bsd-mailx

     mail [-dEIinv] [-a header] [-b bcc-addr] [-c cc-addr] [-r from-addr]
          [-s subject] [--] to-addr ...
     mail [-dEIiNnv] -f [file]
     mail [-dEIiNnv] [-u user]

DESCRIPTION
     mail is an intelligent mail processing system which has a command syntax
     reminiscent of ed(1) with lines replaced by messages.

     The options are as follows:

     -a      Specify additional header fields on the command line such as "X-
             Loop: foo@bar" etc.  You have to use quotes if the string con-
             tains spaces.  This argument may be specified more than once, the
             headers will then be concatenated.

     -b bcc-addr
             Send blind carbon copies to bcc-addr.

     -c cc-addr
             Send carbon copies to list of users.  cc-addr should be a comma
             separated list of names.

     -d      Causes mail to output all sorts of information useful for debug-
             ging mail.

     -E      Don't send messages with an empty body.

     -f      Use an alternate mailbox.  Defaults to the user's mbox if no file
             is specified.  When quit, mail writes undeleted messages back to
             this file.

     -I      Forces mail to run in interactive mode, even when input is not a
             terminal.  In particular, the special ~ command character, used
             when sending mail, is only available interactively.

     -i      Ignore tty interrupt signals.  This is particularly useful when
             using mail on noisy phone lines.

     -N      Inhibits initial display of message headers when reading mail or
             editing a mail folder.

     -n      Inhibits reading /etc/mail.rc upon startup.

     -r from-addr
             Use from-addr as the from address in the message and envelope.
             Overrides any from options in the startup files.

     -s subject
             Specify subject on command line (only the first argument after
             the -s flag is used as a subject; be careful to quote subjects
             containing spaces).

     -u user
             Note: For security reasons the -- separator is strongly recom-
             mended for scripts that need to send mails to addresses obtained
             from untrusted sources (such as web forms).

   Startup actions
     At startup time, mail will execute commands in the system command file,
     /etc/mail.rc, unless explicitly told not to by using the -n option.
     Next, the commands in the user's personal command file ~/.mailrc are exe-
     cuted.  mail then examines its command line options to determine whether
     the user requested a new message to be sent or existing messages in a
     mailbox to be examined.

   Sending mail
     To send a message to one or more people, mail can be invoked with argu-
     ments which are the names of people to whom the mail will be sent.  You
     are then expected to type in your message, followed by a control-D ('^D')
     at the beginning of a line.  The section below, Replying to or
     originating mail, describes some features of mail available to help you
     compose your letter.

   Reading mail
     In normal usage, mail is given no arguments and checks your mail out of
     the post office, then prints out a one line header of each message found.
     The current message is initially set to the first message (numbered 1)
     and can be printed using the print command (which can be abbreviated p).
     Moving among the messages is much like moving between lines in ed(1); you
     may use + and - to shift forwards and backwards, or simply enter a mes-
     sage number to move directly.

   Disposing of mail
     After examining a message you can delete (d) or reply (r) to it.  Dele-
     tion causes the mail program to forget about the message.  This is not
     irreversible; the message can be undeleted (u) by giving its number, or
     the mail session can be aborted by giving the exit (x) command.  Deleted
     messages, however, will usually disappear, never to be seen again.

   Specifying messages
     Commands such as print and delete can be given a list of message numbers
     as arguments to apply to a number of messages at once.  Thus delete 1 2
     deletes messages 1 and 2, while delete 1-5 deletes messages 1 through 5.

     Messages may also be selected using one of the following categories:

           *       all messages
           $       last message
           :d      deleted messages
           :n      new messages
           :o      old messages
           :r      read messages
           :u      unread messages

     Thus the command top, which prints the first few lines of a message,
     could be used in top * to print the first few lines of all messages.

   Ending a mail processing session
     You can end a mail session with the quit (q) command.  Messages which
     have been examined go to your mbox file unless they have been deleted, in
     which case they are discarded.  Unexamined messages go back to the post
     office (see the -f option above).

   Personal and system wide distribution lists
     It is also possible to create personal distribution lists so that, for
     instance, you can send mail to ``cohorts'' and have it go to a group of
     people.  Such lists can be defined by placing a line like

           alias cohorts bill ozalp jkf mark kridle@ucbcory

     in the file .mailrc in your home directory.  The current list of such
     aliases can be displayed with the alias command in mail.  System wide
     distribution lists can be created by editing /etc/aliases, (see
     aliases(5)); these are kept in a different syntax.  In mail you send,
     personal aliases will be expanded in mail sent to others so that they
     will be able to reply to the recipients.  System wide aliases are not
     expanded when the mail is sent, but any reply returned to the machine
     will have the system wide alias expanded as all mail goes through an MTA.

   Recipient address specifications
     Recipient addresses (any of the ``To'', ``Cc'' or ``Bcc'' header fields)
     are subject to expansion when the expandaddr option is set.

     An address may be expanded as follows:

     o       An address that starts with a pipe ('|') character is treated as
             a command to run.  The command immediately following the '|' is
             executed with the message as its standard input.

     o       An address that starts with a '+' character is treated as a
             folder.

     o       An address that contains a '/' character but no '!', '%', or '@'
             characters is also treated as a folder.

     o       If none of the above apply, the recipient is treated as a local
             or network mail address.

     If the expandaddr option is not set (the default), no expansion is per-
     formed and the recipient is treated as a local or network mail address.

   Network mail (ARPA, UUCP, Berknet)
     See mailaddr(7) for a description of network addresses.

     mail has a number of options which can be set in the .mailrc file to
     alter its behavior; thus set askcc enables the askcc feature.  (These
     options are summarized below.)

SUMMARY
     (Adapted from the ``Mail Reference Manual''.)

     =       Prints the currently selected message number.

     ?       Prints a brief summary of commands.

     !       Executes the shell (see sh(1) and csh(1)) command which follows.

     alias   (a) With no arguments, prints out all currently defined aliases.
             With one argument, prints out that alias.  With more than one
             argument, creates a new alias or changes an old one.

     alternates
             (alt) The alternates command is useful if you have accounts on
             several machines.  It can be used to inform mail that the listed
             addresses are really you.  When you reply to messages, mail will
             not send a copy of the message to any of the addresses listed on
             the alternates list.  If the alternates command is given with no
             argument, the current set of alternate names is displayed.

     chdir   (cd or ch) Changes the user's working directory to that speci-
             fied, if given.  If no directory is given, then changes to the
             user's login directory.

     copy    (c) The copy command does the same thing that save does, except
             that it does not mark the messages it is used on for deletion
             when you quit.

     delete  (d) Takes a list of messages as argument and marks them all as
             deleted.  Deleted messages will not be saved in mbox, nor will
             they be available for most other commands.

     dp      (also dt) Deletes the current message and prints the next mes-
             sage.  If there is no next message, mail says ``No more
             messages.''

     edit    (e) Takes a list of messages and points the text editor at each
             one in turn.  On return from the editor, the message is read back
             in.

     exit    (ex or x) Effects an immediate return to the shell without modi-
             fying the user's system mailbox, his mbox file, or his edit file
             in -f.

     file    (fi) The same as folder.

     folder  (fo) The folder command switches to a new mail file or folder.
             With no arguments, it tells you which file you are currently
             reading.  If you give it an argument, it will write out changes
             (such as deletions) you have made in the current file and read in
             the new file.  Some special conventions are recognized for the
             name.  # means the previous file, % means your system mailbox,
             %user means user's system mailbox, & means your mbox file, and
             +folder means a file in your folder directory.

     folders
             mbox.  Does not override the delete command.

     ignore  Add the list of header fields named to the ignored list.  Header
             fields in the ignore list are not printed on your terminal when
             you print a message.  This command is very handy for suppression
             of certain machine-generated header fields.  The Type and Print
             commands can be used to print a message in its entirety, includ-
             ing ignored fields.  If ignore is executed with no arguments, it
             lists the current set of ignored fields.

     inc     Incorporate any new messages that have arrived while mail is
             being read.  The new messages are added to the end of the message
             list, and the current message is reset to be the first new mail
             message.  This does not renumber the existing message list, nor
             does it cause any changes made so far to be saved.

     list    (l) List the valid mail commands.

     mail    (m) Takes as argument login names and distribution group names
             and sends mail to those people.

     mbox    Indicate that a list of messages be sent to mbox in your home
             directory when you quit.  This is the default action for messages
             if you do not have the hold option set.

     more    (mo) Takes a message list and invokes the pager on that list.

     next    (n) (like + or CR) Goes to the next message in sequence and types
             it.  With an argument list, types the next matching message.

     preserve
             (pre) A synonym for hold.

     Print   (P) Like print but also prints out ignored header fields.  See
             also print, ignore, and retain.

     print   (p) Takes a message list and types out each message on the user's
             terminal.

     quit    (q) Terminates the session, saving all undeleted, unsaved mes-
             sages in the user's mbox file in his login directory, preserving
             all messages marked with hold or preserve or never referenced in
             his system mailbox, and removing all other messages from his sys-
             tem mailbox.  If new mail has arrived during the session, the
             message ``You have new mail'' is given.  If given while editing a
             mailbox file with the -f flag, then the edit file is rewritten.
             A return to the shell is effected, unless the rewrite of edit
             file fails, in which case the user can escape with the exit com-
             mand.

     Reply   (R) Reply to originator.  Does not reply to other recipients of
             the original message.

     reply   (r) Takes a message list and sends mail to the sender and all

     save    (s) Takes a message list and a filename and appends each message
             in turn to the end of the file.  The filename in quotes, followed
             by the line count and character count is echoed on the user's
             terminal.

     saveignore
             saveignore is to save what ignore is to print and type.  Header
             fields thus marked are filtered out when saving a message by save
             or when automatically saving to mbox.

     saveretain
             saveretain is to save what retain is to print and type.  Header
             fields thus marked are the only ones saved with a message when
             saving by save or when automatically saving to mbox.  saveretain
             overrides saveignore.

     set     (se) With no arguments, prints all variable values.  Otherwise,
             sets option.  Arguments are of the form option=value (no space
             before or after =) or option.  Quotation marks may be placed
             around any part of the assignment statement to quote blanks or
             tabs, i.e., set indentprefix="->".

     shell   (sh) Invokes an interactive version of the shell.

     size    Takes a message list and prints out the size in characters of
             each message.

     source  The source command reads commands from a file.

     top     Takes a message list and prints the top few lines of each.  The
             number of lines printed is controlled by the variable toplines
             and defaults to five.

     Type    (T) Identical to the Print command.

     type    (t) A synonym for print.

     unalias
             Takes a list of names defined by alias commands and discards the
             remembered groups of users.  The group names no longer have any
             significance.

     undelete
             (u) Takes a message list and marks each message as not being
             deleted.

     unread  (U) Takes a message list and marks each message as not having
             been read.

     unset   Takes a list of option names and discards their remembered val-
             ues; the inverse of set.

     visual  (v) Takes a message list and invokes the display editor on each

   Tilde/escapes
     Here is a summary of the tilde escapes, which are used when composing
     messages to perform special functions.  Tilde escapes are only recognized
     at the beginning of lines.  The name ``tilde escape'' is somewhat of a
     misnomer since the actual escape character can be set by the option
     escape.

     ~bname ...
             Add the given names to the list of carbon copy recipients but do
             not make the names visible in the Cc: line ("blind" carbon copy).

     ~cname ...
             Add the given names to the list of carbon copy recipients.

     ~d      Read the file dead.letter from your home directory into the mes-
             sage.

     ~e      Invoke the text editor on the message collected so far.  After
             the editing session is finished, you may continue appending text
             to the message.

     ~Fmessages
             Identical to ~f, except all message headers are included.

     ~fmessages
             Read the named messages into the message being sent.  If no mes-
             sages are specified, read in the current message.  Message head-
             ers currently being ignored (by the ignore or retain command) are
             not included.

     ~h      Edit the message header fields by typing each one in turn and
             allowing the user to append text to the end or modify the field
             by using the current terminal erase and kill characters.

     ~Mmessages
             Identical to ~m, except all message headers are included.

     ~mmessages
             Read the named messages into the message being sent, indented by
             a tab or by the value of indentprefix.  If no messages are speci-
             fied, read the current message.  Message headers currently being
             ignored (by the ignore or retain command) are not included.

     ~p      Print out the message collected so far, prefaced by the message
             header fields.

     ~q      Abort the message being sent, copying the message to dead.letter
             in your home directory if save is set.
     ~Rstring
             Use string as the Reply-To field.

     ~rfilename
     ~<filename

     ~wfilename
             Write the message onto the named file.

     ~x      Abort the message being sent.  No message is copied to
             ~/dead.letter, even if save is set.

     ~?      Prints a brief summary of tilde escapes.

     ~!command
             Execute the indicated shell command, then return to the message.

     ~|command
             Pipe the message through the command as a filter.  If the command
             gives no output or terminates abnormally, retain the original
             text of the message.  The command fmt(1) is often used as command
             to rejustify the message.

     ~:mail-command
     ~_mail-command
             Execute the given mail command.  Not all commands, however, are
             allowed.

     ~~string
             Insert the string of text in the message prefaced by a single ~.
             If you have changed the escape character, then you should double
             that character in order to send it.

     ~.      Simulate end of file on input.

   Mail options
     Options are controlled via set and unset commands.  Options may be either
     binary, in which case it is only significant to see whether they are set
     or not; or string, in which case the actual value is of interest.  The
     binary options include the following:

     append  Causes messages saved in mbox to be appended to the end rather
             than prepended.  This should always be set (perhaps in
             /etc/mail.rc).

     ask, asksub
             Causes mail to prompt you for the subject of each message you
             send.  If you respond with simply a newline, no subject field
             will be sent.

     askbcc  Causes you to be prompted for additional blind carbon copy recip-
             ients at the end of each message.  Responding with a newline
             indicates your satisfaction with the current list.

     askcc   Causes you to be prompted for additional carbon copy recipients
             at the end of each message.  Responding with a newline indicates
             your satisfaction with the current list.

     autoinc

     dot     The binary option dot causes mail to interpret a period alone on
             a line as the terminator of a message you are sending.

     expandaddr
             Causes mail to expand message recipient addresses, as explained
             in the section Recipient address specifications.

     from    Causes mail to use the specified sender address in the ``From:''
             field of the message header.  A stripped down version of the
             address is also used in the message envelope.  If unset, the mes-
             sage will not include an explicit sender address and a default
             value will be added by the MTA, typically ``user@host''.  This
             value can be overridden by specifying the -r flag on the command
             line.

     hold    This option is used to hold messages in the system mailbox by
             default.

     ignore  Causes interrupt signals from your terminal to be ignored and
             echoed as @'s.

     ignoreeof
             An option related to dot is ignoreeof which makes mail refuse to
             accept a control-D as the end of a message.  ignoreeof also
             applies to mail command mode.

     keep    Setting this option causes mail to truncate your system mailbox
             instead of deleting it when it's empty.

     keepsave
             Messages saved with the save command are not normally saved in
             mbox at quit time.  Use this option to retain those messages.

     metoo   Usually, when a group is expanded that contains the sender, the
             sender is removed from the expansion.  Setting this option causes
             the sender to be included in the group.

     noheader
             Setting the option noheader is the same as giving the -N flag on
             the command line.

     nosave  Normally, when you abort a message with two interrupt characters
             (usually control-C), mail copies the partial letter to the file
             dead.letter in your home directory.  Setting the binary option
             nosave prevents this.

     quiet   Suppresses the printing of the version when first invoked.

     Replyall
             Reverses the sense of reply and Reply commands.

     searchheaders
             If this option is set, then a message-list specifier in the form

     verbose
             Setting the option verbose is the same as using the -v flag on
             the command line.  When mail runs in verbose mode, the actual
             delivery of messages is displayed on the user's terminal.

   Option string values
     EDITOR        Pathname of the text editor to use in the edit command and
                   ~e escape.  If not defined, /usr/bin/ex is used.

     LISTER        Pathname of the directory lister to use in the folders com-
                   mand.  Default is /bin/ls.

     MBOX          The name of the mbox file.  It can be the name of a folder.
                   The default is ``mbox'' in the user's home directory.

     PAGER         Pathname of the program to use in the more command or when
                   the crt variable is set.  The default paginator more(1) is
                   used if this option is not defined.

     REPLYTO       If set, will be used to initialize the Reply-To field for
                   outgoing messages.

     SHELL         Pathname of the shell to use in the ! command and the ~!
                   escape.  A default shell is used if this option is not
                   defined.

     TMPDIR        Directory in which temporary files are stored.

     VISUAL        Pathname of the text editor to use in the visual command
                   and ~v escape.  If not defined, /usr/bin/vi is used.

     crt           The valued option crt is used as a threshold to determine
                   how long a message must be before PAGER is used to read it.
                   If crt is set without a value, then the height of the ter-
                   minal screen stored in the system is used to compute the
                   threshold (see stty(1)).

     escape        If defined, the first character of this option gives the
                   character to use in the place of ~ to denote escapes.

     folder        The name of the directory to use for storing folders of
                   messages.  If this name begins with a '/', mail considers
                   it to be an absolute pathname; otherwise, the folder direc-
                   tory is found relative to your home directory.

     indentprefix  String used by the ~m tilde escape for indenting messages,
                   in place of the normal tab character ('^I').  Be sure to
                   quote the value if it contains spaces or tabs.

     record        If defined, gives the pathname of the file used to record
                   all outgoing mail.  If not defined, then outgoing mail is
                   not so saved.

     screen        Size of window of message headers for z.
     the user's mail spool.

FILES
     /var/mail/*                      post office (unless overridden by the
                                      MAIL environment variable)
     ~/mbox                           user's old mail
     ~/.mailrc                        file giving initial mail commands; can
                                      be overridden by setting the MAILRC
                                      environment variable
     /tmp/R*                          temporary files
     /usr/share/bsd-mailx/mail.*help  help files
     /etc/mail.rc                     system initialization file

EXIT STATUS
     The mail utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

SEE ALSO
     fmt(1), newaliases(1), vacation(1), aliases(5), mailaddr(7),
     mail.local(8), newaliases(8), sendmail(8), smtpd(8)

STANDARDS
     The mailx utility is compliant with the IEEE Std 1003.1-2008
     (``POSIX.1'') specification.

     The flags [-iNnu] are marked by IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (``POSIX.1'') as
     being optional.

     The flags [-eFH] are marked by IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (``POSIX.1'') as
     being optional, and are not supported by this implementation of mailx.

     The flags [-abcdEIrv] are extensions to the specification.

HISTORY
     A mail command appeared in Version 3 AT&T UNIX.  This man page is derived
     from the Mail Reference Manual originally written by Kurt Shoens.

BUGS
     Usually, Mail and mailx are just links to mail, which can be confusing.

BSD                            September 7, 2015                           BSD
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