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aerc - Man Page

a pretty good email client.

Synopsis

aerc [-h] [-v] [-a <account>] [mailto:... | :<command...> | mbox:<file>]

For a guided tutorial, use :help tutorial from aerc, or man aerc-tutorial from your terminal.

Options

-h

Show aerc usage help and exit.

-v

Print the installed version of aerc and exit.

-a <account>

Load only the named account, as opposed to all configured accounts. It can also be a comma separated list of names. This option may be specified multiple times. The account order will be preserved.

--aerc-conf </path/to/aerc.conf>

Instead of using $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/aerc/aerc.conf use the file at the specified path for configuring aerc.

--accounts-conf </path/to/accounts.conf>

Instead of using $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/aerc/accounts.conf use the file at the specified path for configuring accounts.

--binds-conf </path/to/binds.conf>

Instead of using $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/aerc/binds.conf use the file at the specified path for configuring binds.

mailto:address[,address][?query[&query]]

Open the composer with the address(es) in the To field. These addresses must not be percent encoded. If aerc is already running, the composer is started in this instance, otherwise aerc will be started. The following (optional) query parameters are supported:

QueryDescription
subject=<text>Subject line will be completed with the <text>
body=<text>Message body will be completed with the <text>
cc=<address>[,<address>]Cc header will be completed with the list of addresses
bcc=<address>[,<address>]Bcc header will be completed with the list of addresses
in-reply-to=<message-id>In-reply-to header will be set to the message id
account=<accountname>Specify the account (must be in accounts.conf; default is the selected account)
template=<template-file>Template sets the template file for creating the message

Note that reserved characters in the queries must be percent encoded.

:<command...>

Run an aerc-internal command as you would in Ex-Mode. See Runtime Commands below.

mbox:<file>

Open the specified mbox file as a virtual temporary account.

Runtime Commands

To execute a command, press : to bring up the command interface. Commands may also be bound to keys, see aerc-binds(5) for details. In some contexts, such as the terminal emulator, <c-x> is used to bring up the command interface.

Different commands work in different contexts, depending on the kind of tab you have selected.

Dynamic arguments are expanded following aerc-templates(7) depending on the context. For example, if you have a message selected, the following command:

  :filter -f "{{index (.From | emails) 0}}"

Will filter all messages sent by the same sender.

Aerc stores a history of commands, which can be cycled through in command mode. Pressing the up key cycles backwards in history, while pressing down cycles forwards.

Global Commands

These commands work in any context.

:help <topic>
:man <topic>

Display one of aerc's man pages in the embedded terminal.

:help keys
:man keys

Display the active key bindings in the current context.

:new-account [-t]

Start the new account wizard.

-t: Create a temporary account. Do not modify accounts.conf.

:cd <directory>

Changes aerc's current working directory.

:z <directory or zoxide query>

Changes aerc's current working directory using zoxide. If zoxide is not on $PATH., the command will not be registered.

:change-tab [+|-]<tab name or index>
:ct [+|-]<tab name or index>

Changes the focus to the tab with the given name. If a number is given, it's treated as an index. If the number is prepended with + or -, the number is interpreted as a delta from the selected tab. If only a - is given, changes the focus to the previously selected tab.

:exec <command>

Executes an arbitrary command in the background. Aerc will set the environment variables $account and $folder when the command is executed from an Account tab or an opened message.

Note: commands executed in this way are not executed with the shell.

:eml [<path>]
:preview [<path>]

Opens an eml file and displays the message in the message viewer.

Can also be used in the message viewer to open an rfc822 attachment or in the composer to preview the message.

:pwd

Displays aerc's current working directory in the status bar.

:send-keys <keystrokes>

Send keystrokes to the currently visible terminal, if any. Can be used to control embedded editors to save drafts or quit in a safe manner.

Here's an example of quiting a Vim-like editor:

:send-keys <Esc>:wq!<Enter>

Note: when used in binds.conf (see aerc-binds(5)), angle brackets need to be escaped in order to make their way to the command:

<C-q> = :send-keys \<Esc\>:wq!\<Enter\><Enter>

This way the <Esc> and the first <Enter> keystrokes are passed to :send-keys, while the last <Enter> keystroke is executed directly, committing the :send-keys command's execution.

:term [<command>...]
:terminal [<command>...]

Opens a new terminal tab with a shell running in the current working directory, or the specified command.

:move-tab [+|-]<index>

Moves the selected tab to the given index. If + or - is specified, the number is interpreted as a delta from the selected tab.

:prev-tab [<n>]
:next-tab [<n>]

Cycles to the previous or next tab in the list, repeating <n> times (default: 1).

:pin-tab

Moves the current tab to the left of all non-pinned tabs and displays the pinned-tab-marker (default: `) to the left of the tab title.

:unpin-tab

Removes the pinned-tab-marker from the current tab and returns the tab to its previous location.

:prompt <prompt> <command>...

Displays the prompt on the status bar, waits for user input, then appends that input as the last argument to the command and executes it. The input is passed as one argument to the command, unless it is empty, in which case no extra argument is added.

:menu [-c "<shell-cmd>"] [-e] [-b] [-a] [-d] <aerc-cmd ...>

Opens a popover dialog running sh -c "<shell-cmd>" (if not specified [general].default-menu-cmd will be used). When the command exits, all lines printed on its standard output will be appended to <aerc-cmd ...> and executed as a standard aerc command like xargs(1) would do when used in a shell. A colon (:) prefix is supported for <aerc-cmd ...> but is not required.

:menu can be used without an external program by setting <shell-cmd> to -. This also acts as a fallback in case where no <shell-cmd> was specified at all or the executable in the <shell-cmd> was not found.

-c "<shell-cmd>"

Override [general].default-menu-cmd. See aerc-config(5) for more details.

-e: Stop executing commands on the first error.

-b: Do NOT spawn the popover dialog. Start the commands in the background (NOT in a virtual terminal). Use this if <shell-cmd> is a graphical application that does not need a terminal.

<shell-cmd> may be fed with input text using the following flags:

-a: All account names, one per line. E.g.:

'<account>' LF

-d: All current account directory names, one per line. E.g.:

'<directory>' LF

-ad: All directories of all accounts, one per line. E.g.:

'<account>' '<directory>' LF

Quotes may be added by aerc when either tokens contain special characters. The quotes should be preserved for <aerc-cmd ...>.

Examples:

  :menu -adc fzf :cf -a
  :menu -c 'fzf --multi' :attach
  :menu -dc 'fzf --multi' :cp
  :menu -bc 'dmenu -l 20' :cf
  :menu -c 'ranger --choosefiles=%f' :attach

This may also be used in key bindings (see aerc-binds(5)):

  <C-p> = :menu -adc fzf :cf -a<Enter>
:choose -o <key> <text> <command> [-o <key> <text> <command>]...

Prompts the user to choose from various options.

:suspend

Suspends the aerc process. Some ongoing connections may be terminated.

:quit [-f]
:exit [-f]

Exits aerc. If a task is being performed that should not be interrupted (like sending a message), a normal quit call might fail. In this case, closing aerc can be forced with the -f option.

Message Commands

These commands are valid in any context that has a selected message (e.g. the message list, the message in the message viewer, etc).

:archive <scheme>

Moves the selected message to the archive. The available schemes are:

flat: No special structure, all messages in the archive directory

year: Messages are stored in folders per year

month: Messages are stored in folders per year and subfolders per month

:accept [-e|-E]

Accepts an iCalendar meeting invitation.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

:accept-tentative [-e|-E]

Accepts an iCalendar meeting invitation tentatively.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

:copy [-p] [-a <account>] <folder>
:cp [-p] [-a <account>] <folder>

Copies the selected message(s) to <folder>.

-p: Create <folder> if it does not exist.

-a: Copy to <folder> of <account>. If <folder> does not exist, it will be created whether or not -p is used.

:decline [-e|-E]

Declines an iCalendar meeting invitation.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

:delete
:delete-message

Deletes the selected message.

:envelope [-h] [-s <format-specifier>]

Opens the message envelope in a dialog popup.

-h: Show all header fields

-s <format-specifier>

User-defined format specifier requiring two %s for the key and value strings. Default format: %-20.20s: %s

:recall [-f] [-e|-E]

Opens the selected message for re-editing. Messages can only be recalled from the postpone directory.

-f: Open the message for re-editing even if it is not in the postpone directory. Aerc remembers the folder, so the further :postpone call will save the message back there.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

Original recalled messages are deleted if they are sent or postponed again. In both cases you have another copy of the message somewhere. Otherwise the recalled message is left intact. This happens if the recalled message is discarded after editing. It can be deleted with :rm if it is not needed.

:forward [-A|-F] [-T <template-file>] [-e|-E] [<address>...]

Opens the composer to forward the selected message to another recipient.

-A: Forward the message and all attachments.

-F: Forward the full message as an RFC 2822 attachment.

-T <template-file>

Use the specified template file for creating the initial message body. Unless -F is specified, this defaults to what is set as forwards in the [templates] section of aerc.conf.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

:move [-p] [-a <account>] <folder>
:mv [-p] [-a <account>] <folder>

Moves the selected message(s) to <folder>.

-p: Create <folder> if it does not exist.

-a: Move to <folder> of <account>. If <folder> does not exist, it will be created whether or not -p is used.

:patch <args ...>

Patch management sub-commands. See aerc-patch(7) for more details.

:pipe [-bmp] <cmd>

Downloads and pipes the selected message into the given shell command (executed with sh -c "<cmd>"), and opens a new terminal tab to show the result. By default, the selected message part is used in the message viewer and the full message is used in the message list.

Operates on multiple messages when they are marked. When piping multiple messages, aerc will write them with mbox format separators.

-b: Run the command in the background instead of opening a terminal tab

-m: Pipe the full message

-p: Pipe just the selected message part, if applicable

This can be used to apply patch series with git:

:pipe -m git am -3

When at least one marked message subject matches a patch series (e.g. [PATCH X/Y]), all marked messages will be sorted by subject to ensure that the patches are applied in order.

:reply [-acq] [-T <template-file>] [-A <account>] [-e|-E]

Opens the composer to reply to the selected message.

-a: Reply all

-c: Close the view tab when replying. If the reply is not sent, reopen the view tab.

-q: Insert a quoted version of the selected message into the reply editor

-T <template-file>

Use the specified template file for creating the initial message body. If -q is specified, defaults to what is set as quoted-reply in the [templates] section of aerc.conf.

-A_: <account>

Reply with the specified account instead of the current one.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

:read [-t]

Marks the marked or selected messages as read.

-t: Toggle the messages between read and unread.

:unread [-t]

Marks the marked or selected messages as unread.

-t: Toggle the messages between read and unread.

:flag [-t] [-a | -x <flag>]

Sets (enables) a certain flag on the marked or selected messages.

-t: Toggle the flag instead of setting (enabling) it.

-a: Mark message as answered/unanswered.

-x <flag>: Mark message with specific flag.

The available flags are (adapted from RFC 3501, section 2.3.2):

Seen

Message has been read

Answered

Message has been answered

Flagged

Message is flagged for urgent/special attention

Draft

Message is a draft

:unflag [-t] <flag>

Operates exactly like :flag, defaulting to unsetting (disabling) flags.

:modify-labels [+|-]<label>...
:tag [+|-]<label>...

Modify message labels (e.g. notmuch tags). Labels prefixed with a + are added, those prefixed with a - removed. As a convenience, labels without either operand add the specified label.

Example: add inbox and unread labels, remove spam label.

:modify-labels +inbox -spam unread

:unsubscribe [-e|-E]

Attempt to automatically unsubscribe the user from the mailing list through use of the List-Unsubscribe header. If supported, aerc may open a compose window pre-filled with the unsubscribe information or open the unsubscribe URL in a web browser.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

Message List Commands

:disconnect
:connect

Disconnect or reconnect the current account. This only applies to certain email sources.

:clear [-s]

Clears the current search or filter criteria.

By default, the selected message will be kept. To clear the selected message and move cursor to the top of the message list, use the -s flag.

-s: Selects the message at the top of the message list after clearing.

:cf [-a <account>] <folder>

Change the folder shown in the message list to <folder>.

-a <account>

Change to <folder> of <account> and focus its corresponding tab.

:check-mail

Check for new mail on the selected account. Non-imap backends require check-mail-cmd to be set in order for aerc to initiate a check for new mail. Issuing a manual :check-mail command will reset the timer for automatic checking.

:compose [-H "<header>: <value>"] [-T <template-file>] [-e|-E] [<body>]

Open the compose window to send a new email. The new email will be sent with the current account's outgoing transport configuration. For details on configuring outgoing mail delivery consult aerc-accounts(5).

-H "<header>: <value>"

Add the specified header to the message, e.g:

:compose -H "X-Custom: custom value"

-T <template-file>

Use the specified template file for creating the initial message body.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

<body>: The initial message body.

:recover [-f] [-e|-E] <file>

Resume composing a message that was not sent nor postponed. The file may not contain header data unless [compose].edit-headers was enabled when originally composing the aborted message.

-f: Delete the <file> after opening the composer.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

:filter [<options>] <terms>...

Similar to :search, but filters the displayed messages to only the search results. The search syntax is dependent on the underlying backend. Refer to aerc-search(1) for details

:mkdir <name>

Creates a new folder for this account and changes to that folder.

:rmdir [-f]

Removes the current folder.

By default, it will fail if the directory is non-empty (see -f).

-f

Remove the directory even if it contains messages.

Some programs that sync maildirs may recover deleted directories (e.g. offlineimap). These can either be specially configured to properly handle directory deletion, or special commands need to be run to delete directories (e.g. offlineimap --delete-folder).

It is possible, with a slow connection and the imap backend, that new messages arrive in the directory before they show up - using :rmdir at this moment would delete the directory and such new messages before the user sees them.

:next <n>[%]
:next-message <n>[%]
:prev <n>[%]
:prev-message <n>[%]

Selects the next (or previous) message in the message list. If specified as a percentage, the percentage is applied to the number of messages shown on screen and the cursor advances that far.

:next-folder <n>
:prev-folder <n>

Cycles to the next (or previous) folder shown in the sidebar, repeated <n> times (default: 1).

:expand-folder
:collapse-folder

Expands or collapses the current folder when the directory tree is enabled.

:export-mbox <file>

Exports messages in the current folder to an mbox file. If there are marked messages in the folder, only the marked ones are exported. Otherwise the whole folder is exported.

:import-mbox <file>

Imports all messages from an mbox file to the current folder.

:next-result
:prev-result

Selects the next or previous search result.

:search [<options>] <terms>...

Searches the current folder for messages matching the given set of conditions.  The search syntax is dependent on the underlying backend. Refer to aerc-search(1) for details.

:select <n>
:select-message <n>

Selects the <n>th message in the message list (and scrolls it into view if necessary).

:hsplit [[+|-]<n>] :split [[+|-]<n>]

Creates a horizontal split, showing <n> messages and a message view below the message list. If a + or - is prepended, the message list size will grow or shrink accordingly. The split can be cleared by calling :[h]split 0, or just :[h]split. The split can be toggled by calling split with the same (absolute) size repeatedly. For example, :[h]split 10 will create a split. Calling :[h]split 10 again will remove the split. If not specified, <n> is set to an estimation based on the user's terminal. Also see :vsplit.

:sort [[-r] <criterion>]...

Sorts the message list by the given criteria. -r sorts the immediately following criterion in reverse order.

Available criteria:

CriterionDescription
arrivalDate and time of the messages arrival
ccAddresses in the Cc field
dateDate and time of the message
fromAddresses in the From field
readPresence of the read flag
flaggedPresence of the flagged flag
sizeSize of the message
subjectSubject of the message
toAddresses in the To field
:toggle-threads

Toggles between message threading and the normal message list.

:fold [-at]
:unfold [-at]

Collapse or un-collapse the thread children of the selected message. If the toggle flag -t is set, the folded status is changed. If the -a flag is set, all threads in the current view are affected. Folded threads can be identified by {{.Thread*}} template attributes in [ui].index-columns. See aerc-config(5) and aerc-templates(7) for more details.

:toggle-thread-context

Toggles between showing entire thread (when supported) and only showing messages which match the current query / mailbox.

:view [-p]
:view-message [-p]

Opens the message viewer to display the selected message. If the peek flag -p is set, the message will not be marked as seen and ignores the auto-mark-read config.

:vsplit [[+|-]<n>]

Creates a vertical split of the message list. The message list will be <n> columns wide, and a vertical message view will be shown to the right of the message list. If a + or - is prepended, the message list size will grow or shrink accordingly. The split can be cleared by calling :vsplit 0, or just :vsplit. The split can be toggled by calling split with the same (absolute) size repeatedly. For example, :vsplit 10 will create a split. Calling :vsplit 10 again will remove the split. If not specified, <n> is set to an estimation based on the user's terminal. Also see :split.

Message View Commands

:close

Closes the message viewer.

:next <n>[%]
:prev <n>[%]

Selects the next (or previous) message in the message list. If specified as a percentage, the percentage is applied to the number of messages shown on screen and the cursor advances that far.

:next-part
:prev-part

Cycles between message parts being shown. The list of message parts is shown at the bottom of the message viewer.

:open [-d] [<args...>]

Saves the current message part to a temporary file, then opens it. If no arguments are provided, it will open the current MIME part with the matching command in the [openers] section of aerc.conf. When no match is found in [openers], it falls back to the default system handler.

-d: Delete the temporary file after the opener exits

When arguments are provided:

  • The first argument must be the program to open the message part with. Subsequent args are passed to that program.
  • {} will be expanded as the temporary filename to be opened. If it is not encountered in the arguments, the temporary filename will be appened to the end of the command.
:open-link <url> [<args...>]

Open the specified URL with an external program. The opening logic is the same than for :open but the opener program will be looked up according to the URL scheme MIME type: x-scheme-handler/<scheme>.

:save [-fpaA] <path>

Saves the current message part to the given path. If the path is not an absolute path, [general].default-save-path from aerc.conf will be prepended to the path given. If path ends in a trailing slash or if a folder exists on disc or if -a is specified, aerc assumes it to be a directory. When passed a directory :save infers the filename from the mail part if possible, or if that fails, uses aerc_$DATE.

-f: Overwrite the destination whether or not it exists

-p: Create any directories in the path that do not exist

-a: Save all attachments. Individual filenames cannot be specified.

-A: Same as -a but saves all the named parts, not just attachments.

:mark [-atvT]

Marks messages. Commands will execute on all marked messages instead of the highlighted one if applicable. The flags below can be combined as needed.

-a: Apply to all messages in the current folder

-t: toggle the mark state instead of marking a message

-v: Enter / leave visual mark mode

-V: Same as -v but does not clear existing selection

-T: Marks the displayed message thread of the selected message.

:unmark [-at]

Unmarks messages. The flags below can be combined as needed.

-a: Apply to all messages in the current folder

-t: toggle the mark state instead of unmarking a message

:remark

Re-select the last set of marked messages. Can be used to chain commands after a selection has been acted upon

:toggle-headers

Toggles the visibility of the message headers.

:toggle-key-passthrough

Enter or exit the [view::passthrough] key bindings context. See aerc-binds(5) for more details.

Message Compose Commands

:abort

Close the composer without sending, discarding the message in progress.

If the text editor exits with an error (e.g. :cq in vim(1)), the message is immediately discarded.

:attach <path>
:attach -m [<arg>]
:attach -r <name> <cmd>

Attaches the file at the given path to the email. The path can contain globbing syntax described at https://godocs.io/path/filepath#Match.

-m [<arg>]

Runs the file-picker-cmd to select files to be attached. Requires an argument when file-picker-cmd contains the %s verb.

-r <name> <cmd>

Runs the <cmd>, reads its output and attaches it as <name>. The attachment MIME type is derived from the <name>'s extension.

:attach-key

Attaches the public key for the configured account to the email.

:detach [<path>]

Detaches the file with the given path from the composed email. If no path is specified, detaches the first attachment instead.

:cc <addresses>
:bcc <addresses>

Sets the Cc or Bcc header to the given addresses. If an editor for the header is not currently visible in the compose window, a new one will be added.

:edit [-e|-E]

(Re-)opens your text editor to edit the message in progress.

-e: Forces [compose].edit-headers = true for this message only.

-E: Forces [compose].edit-headers = false for this message only.

:multipart [-d] <mime/type>

Makes the message to multipart/alternative and add the specified <mime/type> part. Only the MIME types that are configured in the [multipart-converters] section of aerc.conf are supported and their related commands will be used to generate the alternate part.

-d:

Remove the specified alternative <mime/type> instead of adding it. If no alternative parts are left, make the message text/plain (i.e. not multipart/alternative).

:next-field
:prev-field

Cycles between input fields in the compose window.

:postpone [-t <folder>]

Saves the current state of the message to the postpone folder (from accounts.conf) for the current account by default.

-t: Overrides the target folder for saving the message

If the message was force-recalled with :recall -f from a different folder, the :postpone command will save it back to that folder instead of the default postpone folder configured in settings. Use -t to override that or use :mv to move the saved message to a different folder.

:save [-p] <path>

Saves the selected message part to the specified path. If -p is selected, aerc will create any missing directories in the specified path. If the path specified is a directory or ends in /, aerc will use the attachment filename if available or a generated name if not.

:send [-a <scheme>] [-t <folder>]

Sends the message using this accounts default outgoing transport configuration. For details on configuring outgoing mail delivery consult aerc-accounts(5).

-a: Archive the message being replied to. See :archive for schemes.

-t: Overrides the Copy-To folder for saving the message.

:switch-account <account-name>
:switch-account -n
:switch-account -p

Switches the account. Can be used to switch to a specific account from its name or to cycle through accounts using the -p and -n flags.

-p: switch to previous account

-n: switch to next account

:header [-f] <name> [<value>] :header [-d] <name>

Add a new email header to the compose window. If the header is already set and is not empty, -f must be used to overwrite its value.

-f: Overwrite any existing header.

-d: Remove the header instead of adding it.

:encrypt

Encrypt the message to all recipients. If a key for a recipient cannot be found the message will not be encrypted.

:sign

Sign the message using the account's default key. If pgp-key-id is set in accounts.conf (see aerc-accounts(5)), it will be used in priority. Otherwise, the From header address will be used to look for a matching private key in the pgp keyring.

Terminal Commands

:close

Closes the terminal.

Logging

Aerc does not log by default, but collecting log output can be useful for troubleshooting and reporting issues. Redirecting stdout when invoking aerc will write log messages to that file:

$ aerc > aerc.log

Persistent logging can be configured via the log-file and log-level settings in aerc.conf.

See Also

aerc-config(5) aerc-imap(5) aerc-jmap(5) aerc-notmuch(5) aerc-smtp(5) aerc-maildir(5) aerc-sendmail(5) aerc-search(1) aerc-stylesets(7) aerc-templates(7) aerc-accounts(5) aerc-binds(5) aerc-tutorial(7) aerc-patch(7)

Authors

Originally created by Drew DeVault and maintained by Robin Jarry who is assisted by other open source contributors. For more information about aerc development, see https://sr.ht/~rjarry/aerc/.

Referenced By

aerc-accounts(5), aerc-binds(5), aerc-config(5), aerc-imap(5), aerc-jmap(5), aerc-maildir(5), aerc-notmuch(5), aerc-patch(7), aerc-search(1), aerc-sendmail(5), aerc-smtp(5), aerc-stylesets(7), aerc-templates(7), aerc-tutorial(7).

2024-02-24