From Redbrick Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This page details how to use mutt to read and send email on Redbrick. If you're new to Redbrick, make sure to take a look at the Forwarding first.

Reading your mail

Mutt is the default mail program on RedBrick. To start it, simply type "mutt" into your terminal and hit return.


When you start mutt with its default settings you will taken to your default mailbox. Here you will see a list of all your email split into columns. The first column shows the status of the mail, "N" for new mail, "O" for unread and blank for previously read mail. The next columns contains the number of the mail in the list, the date the mail was received followed by the sender's name. The final column displays the subject of the mail. A highlight bar will show which mail is currently selected.

To read the currently selected mail, press the return key and the contents of the mail will appear in the lower half of the screen. If the mail is too big to fit in the one screen you can continue down through the text by using either the return key or the spacebar. When you are finished reading a message, type "q" This will return you to the main list of emails. To save time you can type the number of the mail in the list followed by the return key to jump to that mail.

Sending an email

To send a mail from mutt, first hit the "m" key.

At the bottom of your screen you will see "To:". If you're sending a mail to another Redbrick user, simply type in their username and hit the return key. The program will take care of the rest. For anyone else, you enter the full email address of of the person you wish to mail: and hit return.

Next you will see "Subject:". Just enter the mail's subject and hit return again. Your default text editor will now launch, on Redbrick this is set to nano, so type in your message here and when you're done, hit ctrl and x to save, then y and return to accept. You will be brought to a menu that confirms the details of your mail at the top. If you are happy with all the details, simply press "y" to send and you're done.

There are more options you have access to before you press "y" outlined below

  • e: Re-edit the message
  • t: Change the primary recipients address
  • c: Add the email address of others you wish to recieve the mail seperated by commas
  • b: Add the email address of others you wish to recieve the mail without the primary recipient knowing
  • s: Change the subject
  • r: Change the default reply-to address
  • f: Define the folder you want a copy of the mail to be saved in
  • q: Cancel the email
  • a: Attach a file to the email. You will be prompted for its location

Deleting email

While viewing the email list, highlight the desired mail, and press "d". The mail is now marked to be deleted. If you wish to delete it immediately, press the $ key (shift and 4). You will be prompted to confirm deletion, hit "y" to delete or "n" to cancel. Otherwise, you will be prompted to confirm deletion when you exit the program.

If you wish to undelete a mail, highlight it and press "u".

Forwarding an email

To send a mail you have received on to another person, highlight the mail and press "f".

You'll have the same options as when you are sending a normal mail. When your editor opens, it will contain the mail you are forwarding and you may add extra text and change it if you wish, or simply leave it as it is. Save and send the message as before.

Setting a signature

A signature is generally a piece of text, a quote, details or whatever that people add onto the end of their mail at the bottom. You can set this permanently by creating a .signature file that gets added on to every mail you send.

To create one, type:

nano ~/.signature

Add in whatever you'd like to be in your signature and save it. Mutt will now add this to all outgoing mails from you.

Exiting mutt

To quit mutt, just press the "q" key while in the mail list. If you're asked to confirm, then hit "y" or "n".


You can also sort all your incoming mail into categories, making things easier to find and read. There are a few steps involved in setting this up, but once they're done you don't have to worry about it anymore. The first step is to create new mailboxes, to do so all you have to do is type "nano ~/.muttrc" (or replace nano with your favourite text editor)


There won't be much here (well anything actually) but we can soon change that.


In the above, what we've done is created four different mailboxes (you can have more if you want) - inbox, spamtrap, gmail and sent. We've also set it so that every mail you send is copied and saved in an inbox called sent.

Once this is done, you will need to cd to ~/Maildir and type "mdmake <mailbox name>" to create it. You will have to do this separately for each one.

You should now start mutt by typing "mutt -y". This will give you a list of all your mailboxes when the program starts. Simply highlight a mailbox and hit return to view it's contents.


To switch to another mailbox hit "c" and enter = followed by the name of the name of the mailbox: =helpdesk. Alternatively, hit "c" and then hit "?" to see a list of all mailboxes. To return to the original mailboxes list hit the tab key.

However none of your mails are currently being filtered, you've just created the mailboxes. To start the filter process you're going to have to use procmail. To do this you're going to have to type "nano ~/.procmailrc" at the termainl (as in the picture above).


It may look like a lot at first, but most of it is the same type of thing again and again. It's basically checking for spam and putting it in the spam folder (Instead of deleting the "spam" mail, we are going to redirect it to a mail folder of its own so that you can occasionally check if it really is spam.) or checking the To/From/Subject fields and matching them to other inboxes. The bit at the very end sets inbox as the mailbox that all the mail that doesn't match any of the other criteria will go to. You may also want to set a more suitable USER= (perhaps your own account name)

You can also type "man procmail" at the terminal for more information.

Another example or two of procmailrc here

Using mutt to read your gmail with IMAP


Mutt will need to be launched with tsocks to get around the DCU proxy.

alias mutt='tsocks mutt'


set from = "Your Name <>"
set imap_user = ""

set folder = "imaps://"
set spoolfile = "=INBOX"
set postponed = "=[Gmail]/Drafts"

set header_cache=~/.mutt/cache/headers
set message_cachedir=~/.mutt/cache/bodies

set move = no
set pager_index_lines=10
set sort=threads
set markers=no
set timeout=300

macro index q '<change-folder>?<toggle-mailboxes>'
macro browser q '<exit><quit>'
bind index G imap-fetch-mail
bind browser G check-new

mailboxes =INBOX =Facefuck =rb