aerc(1) General Commands Manual aerc(1)

aerc - the world's best email client

aerc [-v] [mailto:...]

For a guided tutorial, use :help tutorial from aerc, or man aerc-tutorial from your terminal.

-v
Prints the installed version of aerc and exits.

mailto:...

Opens the composer with the address in the "to" field. If aerc is already running, the composer is started in this instance, otherwise aerc will be started.

To execute a command, press ':' to bring up the command interface. Commands may also be bound to keys, see aerc-config(5) for details. In some contexts, such as the terminal emulator, '<c-x>' is used to bring up the command interface.

Different commands work in different contexts, depending on the kind of tab you have selected.

Aerc stores a history of commands, which can be cycled through in command mode. Pressing the up key cycles backwards in history, while pressing down cycles forwards.

These commands work in any context.

cd <directory>

Changes aerc's current working directory.

change-tab [+|-]<tab name or index>

Changes the focus to the tab with the given name. If a number is given, it's treated as an index. If + or - is specified, the number is interpreted as a delta from the selected tab.

exec <command...>

Executes an arbitrary command in the background. Aerc will set the environment variables $account and $folder when the command is executed from an Account tab or an opened message.

Note: commands executed in this way are not executed with the shell.

pwd

Displays aerc's current working directory in the status bar.

set <category>.<option> <value>

Changes the value of a configuration parameter at runtime. The category is the name of the [heading] for the config option you wish to change, and the option is the name of the config option. For example, to change this option:

[ui]
index-format=before

Use :set ui.index-format after.

term [command...]

Opens a new terminal tab with a shell running in the current working directory, or the specified command.

move-tab [+|-]<index>

Moves the selected tab to the given index. If + or - is specified, the number is interpreted as a delta from the selected tab.

prev-tab [n], next-tab [n]

Cycles to the previous or next tab in the list, repeating n times (default: 1).

pin-tab

Moves the current tab to the left of all non-pinned tabs and displays the pinned-tab-marker (default: `) to the left of the tab title.

unpin-tab

Removes the pinned-tab-marker from the current tab and returns the tab to its previous location.

prompt <prompt> <command...>

Displays the prompt on the status bar, waits for user input, then appends that input as the last argument to the command and executes it. The input is passed as one argument to the command, unless it is empty, in which case no extra argument is added.

choose -o <key> <text> <command> [-o <key> <text> <command>]...

Prompts the user to choose from various options.

quit

Exits aerc.

These commands are valid in any context that has a selected message (e.g. the message list, the message in the message viewer, etc).

archive <scheme>

Moves the selected message to the archive. The available schemes are:

flat: No special structure, all messages in the archive directory

year: Messages are stored in folders per year

month: Messages are stored in folders per year and subfolders per month

copy <target>

Copies the selected message to the target folder.

delete

Deletes the selected message.

recall

Opens the selected message for re-editing. Messages can only be recalled from the postpone directory.

forward [-A] [address...]

Opens the composer to forward the selected message to another recipient.

-A: Forward the message as an RFC 8022 attachment.

move <target>

Moves the selected message to the target folder.

pipe [-bmp] <cmd>

Downloads and pipes the selected message into the given shell command, and opens a new terminal tab to show the result. By default, the selected message part is used in the message viewer and the full message is used in the message list.

-b: Run the command in the background instead of opening a terminal tab

-m: Pipe the full message

-p: Pipe just the selected message part, if applicable

reply [-aq] [-T <template-file>]

Opens the composer to reply to the selected message.

-a: Reply all

-q: Insert a quoted version of the selected message into the reply editor

-T: Use the specified template file for creating the initial message body

read [-t]

Marks the marked or selected messages as read.

-t: Toggle the messages between read and unread.

unread [-t]

Marks the marked or selected messages as unread.

-t: Toggle the messages between read and unread.

flag [-t] [-a | -x <flag>]

Sets (enables) a certain flag on the marked or selected messages.

-t: Toggle the flag instead of setting (enabling) it.

-a: Mark message as answered/unanswered.

-x <flag>: Mark message with specific flag.

The available flags are (adapted from RFC 3501, section 2.3.2):

Seen

Message has been read

Answered

Message has been answered

Flagged

Message is flagged for urgent/special attention

unflag [-t] <flag>

Operates exactly like flag, defaulting to unsetting (disabling) flags.

modify-labels <[+-]label>...

Modify message labels (e.g. notmuch tags). Labels prefixed with a '+' are added, those prefixed with a '-' removed. As a convenience, labels without either operand add the specified label.

Example: `modify-labels +inbox -spam unread` adds the labels inbox and unread and removes spam

unsubscribe

Attempt to automatically unsubscribe the user from the mailing list through use of the List-Unsubscribe header. If supported, aerc may open a compose window pre-filled with the unsubscribe information or open the unsubscribe URL in a web browser.

clear
Clears the current search or filter criteria.

cf <folder>

Change the folder shown in the message list.

compose [-H] [<body>]

Open the compose window to send a new email. The new email will be sent with the current account's outgoing transport configuration. For details on configuring outgoing mail delivery consult aerc-config(5).

-H <header>

Add the specified header to the message, e.g. 'compose -H "X-Custom: custom value"'

filter [options] <terms...>

Similar to search, but filters the displayed messages to only the search results. See the documentation for search for more details.

mkdir <name>

Creates a new folder for this account and changes to that folder.

This is not supported on the 'notmuch' backend.

rmdir [-f]

Removes the current folder.

By default, it will fail if the directory is non-empty (see -f).

-f

Remove the directory even if it contains messages.

This is not supported on the 'notmuch' backend.

Some programs that sync maildirs may recover deleted directories (e.g. offlineimap). These can either be specially configured to properly handle directory deletion, or special commands need to be run to delete directories (e.g. 'offlineimap --delete-folder').

It is possible, with a slow connection and the 'imap' backend, that new messages arrive in the directory before they show up - using 'rmdir' at this moment would delete the directory and such new messages before the user sees them.

next <n>[%], prev <n>[%]

Selects the next (or previous) message in the message list. If specified as a percentage, the percentage is applied to the number of messages shown on screen and the cursor advances that far.

next-folder <n>, prev-folder <n>

Cycles to the next (or previous) folder shown in the sidebar, repeated n times (default: 1).

next-result, prev-result

Selects the next or previous search result.

search

Searches the current folder. The search syntax is dependent on the underlying backend. Refer to aerc-search(1) for details

select <n>

Selects the nth message in the message list (and scrolls it into view if necessary).

sort [[-r] <criterion>]...

Sorts the message list by the given criteria. -r sorts the immediately following criterion in reverse order.

Available criteria:

Criterion Description
arrival Date and time of the messages arrival
cc Addresses in the "cc" field
date Date and time of the message
from Addresses in the "from" field
read Presence of the read flag
size Size of the message
subject Subject of the message
to Addresses in the "to" field

view

Opens the message viewer to display the selected message.

close
Closes the message viewer.

next <n>[%], prev <n>[%]

Selects the next (or previous) message in the message list. If specified as a percentage, the percentage is applied to the number of messages shown on screen and the cursor advances that far.

next-part, prev-part

Cycles between message parts being shown. The list of message parts is shown at the bottom of the message viewer.

open

Saves the current message part in a temporary file and opens it with the system handler.

save [-fp] <path>

Saves the current message part to the given path. If the path is not an absolute path, general.default-save-path will be prepended to the path given. If path ends in a trailing slash or if a folder exists on disc, aerc assumes it to be a directory. When passed a directory :save infers the filename from the mail part if possible, or if that fails, uses "aerc_$DATE".

-f: Overwrite the destination whether or not it exists

-p: Create any directories in the path that do not exist

mark [-atv]

Marks messages. Commands will execute on all marked messages instead of the highlighted one if applicable. The flags below can be combined as needed.

-a: Apply to all messages in the current folder

-t: toggle the mark state instead of marking a message

-v: Enter / leave visual mark mode

unmark [-at]

Unmarks messages. The flags below can be combined as needed.

-a: Apply to all messages in the current folder

-t: toggle the mark state instead of unmarking a message

abort
Close the composer without sending, discarding the message in progress.

attach <path>

Attaches the file at the given path to the email.

detach [path]

Detaches the file with the given path from the composed email. If no path is specified, detaches the first attachment instead.

cc [addresses], bcc [addresses]

Sets the Cc or Bcc header to the given addresses. If an editor for the header is not currently visible in the compose window, a new one will be added.

edit

(Re-) opens your text editor to edit the message in progress.

next-field, prev-field

Cycles between input fields in the compose window.

postpone

Saves the current state of the message to the postpone folder for the current account.

save [-p] <path>

Saves the selected message part to the specified path. If -p is selected, aerc will create any missing directories in the specified path. If the path specified is a directory or ends in /, aerc will use the attachment filename if available or a generated name if not.

send

Sends the message using this accounts default outgoing transport configuration. For details on configuring outgoing mail delivery consult aerc-config(5).

header [-f] <field> [value]

Add a new email header. If the header already exists, -f must be specified to replace the given value.

toggle-headers

Toggles the visibility of the message headers.

close
Closes the terminal.

Aerc does not log by default, but collecting log output can be useful for troubleshooting and reporting issues. Redirecting stdout when invoking aerc will write log messages to that file:
$ aerc > log

aerc-config(5) aerc-imap(5) aerc-smtp(5) aerc-maildir(5) aerc-sendmail(5) aerc-tutorial(7)

Maintained by Drew DeVault <sir@cmpwn.com>, who is assisted by other open source contributors. For more information about aerc development, see https://git.sr.ht/~sircmpwn/aerc.
2021-04-04