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C.4 Writing messages

  1. What’s the deal with replies to messages I wrote myself? Like many other mail-clients, mu4e treats replies to messages you wrote yourself as special – these message keep the same To: and Cc: as the original message. This is to ease the common case of following up to a message you wrote earlier.
  2. How can I automatically set the From:-address for a reply-message, based on some field in the original? See Compose hooks.
  3. And what about customizable folders for draft messages, sent messages, trashed messages, based on e.g. the From: header? See Dynamic folders.
  4. Can I define aliases for (groups of) e-mail addresses? Sure - see (emacs)Mail Aliases.
  5. How can I automatically add some header to an outgoing message? Once more, see Compose hooks.
  6. How can I influence the way the original message looks when replying or forwarding? Since mu4e-compose-mode derives from message-mode, you can re-use many of its facilities. See (message)Insertion Variables.
  7. How can I easily include attachments in the messages I write? You can drag-and-drop from your desktop; alternatively, you can use dired – see Dired.
  8. mu4e seems to remove myself from the Cc:-list; how can I prevent that? Set mu4e-compose-keep-self-cc to t in your configuration.
  9. How can I start a new message-thread from a reply? Remove the In-Reply-To header, and mu4e automatically removes the (hidden) References header as well when sending it. This makes the message show up as a top-level message rather than as a response.
  10. How can I attach an existing message? Use mu4e-action-capture-message (i.e., a c in the headers view) to ’capture’ the to-be-attached message, then when editing the message, use M-x mu4e-compose-attach-captured-message.
  11. How can I sign or encrypt messages? You can do so using emacs’ MIME-support – check the Attachments-menu while composing a message. Also see Signing and encrypting.
  12. Can I use BBDB with mu4e? Yes, with the current (2015-06-23) development release of BBDB http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/bbdb/, or releases of BBDB after 3.1.2. BBDB.
  13. After sending some messages, it seems the buffer for these messages stay around. How can I get rid of those?
    (setq message-kill-buffer-on-exit t)
    
  14. Sending big messages is slow and blocks emacs - what can I do about it? For this, there’s https://github.com/jwiegley/emacs-async (also available from the Emacs package repository); add the following snippet to your configuration:
    (require 'smtpmail-async)
    (setq
      send-mail-function 'async-smtpmail-send-it
      message-send-mail-function 'async-smtpmail-send-it)
    

    With this, messages are sent using background emacs-instance.

    A word of warning though, this tends to not be as reliable as sending the message in the normal, synchronous fashion, and people have reported silent failures, where mail sending fails for some reason without any indication of that.

    You can check the progress of the background by checking the *Messages*-buffer, which should show something like:

    Delivering message to "William Shakespeare" <will@example.com>...
    Mark set
    Saving file /home/djcb/Maildir/sent/cur/20130706-044350-darklady:2,S...
    Wrote /home/djcb/Maildir/sent/cur/20130706-044350-darklady:2,S
    Sending...done
    

    The first and final messages are the most important, and there may be considerable time between them, depending on the size of the message.

  15. Is it possible to compose messages in a separate frame? Yes - set the variable mu4e-compose-in-new-frame to t.
  16. How can I apply format=flowed to my outgoing messages, enabling receiving clients that support this feature to reflow my paragraphs? Plain text emails with Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed can be reflowed (i.e. line endings removed, paragraphs refilled) by receiving clients that support this standard. Clients that don’t support this, show them as is, which means this feature is truly non-invasive.

    Here’s an explanatory blog post which also shows why this is a desirable feature: https://mathiasbynens.be/notes/gmail-plain-text (if you don’t have it, your mails mostly look quite bad especially on mobile devices) and here’s the RFC with all the details: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2646.txt.

    Since version 0.9.17, mu4e send emails with format=flowed by setting

    (setq mu4e-compose-format-flowed t)
    

    in your Emacs init file (~/.emacs or ~/.emacs.d/init.el). The transformation of your message into the proper format is done at the time of sending. In order to happen properly, you should write each paragraph of your message of as a long line (i.e. without carriage return). If you introduce unwanted newlines in your paragraph, use M-q to reformat it as a single line.

    If you want to send the message with paragraphs on single lines but without format=flowed (because, say, the receiver does not understand the latter as it is the case for Google or Github), use M-x use-hard-newlines (to turn use-hard-newlines off) or uncheck the box format=flowed in the Text menu when composing a message.


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