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claws-mail - Man Page

a GTK based fast email and news client


claws-mail [options]...


Claws Mail is an email client (and news reader) based on GTK, running on the X Window System, and aiming for:

· Quick response
· Graceful, and sophisticated interface
· Easy configuration, intuitive operation
· Abundant features

Currently implemented features include:

· POP3 support
· IMAP4rev1 support
· integrated NetNews client
· unlimited multiple account handling
· thread display
· filtering
· MIME (attachments)
· built-in image view
· X-Face and (colour) Face support
· multiple MH folder support
· mbox importing / exporting
· external editor support
· message queueing
· automatic mail checking
· draft message function
· template function
· line-wrapping
· clickable URI
· XML-based address book
· LDAP, vCard, and JPilot support
· newly arrived and unread message management
· Mew/Wanderlust-like key bind
· printing
· APOP authentication support
· SMTP AUTH support
· SSL support (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4rev1)
· IPv6 support
· drag & drop (partially implemented)
· GnuPG support
· automake + autoconf support
· internationalization of UI messages by gettext
· support of many code sets, including UTF-8 (Unicode)
· support for plugins

This list is not complete.


--compose [address]

--compose-from-file file
--subscribe uri
--attach file1 [file2]...
--insert file1 [file2]...
--import-mbox file
--search folder type request [recursive]
--status folder[/subfolder]
--status-full folder[/subfolder]
--select [#mh/mailbox/]folder[/msg|/msgid], a file:// uri or an absolute path
--alternate-config-dir directory
--geometry [WxH][+X+Y]



Default directory for mail storage.


Global program directory.


Manual files in HTML, PDF, PostScript and plain text format.


Global themes directory.


Directory for plugins.


Directory for header files.


Default directory for user's configuration files directory.


Addressbook files.


Automatic Faces and X-Faces files for accounts.


SSL certificates received from mail servers.


Tags directory.


User-defined templates directory.


User's themes directory.


Configuration for account(s).


User-defined custom actions.


User-defined address book custom attributes.


Claws Mail logfile.


Main configuration file.


User-specified commands.


Configuration for custom headers for sending mail.


Configuration for custom display of headers in message view.


Editable extra headers to be added to compose window combobox.


All folders' attributes.


Folder hierarchy listing.


Optional GTK settings to be load on startup.


Filtering and Processing function configuration.


Menu shortcut-key configuration.


User-specified searches in message bodies.


User-specified quick-search list.


User-specified searches in message bodies.


User-specified searches in message list.


User saved passwords.


User-specified tag list.


User-defined custom toolbars.

%TEMP%\claws-win32.log (Windows only)

Claws Mail output file when --debug is enabled. If %TEMP% is not set it defaults to windows directory (usually C:\Windows) or C:\ if windows directory is not available.

%APPDATA%\Claws-mail\claws.log (Windows only)

Claws Mail log file.


To run this program the standard way type:


Alternatively you can run it with the following options:

--compose [address]

To open a Compose window.

--compose "mailto:%t?subject=%s&cc=%c&body=%b"

This syntax can be used in web-browsers and CLI to open a pre-populated Compose window. Possible fields after the destination recipient are: subject, from, cc, bcc, in-reply-to, body, insert (insert a file in body part, needs an absolute path), attach (attach a file, needs an absolute path, see also: --attach).

--compose-from-file file

Open composition window with data from the given file. Use - as file name for reading from standard input. Content format: headers first (To: header required) until an empty line is found, then mail body until end of file.

--subscribe uri

Subscribe to the given URI if possible.

--attach file1 [file2]...

Open composition window with specified files attached.

--insert file1 [file2]...

Open composition window with specified files inserted.


Receive new messages.


Receive new messages from all accounts.


Cancel receiving of messages.


Cancel sending of messages.

--search folder type request [recursive]

Searches mail:
folder ex.: "#mh/Mailbox/inbox" or "Mail"
type: s[ubject],f[rom],t[o],e[xtended],m[ixed] or g: tag
request: search string
recursive: false if arg. starts with 0, n, N, f or F


Send all queued messages.


Show the total number of messages:
[new][unread][unread answers to marked][total]

--status folder[/subfolder]

Show the total number of messages in the specified folder:
[new][unread][unread answers to marked][total]


Show the total number of messages per folder:
[new][unread][unread answers to marked][total]

--status-full folder[/subfolder]

Show the total number of messages int the specified folder:
[new][unread][unread answers to marked][total]


Show session statistics.


Reset session statistics.

--select #mh/Mailbox/inbox/123

--select file://home/johndoe/Mail/inbox/123
--select /home/johndoe/Mail/inbox/123
On startup, jump to the specified folder/message.


Start Claws Mail in (or switch to, if already running) online mode.


Start Claws Mail in (or switch to, if already running) offline mode.


Exit Claws Mail.


For debug mode (on Windows systems output is written to a file instead of standard error output, see Windows only on Files section).


Toggle debug mode of the running Claws Mail instance.


Display the help message.


Display version number.


Display version number and compiled-in features.


Display the CONFIG-DIR.

--alternate-config-dir dir

Start Claws Mail with the configuration stored in the [dir] directory.

--geometry [WxH][+X+Y]

Set initial X geometry of main window.



If defined disables crash dialog (only if Claws Mail has been built with crash dialog feature enabled).


Default host and display number to use.


When using a tunnel command to open server connections these temporary variables are set to the server name and server port respectively in the environment of the running command.


The information to access the GPG agent if using GPG agent is enabled in GPG plugin preferences (this is usually set by the agent when launched, otherwise it likely means the GPG agent is not running).


Assumes that filenames are in the locale encoding rather than in UTF-8.


Full path of the user's home directory.


Locale to use for non-windows systems (the first one not empty is used).


If defined overrides default J-Pilot charset (CP1252).


If defined regular expressions matching follows POSIX standards.


If defined tries to use the Session Manager (only if Claws Mail has been built with libSM feature enabled).


If defined overrides default shell "sh" used by Spamassassin plugin to launch spamc wrappers.


Use this CA certificates directory instead known system directories.


Use this CA certificates file instead of searching known system files.


Used to initialize default "user_id" preference in newly created accounts.


You can search for existing bugs and report new ones on Claws Mail bugzilla:



This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

See COPYING file on toplevel distribution directory for more license details.


The Claws Mail Team

Holger Berndt <berndth@users.sf.net>
Tristan Chabredier <wwp@claws-mail.org>
Darko Koruga <darko@users.sf.net>
Ricardo Mones Lastra <ricardo@mones.org>
Paul Mangan <paul@claws-mail.org>
Salvatore De Paolis <iwkse@claws-mail.org>
Michael Rasmussen <mir@datanom.net>

Previous team members

Hoà Viêt Dinh, Keith Edmunds, Match Grun, Melvin Hadasht, Oliver Haertel, Christoph Hohmann, Alfons Hoogervorst, Andrej Kacian, Werner Koch, Charles Lehner, Colin Leroy, Thorsten Maerz, Pawel Pekala, Leandro A. F. Pereira, Luke Plant, Martin Schaaf, Carsten Schurig, Fabien Vantard, Sergey Vlasov and Hiroyuki Yamamoto.

See Also

Claws Mail Homepage


Claws Mail frequently asked questions


Claws Mail online manual


Claws Mail plugins


X(7), xwininfo(1).


February 17, 2024 The Claws Mail team User Manuals