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notmuch-reply - Man Page

constructs a reply template for a set of messages


notmuch reply [option ...] <search-term> ...


Constructs a reply template for a set of messages.

To make replying to email easier, notmuch reply takes an existing set of messages and constructs a suitable mail template. Its To: address is set according to the original email in this way: if the Reply-to: header is present and different from any To:/Cc: address it is used, otherwise From: header is used. Unless --reply-to=sender is specified, values from the To: and Cc: headers are copied, but not including any of the current user's email addresses (as configured in primary_mail or other_email in the .notmuch-config file) in the recipient list.

It also builds a suitable new subject, including Re: at the front (if not already present), and adding the message IDs of the messages being replied to to the References list and setting the In-Reply-To: field correctly.

Finally, the original contents of the emails are quoted by prefixing each line with '> ' and included in the body.

The resulting message template is output to stdout.

Supported options for reply include


Reply to duplicate number N. The numbering starts from 1, and matches the order used by show --duplicate and search --output=files.


Includes subject and quoted message body as an RFC 2822 message.


Produces JSON output containing headers for a reply message and the contents of the original message. This output can be used by a client to create a reply message intelligently.


Produces S-Expression output containing headers for a reply message and the contents of the original message. This output can be used by a client to create a reply message intelligently.


Only produces In-Reply-To, References, To, Cc, and Bcc headers.


Use the specified structured output format version. This is intended for programs that invoke notmuch internally. If omitted, the latest supported version will be used.

all (default)

Replies to all addresses.


Replies only to the sender. If replying to user's own message (Reply-to: or From: header is one of the user's configured email addresses), try To:, Cc:, and Bcc: headers in this order, and copy values from the first that contains something other than only the user's addresses.


If true, decrypt any MIME encrypted parts found in the selected content (i.e., "multipart/encrypted" parts). Status of the decryption will be reported (currently only supported with --format=json and --format=sexp), and on successful decryption the multipart/encrypted part will be replaced by the decrypted content.

If auto, and a session key is already known for the message, then it will be decrypted, but notmuch will not try to access the user's secret keys.

Use false to avoid even automatic decryption.

Non-automatic decryption expects a functioning gpg-agent(1) to provide any needed credentials. Without one, the decryption will likely fail.

Default: auto

See notmuch-search-terms for details of the supported syntax for <search-terms>.

Note: It is most common to use notmuch reply with a search string matching a single message, (such as id:<message-id>), but it can be useful to reply to several messages at once. For example, when a series of patches are sent in a single thread, replying to the entire thread allows for the reply to comment on issues found in multiple patches. The default format supports replying to multiple messages at once, but the JSON and S-Expression formats do not.

Exit Status

This command supports the following special exit status codes


The requested format version is too old.


The requested format version is too new.

See Also

notmuch, notmuch-config, notmuch-count, notmuch-dump, notmuch-hooks, notmuch-insert, notmuch-new, notmuch-restore, notmuch-search, notmuch-search-terms, notmuch-show, notmuch-tag


Carl Worth and many others


Jun 09, 2024 0.38.3 notmuch