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folder - Man Page

set/list current nmh folder/message


folder [-help] [-version] [+folder] [msg] [-all | -noall] [-create | -nocreate] [-fast | -nofast] [-header | -noheader] [-recurse | -norecurse] [-total | -nototal] [-list | -nolist] [-push | -pop] [-pack | -nopack] [-print | -noprint] [-verbose | -noverbose]

folders is equivalent to folder -all


When folder is given the -print switch (the default), it lists: the current folder, the number of messages in it and their range (low-high), the folder's current message, and an indication of extra files, if any. For example:

inbox+	has  16 messages	(  3- 22);	cur=  5.

If a +folder and/or msg are specified, they will become the current folder and/or message. (When a +folder argument is given, this corresponds to a “cd” operation in the shell; when no +folder argument is given, this corresponds roughly to a “pwd” operation in the shell.) If -noprint is specified, a +folder and/or msg may still be specified to set the current folder and/or message, but the folder summary will not be printed.

If the specified (or default) folder doesn't exist, folder will ask the user if the folder should be created; when standard input is not a tty, the answer is assumed to be “yes”. The -create switch tells folder to create new folders without query. (This is an easy way to create an empty folder for later use.) Specifying -nocreate will cause folder to print an error message and exit without creating a folder.

Multiple Folders

Specifying -all will produce a summary line for each top-level folder in the user's nmh directory, sorted alphabetically.  (If folder is invoked by a name ending with “s” (e.g. folders), -all is assumed.)  Specifying -recurse with -all will include a line for all sub-folders. These folders are all preceded by any read-only folders, which occur as “atr-cur-” entries in the user's nmh context.  For example:

/var/work/folderhas 35 messages( 1- 35);cur=23.
/usr/bugs/Mailhas 82 messages( 1-108);cur=82.
ffhas no messages.
inbox+has 16 messages( 3- 22);cur= 5.
mhhas 76 messages(15- 76);cur=70.
noteshas 2 messages( 1- 2);cur= 1.
ucomhas 124 messages( 1-124);cur= 6; (others).
TOTAL = 339 messages in 7 folders

The “+” after inbox indicates that it is the current folder. The “(others)” indicates that the folder ucom contains files which aren't messages; these may either be sub-folders, or files that don't belong under the nmh file naming scheme.

The header is output if either the -all or -header switches are specified.  It is suppressed by -noheader.

The folder and message totals are output if either the -all or -total switches are specified.  They are suppressed by -nototal.

If -fast is given, only the folder name (or names, in the case of -all) will be listed. (This is faster because the folders need not be read.)

If a +folder is given with the -all switch, folder will, in addition to setting the current folder, list the top-level sub-folders for the current folder (with -norecurse) or list all sub-folders under the current folder recursively (with -recurse).

If msg is supplied, together with +folder or without -all, it will become the current message of +folder (if it had been supplied) or the current folder.

The -recurse switch lists each folder recursively, so its use effectively defeats the speed enhancement of -fast, since each folder must be searched for sub-folders. Nevertheless, the combination of these options is useful.

Compacting a Folder

The -pack switch will compress the message names in the designated folders, removing holes in message numbering.  The -verbose switch directs folder to tell the user the general actions it is taking to compress the folder.

The Folder Stack

The -push switch directs folder to push the current folder onto the folder-stack, and make the +folder argument the current folder.  If +folder is not given, the current folder and the top of the folder-stack are exchanged.  This corresponds to the “pushd” operation in the shell.

The -pop switch directs folder to discard the top of the folder-stack, after setting the current folder to that value. No +folder argument is allowed.  This corresponds to the “popd” operation in the shell.  The -push and -pop switches are mutually exclusive: the last occurrence of either one overrides any previous occurrence of the other. The use of either of these switches also sets -list, by default.

The -list switch directs folder to list the folder-stack. No +folder argument is allowed.  After a successful -push or -pop, the -list action is taken, unless a -nolist switch follows them on the command line.  This corresponds to the “dirs” operation in the shell.  The -push, -pop, and -list switches disable the default -print behavior.



The user's profile.

Profile Components


To determine the user's nmh directory.


To find the default current folder.


To set mode when creating a new folder.


To determine the folder stack.

See Also

mhpath(1), refile(1), rmf(1)



The current folder.




is the default if none of -list, -push, or -pop are specified.


is the default if -push, or -pop is specified.


If +folder and/or msg are given, they will become the current folder and/or message.


There is no way to restore the default behavior (to ask the user whether to create a non-existent folder) after -create or -nocreate is given.

Referenced By

flist(1), mh-folders(5), mhpath(1), nmh(7), refile(1), rmf(1), sortm(1).

The man page folders(1) is an alias of folder(1).

2016-08-29 nmh-1.8