mh(1mh)mh(1mh)Namemh - introduction to MH
MH is the name of a powerful message handling system. Rather than
being a single comprehensive program, MH consists of a collection of
fairly simple single-purpose programs to send, receive, save, and
retrieve messages. Refer to the individual MH reference pages for
descriptions of the programs that make up MH.
Unlike MH is not a closed system which must be explicitly run, and then
exited when you wish to return to the shell. Instead, you may freely
intersperse MH commands with other shell commands. This allows you to
read and answer your mail while you have (for example) a compilation
running, or are searching for a file or running programs to find an
answer to someone's question before replying to them.
To get started using MH, add the directory to your $PATH. This is best
done in one of the files or in your home directory. Check the manual
entry for the shell you use if you do not know how to do this. Run the
command. If you have never used MH before, it creates the necessary
default files and directories after asking you if you wish it to do so.
The command moves mail from your system maildrop into your MH folder.
Each message is converted to MH format, and stored as separate files in
your folder until you have read it. When you have read a message, you
can refile it in another folder that you have created.
Folders are directories in which messages are stored: the folders them‐
selves are stored in your Mail directory. See and for more details.
For each message it processes, prints a one-line display. The one-line
display contains the From: field, the Subject: field, and as much of
the first line of the message as it can accommodate. The first message
that processes becomes your current message. All MH commands operate
on the current message unless you have specified the msg argument.
You need to run each time you wish to incorporate new mail into your
The command prints a list of the messages in your current folder.
The commands and are used to read specific messages from the current
folder. Of these, displays the current message. You can also display
a specific message by specifying its number. In the following example,
the mail system displays the contents of message number 10 in the cur‐
% show 10
The commands and display the message numerically following and numeri‐
cally preceding the current message, respectively. In all cases, the
message displayed becomes the current message. If there is no current
message, may be called with an argument, or may be used to advance to
the first message. The command (remove message) deletes the current
You can delete messages other than the current message by specifying
the message number or numbers. When you specify more than one message,
you separate each message number by a space. In the following example,
messages 2, 4 and 6 in the current folder are deleted:
% rmm 2 4 6
The command is used to reply to a message. It places you in the editor
with a prototype response form. While you are in the editor, you may
view the item you are responding to by reading the file
The command allows you to compose a message by putting you in the edi‐
tor on a blank message header form, and then lets you send it.
All the MH commands may be run with the single argument -help, which
causes them to print a list of the arguments with which they may be
Commands which take a message number as an argument (for example) also
take one of the following keywords:
first The first message in the current folder.
last The last message in the current folder.
cur The current message in the current folder.
prev The previous message in the current folder.
next The next message in the current folder.
Commands which take a range of message numbers, such as or also take
any of the following abbreviations:
num1-num2 Indicates all messages in the range num1 to num2, inclusive.
The specified range must contain at least one message.
num:-n Up to n messages beginning with (or ending with) message num.
The value of num may be any of the MH message keywords: or
last:n The first, previous, next or last n messages, if they exist.
There are many other possibilities, such as creating multiple folders
for different topics, and automatically refiling messages according to
subject, source, destination, or content. See the individual reference
pages for more details of the rest of the MH commands.
Following is a list of all the MH commands:
alex(1mh) extract addresses from message headers
ali(1mh) list mail aliases
anno(1mh) annotate messages
burst(1mh) explode digests into messages
comp(1mh) compose a message
dist(1mh) redistribute a message to additional addresses
folder(1mh) set/list current folder/message
folders(1mh) list all folders
forw(1mh) forward messages
inc(1mh) incorporate new mail
mark(1mh) mark messages
mhl(1mh) produce formatted listings of MH messages
mhmail(1mh) send or read mail
mhpath(1mh) print full pathnames of MH messages and folders
msgchk(1mh) check for messages
msh(1mh) MH shell
next(1mh) show the next message
packf(1mh) compress a folder into a single file
pick(1mh) select messages by content
prev(1mh) show the previous message
prompter(1mh) prompting editor front end
rcvstore(1mh) incorporate new mail asynchronously
refile(1mh) file messages in other folders
repl(1mh) reply to a message
rmf(1mh) remove folder
rmm(1mh) remove messages
scan(1mh) produce a one line per message scan listing
send(1mh) send a message
slocal(1mh) receive mail hooks
show(1mh) show (list) messages
sortm(1mh) sort messages
whatnow(1mh) prompting front-end for send
whom(1mh) report who will receive a message when it is sent
mh-alias(5mh) alias file for MH message system
mh-format(5mh) format file for MH message system
mh-mail(5mh) message format for MH message system
mh_profile(5mh) user customization for MH message system
mtstailor(5mh) system customization for MH
ap(8mh) parse addresses RFC 822-style
conflict(8mh) search for alias/password conflicts
dp(8mh) parse dates RFC 822-style
install-mh(8mh) initialize the MH environment
post(8mh) deliver a message
Directory containing commands