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MAIL(1)			FreeBSD	General	Commands Manual		       MAIL(1)

     mail, Mail, mailx -- send and receive mail

     mail [-dEiInv] [-s	subject] [-c cc-addr] [-b bcc-addr] [-F] to-addr ...
	  [-sendmail-option ...]
     mail [-dEHiInNv] [-F] -f [name]
     mail [-dEHiInNv] [-F] [-u user]
     mail [-d] -e [-f name]

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

     The following options are available:

     -v	     Verbose mode.  The	details	of delivery are	displayed on the
	     user's terminal.

     -d	     Debugging mode.  See the debug mail option	for details.

     -e	     Test for the presence of mail in the (by default, system) mail-
	     box.  An exit status of 0 is returned if it has mail; otherwise,
	     an	exit status of 1 is returned.

     -H	     Write a header summary only, then exit.

     -E	     Do	not send messages with an empty	body.  This is useful for pip-
	     ing errors	from cron(8) scripts.

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

     -I	     Force mail	to run in interactive mode even	when input is not a
	     terminal.	In particular, the `~' special character when sending
	     mail is only active in interactive	mode.

     -n	     Inhibit reading the system-wide mail.rc files upon	startup.

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

     -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.)

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

     -b	bcc-addr
	     Send blind	carbon copies to bcc-addr list of users.  The bcc-addr
	     argument should be	a comma-separated list of names.

     -f	[mbox]
	     Read in the contents of your mbox (or the specified file) for
	     processing; when you quit,	mail writes undeleted messages back to
	     this file.

     -F	     Record the	message	in a file named	after the first	recipient.
	     The name is the login-name	portion	of the address found first on
	     the "To:" line in the mail	header.	 Overrides the record vari-
	     able, if set.

     -u	user
	     Is	equivalent to:

		   mail	-f /var/mail/user

   Startup Actions
     At	startup	time mail will execute commands	in the system command files
     /usr/share/misc/mail.rc, /usr/local/etc/mail.rc and /etc/mail.rc in or-
     der, unless explicitly told not to	by the use of the -n option.  Next,
     the commands in the user's	personal command file ~/.mailrc	are executed.
     The mail utility then examines its	command	line options to	determine
     whether a new message is to be sent, or whether an	existing mailbox is to
     be	read.

   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> 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

   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 the first	message	(numbered 1) and can
     be	printed	using the print	command	(which can be abbreviated p).  You can
     move among	the messages much as you move between lines in ed(1), with the
     commands +	and - moving backwards and forwards, and simple	numbers.

   Disposing of	Mail
     After examining a message you can delete (d) the message or reply (r) to
     it.  Deletion causes the mail program to forget about the message.	 This
     is	not irreversible; the message can be undeleted (u) by giving its num-
     ber, or the mail session can be aborted by	giving the exit	(x) command.
     Deleted messages will, however, 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.	 The special name `*' addresses	all messages, and `$' addresses	the
     last message; 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 mes-

   Replying To or Originating Mail
     You can use the reply command to set up a response	to a message, sending
     it	back to	the person who it was from.  Text you then type	in, up to an
     end-of-file, defines the contents of the message.	While you are compos-
     ing a message, mail treats	lines beginning	with the character `~' spe-
     cially.  For instance, typing ~m (alone on	a line)	will place a copy of
     the current message into the response right shifting it by	a tabstop (see
     indentprefix variable, below).  Other escapes will	set up subject fields,
     add and delete recipients to the message and allow	you to escape to an
     editor to revise the message or to	a shell	to run some commands.  (These
     options are given in the summary below.)

   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 a 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/mail/aliases, see
     aliases(5)	and sendmail(8); 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 sendmail(8).

   Network Mail	(ARPA, UUCP, Berknet)
     The mail utility 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.)

     (Adapted from the Mail Reference Manual.)

     Each command is typed on a	line by	itself,	and may	take arguments follow-
     ing the command word.  The	command	need not be typed in its entirety --
     the first command which matches the typed prefix is used.	For commands
     which take	message	lists as arguments, if no message list is given, then
     the next message forward which satisfies the command's requirements is
     used.  If there are no messages forward of	the current message, the
     search proceeds backwards,	and if there are no good messages at all, mail
     types "No applicable messages" and	aborts the command.

     -	     Print out the preceding message.  If given	a numeric argument n,
	     goes to the n'th previous message and prints it.

     #	     ignore the	remainder of the line as a comment.

     ?	     Prints a brief summary of commands.

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

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

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

     Type    (T) Identical to the Print	command.

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

	     (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 alternative names is displayed.

     chdir   (c) Changes the user's working directory to that specified, if
	     given.  If	no directory is	given, then changes to the user's lo-
	     gin directory.

     copy    (co) 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 "at EOF".

     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

     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.

	     List the names of the folders in your folder directory.

     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 mail-
	     box, "%user" means	user's system mailbox, `&' means your mbox
	     file, and "+folder" means a file in your folder directory.

     from    (f) Takes a list of messages and prints their message headers.

	     (h) Lists the current range of headers, which is an 18-message
	     group.  If	a `+' argument is given, then the next 18-message
	     group is printed, and if a	`-' argument is	given, the previous
	     18-message	group is printed.

     help    A synonym for ?.

     hold    (ho, also preserve) Takes a message list and marks	each message
	     therein to	be saved in the	user's system mailbox instead of in
	     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 be-
	     ing 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.

     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 di-
	     rectory when you quit.  This is the default action	for messages
	     if	you do not have	the hold option	set.

     more    (mo) Takes	a list of messages 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.

	     (pre) A synonym for hold.

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

     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-

     reply   (r) Takes a message list and sends	mail to	the sender and all re-
	     cipients of the specified message.	 The default message must not
	     be	deleted.

	     A synonym for reply.

     retain  Add the list of header fields named to the	retained list.	Only
	     the header	fields in the retained list are	shown on your terminal
	     when you print a message.	All other header fields	are sup-
	     pressed.  The type	and print commands can be used to print	a mes-
	     sage in its entirety.  If retain is executed with no arguments,
	     it	lists the current set of retained fields.

     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

     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="->""

	     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	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.

     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 5.

     type    (t) A synonym for print.

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

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

     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

     write   (w) Similar to save, except that only the message body (without
	     the header) is saved.  Extremely useful for such tasks as sending
	     and receiving source program text over the	message	system.

     xit     (x) A synonym for exit.

     z	     The mail utility presents message headers in windowfuls as	de-
	     scribed under the headers command.	 You can move mail's attention
	     forward to	the next window	with the z command.  Also, you can
	     move to the previous window by using z-.

     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 mis-
     nomer since the actual escape character can be set	by the option escape.

     ~a	     Inserts the autograph string from the sign= option	into the mes-

     ~A	     Inserts the autograph string from the Sign= option	into the mes-

     ~b	name ...
	     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).

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

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

     ~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.

     ~f	messages
	     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.

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

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

     ~i	string
	     Inserts the value of the named option into	the text of the	mes-

     ~m	messages
	     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.

     ~M	messages
	     Identical to ~m, except all message headers are 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.

     ~r	filename, ~r !command

     ~<	filename, ~< !command
	     Read the named file into the message.  If the argument begins
	     with a `!', the rest of the string	is taken as an arbitrary sys-
	     tem command and is	executed, with the standard output inserted
	     into the message.

     ~R	string
	     Use string	as the Reply-To	field.

     ~s	string
	     Cause the named string to become the current subject field.

     ~t	name ...
	     Add the given names to the	direct recipient list.

     ~v	     Invoke an alternative editor (defined by the VISUAL environment
	     variable) on the message collected	so far.	 Usually, the alterna-
	     tive editor will be a screen editor.  After you quit the editor,
	     you may resume appending text to the end of your message.

     ~w	filename
	     Write the message onto the	named file.

     ~x	     Exits as with ~q, except the message is not saved in dead.letter.

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

     ~|	command, ~^ 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

     ~.	     Simulate end-of-file on input.

     ~?	     Print a summary of	the available command escapes.

     ~~	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.

   Mail	Options
     Options can be set	with the set command and can be	disabled with the
     unset or set noname 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.  If	an option is
     not set, mail will	look for an environment	variable of the	same name.
     The available options include the following:

     append  Causes messages saved in mbox to be appended to the end rather
	     than prepended.  This should always be set	(preferably in one of
	     the system-wide mail.rc files).  Default is noappend.

     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.  Default is asksub.

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

     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.  Default is noaskcc.

	     Causes new	mail to	be automatically incorporated when it arrives.
	     Setting this is similar to	issuing	the inc	command	at each
	     prompt, except that the current message is	not reset when new
	     mail arrives.  Default is noautoinc.

	     Causes the	delete command to behave like dp; thus,	after deleting
	     a message,	the next one will be typed automatically.  Default is

     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 terminal screen
	     stored in the system is used to compute the threshold (see
	     stty(1)).	Default	is nocrt.

     debug   Setting the binary	option debug is	the same as specifying -d on
	     the command line and causes mail to output	all sorts of informa-
	     tion useful for debugging mail.  In case mail is invoked in this
	     mode to send mail,	all preparations will be performed and re-
	     ported about, but the mail	will not be actually sent.  Default is

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

     escape  If	defined, the first character of	this option gives the charac-
	     ter to use	in place of `~'	to denote escapes.

     flipr   Reverses the sense	of reply and Reply commands.  Default is

     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	abso-
	     lute pathname; otherwise, the folder directory is found relative
	     to	your home directory.

     header  If	defined, initially display message headers when	reading	mail
	     or	editing	a mail folder.	Default	is header.  This option	can be
	     disabled by giving	the -N flag on the command line.

     hold    This option is used to hold messages in the system	mailbox	by de-
	     fault.  Default is	nohold.

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

	     An	option related to dot is ignoreeof which makes mail refuse to
	     accept a <control-D> as the end of	a message.  Ignoreeof also ap-
	     plies to mail command mode.  Default is noignoreeof.

	     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.

     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.  Default is nometoo.

     quiet   Suppresses	the printing of	the version when first invoked.	 De-
	     fault is noquiet.

     record  If	defined, gives the pathname of the file	used to	record all
	     outgoing mail.  If	not defined, outgoing mail is not saved.  De-
	     fault is norecord.

	     Reverses the sense	of reply and Reply commands.  Default is

     save    If	this option is set, and	you abort a message with two RUBOUT
	     (erase or delete),	mail will copy the partial letter to the file
	     dead.letter in your home directory.  Default is save.

	     If	this option is set, then a message-list	specifier in the form
	     "/x:y" will expand	to all messages	containing the substring y in
	     the header	field x.  The string search is case insensitive.  If x
	     is	omitted, it will default to the	"Subject" header field.	 The
	     form "/to:y" is a special case, and will expand to	all messages
	     containing	the substring y	in the "To", "Cc" or "Bcc" header
	     fields.  The check	for "to" is case sensitive, so that "/To:y"
	     can be used to limit the search for y to just the "To:" field.
	     Default is	nosearchheaders.

	     If	defined, gives the number of lines of a	message	to be printed
	     out with the top command; normally, the first five	lines are

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

     DEAD     Pathname of the file to save partial messages to in case of in-
	      terrupts or delivery errors.  Default is ~/dead.letter.

     EDITOR   Pathname of the text editor to use in the	edit command and ~e
	      escape.  If not defined, then a default editor is	used.

     HOME     Pathname of the user's home directory.

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

     MAIL     Location of the user's mailbox.  Default is /var/mail.

     MAILRC   Pathname of file containing initial mail commands.  Default is

     MBOX     The name of the mailbox 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 crt
	      variable is set.	The default paginator less(1) is used if this
	      option is	not defined.

     REPLYTO  If set, will be used to initialize the Reply-To field for	outgo-
	      ing 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   Pathname of the directory	used for creating temporary files.

     VISUAL   Pathname of the text editor to use in the	visual command and ~v

     USER     Login name of the	user executing mail.

     /var/mail/*		 Post office.
     ~/mbox			 User's	old mail.
     ~/.mailrc			 File giving initial mail commands.  This can
				 be overridden by setting the MAILRC environ-
				 ment variable.
     /tmp/R*			 Temporary files.
     /usr/share/misc/mail.*help	 Help files.

     /etc/mail.rc		 System-wide initialization files.  Each file
				 will be sourced, in order, if it exists.

     fmt(1), newaliases(1), vacation(1), aliases(5), sendmail(8)

     A mail command appeared in	Version	1 AT&T UNIX.  This man page is derived
     from The Mail Reference Manual originally written by Kurt Shoens.

     There are some flags that are not documented here.	 Most are not useful
     to	the general user.

     Usually, mail is just a link to Mail and mailx, which can be confusing.

     The name of the alternates	list is	incorrect English (it should be
     "alternatives"), but is retained for compatibility.

FreeBSD	13.0			August 8, 2018			  FreeBSD 13.0


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