useful tool for debugging.



           The root folder of the folder hierarchy.


           A mailbox format in which all mail is kept in separate files.
           Maildir++ is an extension to the maildir format.


           Electronic mailing-lists are a special usage of email that allows
           for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users.
           They often take the form of discussion lists, like the Claws Mail
           users' list, where a subscriber uses the mailing-list to send
           messages to all the other subscribers, who may answer in similar

   Mark (message)

           An arbitrary indicator that can be set on a message by the user in
           order to draw attention to the message. Marks are shown in the
           Mark column of the Message List.


           A mailbox format in which all mail is concatenated and stored in a
           single file. The mbox format supported by Claws Mail is mboxrd.


           A message is the basic piece of information handled by Claws Mail.
           A message is usually an email message, which is stored in   MH
           format on disk. Other kinds of messages (and storage formats) can
           be handled through   Plugins .


           A mailbox format in which all mail is kept in separate files. This
           is the default mailbox format used by Claws Mail.


           Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. Internet standards for
           representing binary data in   ASCII text format,   Headers
           encoding and   Attachment s.



           Network News Transfer Protocol. The protocol used to post,
           distribute, and retrieve   USENET messages, also called news
           articles or simply news for short.


           A set of hierarchical partitions of   USENET messages on a   News
           server . The   NNTP protocol allows the user to subscribe to one
           or more newsgroups. New messages posted to the subscribed groups
           are automatically downloaded on connection.

   News server

           Server which provides access to   USENET messages in   Newsgroups
           through the   NNTP protocol.



           Portable Document Format. An open binary file format developed by
           Adobe Systems to allow interchanging of printable documents
           between different platforms. Inherits some features from  
           PostScript but not being a language made it easier to process,
           especially on desktop computers.

   PGP Inline

           Digital signing method which includes the signature data in the
           message body. Currently deprecated in favour of   PGP MIME .


           Digital signing method which includes the signature data as a
           separate   MIME   Attachment .


           External modules which can be loaded and used by Claws Mail to
           extend its functionality. Technically speaking these modules are
           shared libraries which can register one or several functions to be
           called by Claws Mail when something interesting is being done.


           Post Office Protocol (version 3). A protocol for retrieving email
           from a remote server. Messages can be automatically removed from
           server after downloading.


           Page description language primarily used and understood by
           printing devices to generate its output. Was developed by Adobe
           Systems and is now a widely used standard in the printing
           industry. As it's a fully featured interpreted language it
           requires some processing power to deal with.

   Privacy (GPG)

           Privacy provides methods for both signing and encrypting mail
           messages you send and also for verifying and decrypting signed and
           encrypted messages that you receive.

   Processing rule

           A   Rule or set of rules belonging to a folder which are executed
           on entering the folder.



           Temporary storage for messages which are waiting to be sent,
           either because they couldn't be sent due a network failure or
           because the user requested them to be sent later.

   Quick Search

           A powerful way to search for messages using almost any criteria
           that you can think of.


           When replying to a message the user will often include a quoted
           section of that message to provide the context. The quoted section
           is shown by the prepending of a common character, usually ">".


   Recursive (Quick Search)

           A recursive   Quick Search will also search in all subfolders of
           the selected folder.


           To send a copy of a received mail in its original form to another


           Answer to a received message. As verb also the act of answering a


           Simple encryption method used since Romans age, which uses an
           alphabet rotated thirteen positions to encode each letter of the
           message. Used sometimes to hide funny messages on mails.


           Logical structure comprised of one or more conditions (see  
           Condition (filtering/processing rules) ) and one or more
           associated actions (see   Action (filtering/processing rules) ).
           Rules are used for filtering mail messages.



           Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. A protocol for sending email to

   SMTP server

           A server which receives mail messages from other hosts and/or
           sends mail messages to other hosts using the   SMTP protocol.

   Source (message)

           The full text of a message as it is transmitted over the network.
           This includes all headers, message body and encoded attachments if


           Junk mail, unsolicited commercial emails.

   Spell checking

           Automatic verification of spelling while typing or after
           composition has finished.


           Secure Sockets Layer. A protocol used to encrypt and protect data
           sent over a network.

   SSL certificate

           A certificate installed on a secure server that is used for


           STARTTLS (Start Transport Layer Security) is a command used to
           initiate a secure connection between two servers using   SSL .

   Sticky (Quick Search)

           When the sticky option is set on   Quick Search the search terms
           are not cleared when changing folders.

   Synchronisation (folder)

           Making the contents of a local folder mirror those of an
           equivalent remote folder in the associated mail server.



           Transmission Control Protocol. The main protocol used in the
           Internet. Allows media-independent reliable connections between
           two endpoints and is supported by all modern Operating Systems in


           Image sets for changing the appearance of buttons, folders and
           other graphical elements of Claws Mail.

   Thread (messages)

           A set of messages loosely relating to each other.


           Sets of buttons arranged horizontally which provide access to all
           commonly used functions. Toolbars in Claws Mail can be customised.



           Unique IDentification Listing. A   POP3 command which allows
           single message handling by asigning a unique identifier for each


           Uniform Resource Locator. A naming scheme for objects (usually
           files) in a multi-protocol networked environment like current
           Internet. For example, this is the one of the Claws Mail home


           User's Network. A bulletin board system of discussion groups,
           often called   Newsgroups .


           8-bit Unicode Transformation Format. A variable length character
           encoding capable of representing any universal character. An
           Internet standard defined in RFC 3629.



           File format standard for Personal Data Interchange, it can hold
           information such as address, phone numbers, etc., much like the
           information usually found in a business card. They are commonly
           found attached to mail messages.



           Restructuring of the message text based on a user-defined maximum
           number of characters per line. Wrapping ensures that paragraphs
           are justified, which means that they are aligned to the left and
           right margins.


           World Wide Web, the hyperlinked network of web pages across the



           Specially coded black and white image (48x48 pixels) included in
           the message headers. Capable mailers like Claws Mail and others
           can decode and show it alongside the message text. Although they
           are not unique, they can help to quickly identify the message
           sender. See also   Face .


                         E. Gnu General Public License



   [1] Other shells may have diferent syntaxes, check your shell's manual