mark man page

mark — manipulate message sequences


mark [+folder] [msgs] [-sequence name ...] [-add | -delete] [-list] [-public | -nopublic] [-zero | -nozero] [-version] [-help]


The mark command manipulates message sequences by adding or deleting message numbers from folder-specific message sequences, or by listing those sequences and messages.

A message sequence is a keyword, just like one of the “reserved” message names, such as “first” or “next”.  Unlike the “reserved” message names, which have a fixed semantics on a per-folder basis, the semantics of a message sequence may be defined, modified, and removed by the user.  Message sequences are folder-specific, e.g., the sequence name “seen” in the context of folder “+inbox” need not have any relation whatsoever to the sequence of the same name in a folder of a different name.

Three action switches direct the operation of mark. These switches are mutually exclusive: the last occurrence of any of them overrides any previous occurrence of the other two.

The -add switch tells mark to add messages to sequences or to create a new sequence.  For each sequence named via the -sequence name argument (which must occur at least once) the messages named via msgs (which defaults to “cur” if no msgs are given), are added to the sequence.  The messages to be added need not be absent from the sequence. If the -zero switch is specified, the sequence will be emptied prior to adding the messages.  Hence, -add -zero means that each sequence should be initialized to the indicated messages, while -add -nozero means that each sequence should be appended to by the indicated messages.

The -delete switch tells mark to delete messages from sequences, and is the dual of -add. For each of the named sequences, the named messages are removed from the sequence.  These messages need not be already present in the sequence.  If the -zero switch is specified, then all messages in the folder are added to the sequence (first creating the sequence, if necessary) before removing the messages. Hence, -delete -zero means that each sequence should contain all messages except those indicated, while -delete -nozero means that only the indicated messages should be removed from each sequence. As expected, the command “mark -sequence foo -delete all” empties the sequence “foo”, and therefore removes that sequence from the current folder's list of sequences.

When creating or modifying sequences, you can specify the switches -public or -nopublic to force the new or modified sequences to be “public” or “private”.  The switch -public indicates that the sequences should be made “public”.  These sequences will then be readable by all nmh users with permission to read the relevant folders.  In contrast, the -nopublic switch indicates that the sequences should be made “private”, and will only be accessible by you.  If neither of these switches is specified, then existing sequences will maintain their current status, and new sequences will default to “public” if you have write permission for the relevant folder. Check the mh-sequence(5) man page for more details about the difference between “public” and “private” sequences.

The -list switch tells mark to list both the sequences defined for the folder and the messages associated with those sequences. Mark will list the name of each sequence given by -sequence name and the messages associated with that sequence.  If the sequence is private, this will also be indicated.  If no sequence is specified by the -sequence switch, then all sequences for this folder will be listed.  The -zero switch does not affect the operation of -list.

The restrictions on sequences are:



The user's profile.

Profile Components


To determine the user's nmh directory.


To find the default current folder.

See Also

flist(1), pick(1), mh-sequence(5)



The current folder.


If -sequence is specified, -list otherwise.


The current message, or all if -list is specified.



If a folder is given, it will become the current folder.

Helpful Hints

Use flist to find folders with a given sequence, and “pick sequence -list” to enumerate those messages in the sequence (such as for use by a shell script).

Referenced By

mh-folders(5), mh-sequence(5), nmh(7), pick(1).

March 31, 2013 nmh-1.6