aerc - the world's best email client
Welcome to aerc! This tutorial will guide you through your first steps in using
the client. This tutorial is a man page - you can read it again later with
:help tutorial from aerc, or man aerc-tutorial from your
First, let's introduce some basic keybindings. For convention,
we'll use <C-p> to represent Ctrl+p, which matches the
convention used for writing keybindings for aerc.
Cycles to the previous or next tab
Try using these now to switch between your message list and the
tutorial. In your message list, we use vim-style keys to get around.
Scrolls up and down between messages
Scrolls half a page up or down
Selects the first or last message, respectively
Switches between folders in the sidebar
Opens the selected message
You can also search the selected folder with /, or filter
with \. When searching you can use n and p to jump to the next and
previous result. Filtering hides any non-matching message.
Press <Enter> to open a message. By default, the message viewer
will display your message using less(1). This should also have
familiar, vim-like keybindings for scrolling around in your message.
Multipart messages (messages with attachments, or messages with
several alternative formats) show a part selector on the bottom of the
Cycle between parts of a multipart message
Close the message viewer
To show HTML messages, uncomment the text/html filter in
your aerc.conf file (which is probably in ~/.config/aerc/) and install its
dependencies: w3m and dante-utils.
You can also do many tasks you could do in the message list from
here, like replying to emails, deleting the email, or view the next and
previous message (J and K).
Return to the message list by pressing q to dismiss the message viewer.
Once there, let's compose a message.
Compose a new message
Reply-all to a message
Reply-all to a message, and pre-fill the editor with a
quoted version of the message being replied to
Reply to a message
Reply to a message, and pre-fill the editor with a quoted
version of the message being replied to
For now, let's use C to compose a new message. The message
composer will appear. You should see To, From, and Subject lines, as well as
your $EDITOR. You can use <Tab> or <C-j>
and <C-k> to cycle between these fields (tab won't cycle
between fields once you enter the editor, but <C-j> and
Let's send an email to yourself. Note that the To and From headers
expect RFC 5322 addresses, e.g. John Doe <email@example.com>, or
simply <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Separate multiple recipients with
commas. Go ahead and fill out an email, then close the editor.
The message review screen is shown next. You have a chance now to
revise the email before it's sent. Press y to send the email if it
Note: when using the terminal in the message view, you can
summon aerc's ex command line by using <C-x>. ':' is sent to
aerc comes with an embedded terminal, which you've already used to view and edit
emails. We can also use this for other purposes, such as referencing a git
repository while reviewing a patch. From the message list, we can use the
following keybindings to open a terminal:
Opens a new terminal tab, running your shell
Prompts for a command to run, then opens a new terminal
tab running that command
Prompts for a command to run, then pipes the selected
email into that command and displays the result on a new terminal tab
Try pressing $ and entering "top". You can also
use the :cd command to change aerc's working directory, and the
directory in which new terminals run. Use :pwd to see it again if
you're not sure where you are.
Every keybinding is ultimately bound to an aerc command. You can also summon the
command line by pressing ':', then entering one of these commands. See
aerc(1) or :help for a full list of commands.
When displaying messages in the message viewer, aerc will pipe them through a
message filter first. This allows you to decode messages in
non-plaintext formats, add syntax highlighting, etc. aerc ships with a few
•Emails which begin with "[PATCH" will
be piped into a filter for rendering git-format-patch and hg export
•text/html is rendered with w3m in a network
•text/* is rendered with a simple filter for
coloring quoted text
Aerc is highly customizable. Review aerc-config(5) (or use :help
config) to learn more about how to add custom keybindings, install new
message filters, change its appearance and behavior, and so on.
Maintained by Drew DeVault <email@example.com>, who is assisted by other open
source contributors. For more information about aerc development, see