(lemacs.info)Mail Headers

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Mail Header Fields

   There are several header fields you can use in the `*mail*' buffer.
Each header field starts with a field name at the beginning of a line,
terminated by a colon.  It does not matter whether you use upper or
lower case in the field name.  After the colon and optional whitespace
comes the contents of the field.

     This field contains the mailing addresses of the message.

     The contents of the `Subject' field should be a piece of text that
     says what the message is about.  Subject fields are useful because
     most mail-reading programs can provide a summary of messages,
     listing the subject of each message but not its text.

     This field contains additional mailing addresses to send the
     message to, but whose readers should not regard the message as
     addressed to them.

     This field contains additional mailing addresses to send the
     message to, but which should not appear in the header of the
     message actually sent.

     This field contains the name of one file (in Unix mail file
     format) to which a copy of the message should be appended when the
     message is sent.

     Use the `From' field to say who you are, when the account you are
     using to send the mail is not your own.  The contents of the
     `From' field should be a valid mailing address, since replies will
     normally go there.

     Use the `Reply-To' field to direct replies to a different address,
     not your own. `From' and `Reply-To' have the same effect on where
     replies go, but they convey a different meaning to the person who
     reads the message.

     This field contains a piece of text describing a message you are
     replying to.  Some mail systems can use the information to
     correlate related pieces of mail.  Normally this field is filled
     in by Rmail when you are replying to a message in Rmail, and you
     never need to think about it (Note: Rmail.).

The `To', `CC', `BCC' and `FCC' fields can appear any number of times,
to specify many places to send the message.

The `To', `CC', and `BCC', fields can have continuation lines.  All the
lines starting with whitespace, following the line on which the field
starts, are considered part of the field.  For example,

     To: foo@here, this@there,

If you have a `~/.mailrc' file, Emacs scans it for mail aliases the
first time you try to send mail in an Emacs session.  Emacs expands
aliases found in the `To', `CC', and `BCC' fields where appropriate.
You can set the variable `mail-abbrev-mailrc-file' to the name of the
file with mail aliases.  If `nil', `~/.mailrc' is used.

   Your `.mailrc' file ensures that word-abbrevs are defined for each
of your mail aliases when point is in a `To', `CC', `BCC', or `From'
field.  The aliases are defined in your `.mailrc' file or in a file
specified by the MAILRC environment variable if it exists.  Your mail
aliases expand any time you type a word-delimiter at the end of an

   In this version of Emacs, what you see is what you get: in contrast
to some other versions, no abbreviations are expanded after you have
sent the mail.  This means you don't suffer the annoyance of having the
system do things behind your back -- if the system rewrites an address
you typed, you know it immediately, instead of after the mail has been
sent and it's too late to do anything about it.  For example, you will
never again be in trouble because you forgot to delete an old alias
from your `.mailrc' and a new local user is given a userid which
conflicts with one of your aliases.

   Your mail alias abbrevs are in effect only when point is in an
appropriate header field. The mail aliases will not expand in the body
of the message, or in other header fields.  The default mode-specific
abbrev table `mail-mode-abbrev-table' is used instead if defined.  That
means if you have been using mail-mode specific abbrevs, this code will
not adversely affect you.  You can control which header fields the
abbrevs are used in by changing the variable `mail-abbrev-mode-regexp'.

   If auto-fill mode is on, abbrevs wrap at commas instead of at word
boundaries, and header continuation lines will be properly indented.

   You can also insert a mail alias with
`mail-interactive-insert-alias'.  This function, which is bound to `C-c
C-a', prompts you for an alias (with completion) and inserts its
expansion at point.

   In this version of Emacs, it is possible to have lines like the
following in your `.mailrc' file:

          alias someone "John Doe <doe@quux.com>"

   That is, if you want an address to have embedded spaces, simply
surround it with double-quotes.  The quotes are necessary because the
format of the `.mailrc' file uses spaces as address delimiters.

   Aliases in the `.mailrc' file may be nested. For example, assume you
define aliases like:
          alias group1 fred ethel
          alias group2 larry curly moe
          alias everybody group1 group2

   When you now type `everybody' on the `To' line, it will expand to:
          fred, ethyl, larry, curly, moe

   Aliases may contain forward references; the alias of `everybody' in
the example above can preceed the aliases of `group1' and `group2'.

   In this version of Emacs, you can use the `source' `.mailrc' command
for reading aliases from some other file as well.

   Aliases may contain hyphens, as in `"alias foo-bar foo@bar"', even
though word-abbrevs normally cannot contain hyphens.

   To read in the contents of another `.mailrc'-type file from Emacs,
use the command `M-x merge-mail-aliases'.  The `rebuild-mail-aliases'
command is similar, but deletes existing aliases first.

   If you want multiple addresses separated by a string other than `,'
(a comma), then set the variable `mail-alias-seperator-string' to it.
This has to be a comma bracketed by whitespace if you want any kind  of
reasonable behavior.

   If the variable `mail-archive-file-name' is non-`nil', it should be
a string naming a file.  Each time you start to edit a message to send,
an `FCC' field is entered for that file.  Unless you remove the `FCC'
field, every message is written into that file when it is sent.

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