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VM (View Mail) is an Emacs subsystem that allows UNIX mail to be read
and disposed of within Emacs. Commands exist to do the normal things
expected of a mail user agent, such as generating replies, saving
messages to folders, deleting messages and so on. There are other more
advanced commands that do tasks like bursting and creating digests,
message forwarding, and organizing message presentation according to
To invoke VM simply type `M-x vm'. VM gathers any mail that has
arrived in your system mailbox and appends it to a file known as your
"primary inbox", and visits that file for reading. Note: Starting Up.
A file visited for reading by VM is called the "current folder".
If there are any messages in the primary inbox, VM selects the first
new or unread message, and previews it. "Previewing" is VM's way of
showing you part of message and allowing you to decide whether you want
to read it. Note: Previewing. By default VM shows you the message's
sender, recipient, subject and date headers. Typing SPC
(`vm-scroll-forward') exposes the body of the message and flags the
message as read. Subsequent SPC's scroll forward through the message,
`b' or DEL scrolls backward. When you reach the end of a message,
typing SPC or `n' moves you forward to preview the next message. *Note
If you do not want to read a message that's being previewed, just
type `n' and VM will move on to the next message (if there is one).
Note: Selecting Messages.
To save a message to a mail folder use `s' (`vm-save-message'). VM
will prompt you for the folder name in the minibuffer. Note: Saving
Messages are deleted by typing `d' (`vm-delete-message') while
previewing or reading them. The message is not deleted right away; it
is simply flagged for deletion. If you change your mind about deleting
a message just select it and type `u' (`vm-undelete-message'), and the
message will be undeleted. Note: Deleting Messages. The actual
removal of deleted messages from the current folder is called
"expunging" and it is accomplished by typing `#' (`vm-expunge-folder').
The message is still present in the on-disk version of the folder
until the folder is saved.
Typing `h' (`vm-summarize') causes VM to pop up a window containing
a summary of contents of the current folder. The summary is presented
one line per message, by message number, listing each message's author,
date sent, line and byte count, and subject. Also various letters
appear beside the message number to indicate that a message is new,
unread, flagged for deletion, etc. An arrow `->' appears to the left
of the line summarizing the current message. The summary format is
user configurable, Note: Summaries..
When you are finished reading mail the current folder must be saved,
so that the next time the folder is visited VM will know which messages
have been already read, replied to and so on. Typing `S'
(`vm-save-folder') expunges all deleted messages and saves the folder.
`C-x C-s' saves the folder without expunging deleted messages but the
messages are still flagged deleted. The next time the folder is
visited these messages will still be flagged for deletion.
To quit VM you can type `q' (`vm-quit') or `x'
(`vm-quit-no-change'). Typing `q' expunges and saves the current
folder before quitting. Also, any messages flagged new are changed to
be flagged unread, before saving. The `x' command quits VM without
expunging, saving or otherwise modifying the current folder. Quitting
is not required; you can simply switch to another Emacs buffer when
you've finished reading mail.
At any time while reading mail in the primary inbox you can type `g'
(`vm-get-new-mail') to check to see if new mail has arrived. If new
mail has arrived it will be moved from the system spool area and merged
into the primary inbox. If you are not in the middle of another
message, VM will also jump to the first new message.
If `vm-get-new-mail' is given a prefix argument, it will prompt for
another file from which to gather messages instead of the usual spool
files. In this case the source folder is copied but not deleted.
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