doveadm-mailbox - Man Page

Commands related to handling mailboxes


doveadm [-Dv] [-f formatter] mailbox_cmd [options] [arguments]


doveadm mailbox can be used to query and modify mailboxes.


Global doveadm(1) options:


Enables verbosity and debug messages.

-f formatter

Specifies the formatter for formatting the output. Supported formatters are:


prints each line with key=value pairs.


prints each keyvalue pair on its own line and separates records with form feed character (^L).


prints a table header followed by tab separated value lines.


prints a table header followed by adjusted value lines.

-o setting=value

Overrides the configuration setting from /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf and from the userdb with the given value. In order to override multiple settings, the -o option may be specified multiple times.


Enables verbosity, including progress counter.

Command specific options:


If the -A option is present, the command will be performed for all users. Using this option in combination with system users from userdb { driver = passwd } is not recommended, because it contains also users with a lower UID than the one configured with the first_valid_uid setting.

When the SQL userdb module is used make sure that the iterate_query setting in /etc/dovecot/dovecot-sql.conf.ext matches your database layout. When using the LDAP userdb module, make sure that the iterate_attrs and iterate_filter settings in /etc/dovecot/dovecot-ldap.conf.ext match your LDAP schema. Otherwise doveadm(1) will be unable to iterate over all users.

-F file

Execute the command for all the users in the file. This is similar to the -A option, but instead of getting the list of users from the userdb, they are read from the given file. The file contains one username per line.

-S socket_path

The option's argument is either an absolute path to a local UNIX domain socket, or a hostname and port (hostname:port), in order to connect a remote host via a TCP socket.

This allows an administrator to execute doveadm(1) mail commands through the given socket.

-u user/mask

Run the command only for the given user. It's also possible to use '*' and '?' wildcards (e.g. -u *
When neither the -A option, nor the -F file option, nor the -u user was specified, the command will be executed with the environment of the currently logged in user.



Is the name of a mailbox, as visible to IMAP clients, except in UTF-8 format. The hierarchy separator between a parent and child mailbox is commonly '/' or '.', but this depends on your selected mailbox storage format and namespace configuration. The mailbox names may also require a namespace prefix.


mailbox create

doveadm mailbox create [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] [-g guid] [-s] mailbox ...

This command is used to create one or more mailboxes. The mailbox format of the created mailboxes depends on the mail_location setting, or the user's mail field, returned by the userdb.

-g guid

Create the mailbox with the specified GUID.


When this option was given, the created mailboxes will be also added to the user's subscriptions.

mailbox cryptokey

mailbox cryptokey export|generate|list|password

This command is used to manage mail crypt plugin cryptographic keys. Please see doveadm-mailbox-cryptokey(1) for more details.

mailbox delete

doveadm mailbox delete [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] [-s] [-r] [-e] [-Z] mailbox ...

This command deletes a mailbox and expunges all the messages it contains. If the mailbox has any children, they won't be deleted, unless -r is given.


Delete mailboxes recursively


Unsubscribe deleted mailboxes.


Require mailboxes to be empty before deleting.


Delete the mailbox as efficiently as possible, but the user may not be in fully consistent state afterwards. For example quota may be wrong. This option is mainly useful when deleting the entire user.

mailbox list

doveadm mailbox list [-7|-8] [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] [-s] [mailbox ...]

To get an overview of existing mailboxes use this command. It's also possible to use wildcards in the mailbox name.
When the -s option is present, only subscribed mailboxes will be listed. Listed subscriptions may also contain mailboxes that are already deleted.


Lists the mailboxes with mUTF-7 encoding.


Lists the mailboxes with UTF-8 encoding.

mailbox mutf7

doveadm mailbox mutf7 [-7|-8] name ...

The mailbox mutf7 command may be used to convert the international mailbox name into a modified version of the UTF-7 encoding and vice versa. See RFC 3501, section 5.1.3 (Mailbox International Naming Convention).


Indicates that the name's string representation is mUTF-7 encoded and it should be converted to UTF-8.


Indicates that the name's is UTF-8 encoded and should be converted to mUTF-7 (default).


One or more mailbox names that should be converted.

mailbox rename

doveadm mailbox rename [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] [-s] old_name new_name

The mailbox rename command is used to rename the mailbox old_name to new_name.
When the -s option is given, old_name will be unsubscribed and new_name will be subscribed.

mailbox status

doveadm [-f formatter] mailbox status [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] [-t] fields mailbox ...

Show the status of one or more mailboxes. The mailbox name may also contain wildcards.
This command uses by default the output formatter flow.


Summarize the values of the status fields messages, recent, unseen and/or vsize of multiple mailboxes to a sum (total).


Specify the status fields which should be shown. In order to specify multiple status fields, enclosed them in quotes.


This is a special status field name. It means show all of the following fields. When the -t option is present, it means show only the messages, recent, unseen and vsize fields.


The mailbox's globally unique identifier.


The highest mod-sequence value of all messages in the mailbox.


The number of messages in the mailbox.


The number of messages with the \Recent flag set.


The next unique identifier value.


The unique identifier validity value.


The message sequence number of the first unseen message in the mailbox.


The mailbox's virtual size, computed with CRLF line terminators.


Saved time of the first mail in the mailbox.

mailbox subscribe

doveadm mailbox subscribe [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox ...

This command is used to subscribe one or more mailboxes.

mailbox unsubscribe

doveadm mailbox unsubscribe [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox ...

This command is used to unsubscribe one or more mailboxes.

mailbox update

doveadm mailbox update [-A|-u user|-F] [-S socket_path] [--mailbox-guid guid] [--uid-validity uid] [--min-next-uid uid] [--min-first-recent-uid uid] [--min-highest-modseq seq] [--min-highest-pvt-modseq seq] mailbox ...

This command is used to set UID validity, next UID, first recent UID and modification sequence values.

Usually this is only ever to be used during migration, or restoring mailbox after disaster. Settings these values is highly discouraged, and is not supported for all mail backends.

mailbox cache purge

doveadm mailbox cache purge [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] mailbox ...

Purge the dovecot.index.cache file. Most importantly this frees up disk space  from mails that were already deleted. Normally there i no need to run this  command manually, because the compression is also run automatically.

mailbox cache decision

doveadm mailbox cache decision [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] [--all] [--fields list of fields] [--last-used unix timestamp] [--decision no|temp|yes] mailbox ...

This command is used to list or change caching decisions for field(s) in mailbox(es). You can list decisions by leaving out decision and last-used parameters.


List or change all fields.


List or change these comma/space separated fields.


Set field caching decision. Yes means it's always cached. Temp means it's provisionally cached. No means the field is not cached.


Set field's last used timestamp.

NOTE. This command cannot be used to add new fields to cache! You need to first add them to configuration. Setting caching to no will not immediately drop field from cache, it will stop adding the field to cache.

mailbox cache remove

doveadm mailbox cache remove [-A|-u user|-F file] [-S socket_path] searchquery

Remove any matching mail(s) from cache.

WARNING! This command can erase ALL cached data, causing system slowness.


List subscribed mailboxes, beginning with 'dovecot', of user bob.

doveadm mailbox list -s -u bob dovecot*

Now have a look at the status of user bob's dovecot mailboxes.

doveadm -f table mailbox status -u bob "messages vsize" dovecot*
mailbox                                    messages vsize
dovecot                                    20501    93968492
dovecot/pigeonhole                         0        0
dovecot/pigeonhole/2.0                     47       323474

Converting an internationalized mailbox name from mUTF-7 to UTF-8 and vice versa.

doveadm mailbox mutf7 -7 "~peter/mail/&U,BTFw-/&ZeVnLIqe-"
doveadm mailbox mutf7 ~peter/mail/台北/日本語

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs, including doveconf -n output, to the Dovecot Mailing List <>. Information about reporting bugs is available at:

See Also

doveadm(1) doveadm-search-query(7) doveadm-mailbox-cryptokey(1)

Referenced By


2015-05-09 Dovecot v2.3