lei-q - Man Page

search for messages matching terms


lei q [Options] TERM [TERM...]

lei q [Options] (--stdin|-)


Search for messages across the lei/store and externals.



Read search terms from stdin.


Do not save the search for lei-up(1).


Warning: this clobbers and overwrites the output destination unless "--augment" is specified.

Destination for results (e.g., /tmp/results-Maildir, imaps://user@mail.example.com/INBOX.test, or mboxcl2:/tmp/results-mboxcl2).  The prefix may be a supported protocol: imap:// or imaps://.  URLs requiring authentication use git-credential(1) to fill in the username and password.

A prefix can specify the format of the output: maildir, mboxrd, mboxcl2, mboxcl, mboxo.  For a description of mail formats, see lei-mail-formats(5).

v2:/path/to/inbox may be used to create a new inbox of public-inbox-v2-format(5).  The new inbox will not be configured in the public-inbox-config(5) file.

maildir is the default for an existing directory or non-existing path.

Default: - (stdout)


Format of results to stdout.  This option exists as a convenient way to specify the format for the default stdout destination. reply, text, json, jsonl, or concatjson are all supported, as are the various mbox variants described in "--output".

When a format isn't specified, it's chosen based on the "--output" destination or prefix.  json is used for the default destination (stdout).

Using a format: prefix with the --output destination is preferred when not writing to stdout.


Disable color (for -f reply and -f text).


Pretty print json or concatjson output.  If stdout is opened to a tty and used as the --output destination, --pretty is enabled by default.


A command to run on --output Maildir or mbox (e.g., mutt -f %f). For a subset of MUAs known to accept a mailbox via -f, COMMAND can be abbreviated to the name of the program: mutt, mailx, mail, or neomutt.


Run COMMAND after writing to output.  :WINCH indicates to send SIGWINCH to the --mua process.  :bell indicates to print a bell code.  Any other value is interpreted as a command to execute as is.

This option may be given multiple times.

Default: :WINCH,:bell when --mua is specified and --output doesn't point to stdout, nothing otherwise.


Augment output destination instead of clobbering it.


Do not import keywords before writing to an existing output destination.


Return all messages in the same thread as the actual match(es).

Using this twice (-tt) sets the flagged (AKA "important") on messages which were actual matches.  This is useful to distinguish messages which were direct hits from messages which were merely part of the same thread.

TODO: Warning: this flag may become persistent and saved in lei/store unless an MUA unflags it!  (Behavior undecided)

Caveat: -tt only works on locally-indexed messages at the moment, and not on remote (HTTP(S)) endpoints.


Set the number of query and write worker processes for parallelism.

QUERY_WORKERS defaults to the number of CPUs available, but 4 per remote (HTTP/HTTPS) host.

WRITE_WORKERS defaults to 75% of the number of CPUs available for Maildir and mbox* destinations, but 4 per IMAP/IMAPS host.

Omitting QUERY_WORKERS but leaving the comma (,) allows one to only set WRITE_WORKERS


Strategy for deduplicating messages: content, oid, mid, or none.

Default: content


Whether to include results requiring network access.  When local externals are configured, --remote must be explicitly passed to enable reporting of results from remote externals.


Limit operations to those requiring network access.


Don't include results from externals.


Include specified external in search.  This option may be given multiple times.


Exclude specified external from search.  This option may be given multiple times.


Use only the specified external for search.  This option may be given multiple times, in which case the search uses only the specified set.


Do not match locations using *? wildcards and [] ranges.  This option applies to --include, --exclude, and --only.


Disable the default behavior of memoizing remote messages into the local store.


mbox(5) locking method(s) to use: dotlock, fcntl, flock or none.

Default: fcntl,dotlock


Fuzzy limit the number of matches per-local external and lei/store. Messages added by the --threads switch do not count towards this limit, and there is no limit on remote externals.

Default: 10000


Shift start of search results.

Default: 0


Reverse the results.  Note that this applies before --limit.

-s KEY

Order the results by KEY.  Valid keys are received, relevance, and docid.

Default: received


Provide more feedback on stderr.


Suppress feedback messages.


Whether to wrap git(1) and curl(1) commands with torsocks(1).

Default: auto


Search Terms

lei q supports the same search prefixes used by HTTP(S) public-inbox instances:

  s:        match within Subject  e.g. s:"a quick brown fox"
  d:        match date-time range, git "approxidate" formats supported
            Open-ended ranges such as `d:last.week..' and
            `d:..2.days.ago' are supported
  b:        match within message body, including text attachments
  nq:       match non-quoted text within message body
  q:        match quoted text within message body
  n:        match filename of attachment(s)
  t:        match within the To header
  c:        match within the Cc header
  f:        match within the From header
  a:        match within the To, Cc, and From headers
  tc:       match within the To and Cc headers
  l:        match contents of the List-Id header
  bs:       match within the Subject and body
  dfn:      match filename from diff
  dfa:      match diff removed (-) lines
  dfb:      match diff added (+) lines
  dfhh:     match diff hunk header context (usually a function name)
  dfctx:    match diff context lines
  dfpre:    match pre-image git blob ID
  dfpost:   match post-image git blob ID
  dfblob:   match either pre or post-image git blob ID
  patchid:  match `git patch-id --stable' output
  rt:       match received time, like `d:' if sender's clock was correct

Additional search prefixes which only affect the local lei/store:

  L:       match the given label
  kw:      match the given keywords

See lei-tag(1) for more info on labels and keywords.

Most prefixes are probabilistic, meaning they support stemming and wildcards (*).  Ranges (such as d:) and boolean prefixes do not support stemming or wildcards. The upstream Xapian query parser documentation fully explains the query syntax: <https://xapian.org/docs/queryparser.html>


-f reply is intended to aid in turning a cover letter into a reply (since using git format-patch --in-reply-to=... is tedious).  Results (including "From " lines) should be edited and trimmed in your favorite $EDITOR before sending.


Feedback welcome via plain-text mail to <mailto:meta@public-inbox.org>

The mail archives are hosted at <https://public-inbox.org/meta/> and <http://4uok3hntl7oi7b4uf4rtfwefqeexfzil2w6kgk2jn5z2f764irre7byd.onion/meta/>

See Also

lei-add-external(1), lei-lcat(1), lei-up(1), Xapian::QueryParser Syntax <https://xapian.org/docs/queryparser.html>

Referenced By

lei(1), lei-blob(1), lei-config(1), lei-convert(1), lei-edit-search(1), lei-forget-search(1), lei-index(1), lei-lcat(1), lei-ls-search(1), lei-mail-formats(5), lei-mail-sync-overview(7), lei-overview(7), lei-p2q(1), lei-rediff(1), lei-up(1).

1993-10-02 public-inbox.git public-inbox user manual