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notmuch-config - access notmuch configuration file


notmuch config get <section>.<item>

notmuch config set [--database] <section>.<item> [value ...]

notmuch config list


The config command can be used to get or set settings in the notmuch configuration file and corresponding database.

The value of the specified configuration item is printed to stdout. If the item has multiple values (it is a list), each value is separated by a newline character.

The specified configuration item is set to the given value. To specify a multiple-value item (a list), provide each value as a separate command-line argument.

If no values are provided, the specified configuration item will be removed from the configuration file.

With the --database option, updates configuration metadata stored in the database, rather than the default (text) configuration file.

Every configuration item is printed to stdout, each on a separate line of the form:


No additional whitespace surrounds the dot or equals sign characters. In a multiple-value item (a list), the values are separated by semicolon characters.

The available configuration items are described below. Non-absolute paths are presumed relative to $HOME for items in section database.

Compile time feature <name>. Current possibilities include "retry_lock" (configure option, included by default). (since notmuch 0.30, "compact" and "field_processor" are always included.)

How often to commit transactions to disk. 0 means wait until command completes, otherwise an integer n specifies to commit to disk after every n completed transactions.

History: this configuration value was introduced in notmuch 0.33.

Directory to store tag dumps when upgrading database.

History: this configuration value was introduced in notmuch 0.32.

Default: A sibling directory of the Xapian database called backups.

Directory containing hooks run by notmuch commands. See notmuch-hooks(5).

History: this configuration value was introduced in notmuch 0.32.

Default: See HOOKS, below.

The top-level directory where your mail currently exists and to where mail will be delivered in the future. Files should be individual email messages.

History: this configuration value was introduced in notmuch 0.32.

Default: For compatibility with older configurations, the value of database.path is used if database.mail_root is unset.

Notmuch will store its database here, (in sub-directory named .notmuch if database.mail_root is unset).


Default location for git repository for notmuch-git.

Some notmuch-git operations check that the fraction of messages changed (in the database or in git, as appropriate) is not too large. This item controls what fraction of total messages is considered "not too large".

Default tag prefix (filter) for notmuch-git.

Policy for decrypting encrypted messages during indexing. Must be one of: false, auto, nostash, or true.

When indexing an encrypted e-mail message, if this variable is set to true, notmuch will try to decrypt the message and index the cleartext, stashing a copy of any discovered session keys for the message. If auto, it will try to index the cleartext if a stashed session key is already known for the message (e.g. from a previous copy), but will not try to access your secret keys. Use false to avoid decrypting even when a stashed session key is already present.

nostash is the same as true except that it will not stash newly-discovered session keys in the database.

From the command line (i.e. during notmuch-new(1), notmuch-insert(1), or notmuch-reindex(1)), the user can override the database's stored decryption policy with the --decrypt= option.

Here is a table that summarizes the functionality of each of these policies:

false auto nostash true
Index cleartext using stashed session keys X X X
Index cleartext using secret keys X X
Stash session keys X
Delete stashed session keys on reindex X

Stashed session keys are kept in the database as properties associated with the message. See session-key in notmuch-properties(7) for more details about how they can be useful.

Be aware that the notmuch index is likely sufficient (and a stashed session key is certainly sufficient) to reconstruct the cleartext of the message itself, so please ensure that the notmuch message index is adequately protected. DO NOT USE index.decrypt=true or index.decrypt=nostash without considering the security of your index.

Default: auto.

Define the query prefix <prefix>, based on a mail header. For example index.header.List=List-Id will add a probabilistic prefix List: that searches the List-Id field. User defined prefixes must not start with 'a'...'z'; in particular adding a prefix with same name as a predefined prefix is not supported. See notmuch-search-terms(7) for a list of existing prefixes, and an explanation of probabilistic prefixes.

If true, then the following maildir flags (in message filenames) will be synchronized with the corresponding notmuch tags:
Flag Tag
D draft
F flagged
P passed
R replied
S unread (added when 'S' flag is not present)

The notmuch-new(1) command will notice flag changes in filenames and update tags, while the notmuch-tag(1) and notmuch-restore(1) commands will notice tag changes and update flags in filenames.

If there have been any changes in the maildir (new messages added, old ones removed or renamed, maildir flags changed, etc.), it is advisable to run notmuch-new(1) before notmuch-tag(1) or notmuch-restore(1) commands to ensure the tag changes are properly synchronized to the maildir flags, as the commands expect the database and maildir to be in sync.

Default: true.

A list to specify files and directories that will not be searched for messages by notmuch-new(1). Each entry in the list is either:

A file or a directory name, without path, that will be ignored, regardless of the location in the mail store directory hierarchy.


A regular expression delimited with // that will be matched against the path of the file or directory relative to the database path. Matching files and directories will be ignored. The beginning and end of string must be explicitly anchored. For example, /.*/foo$/ would match "bar/foo" and "bar/baz/foo", but not "foo" or "bar/foobar".

Default: empty list.

A list of tags that will be added to all messages incorporated by notmuch new.

Default: unread;inbox.

Expansion for named query called <name>. See notmuch-search-terms(7) for more information about named queries.

A list of tags that will be excluded from search results by default. Using an excluded tag in a query will override that exclusion.

Default: empty list. Note that notmuch-setup(1) puts deleted;spam here when creating new configuration file.

By default notmuch-show(1) includes the following headers in structured output if they are present in the message: Subject, From, To, Cc, Bcc, Reply-To, Date. This option allows the specification of a list of further headers to output.

History: This configuration value was introduced in notmuch 0.35.

Default: empty list.

Expansion for named query called <name>, using s-expression syntax. See notmuch-sexp-queries(7) for more information about s-expression queries.

Your full name.

Default: $NAME variable if set, otherwise read from /etc/passwd.

A list of other email addresses at which you receive email (see also, user.primary_email)

Default: not set.

Your primary email address.

Default: $EMAIL variable if set, otherwise constructed from the username and hostname of the current machine.



Notmuch configuration file search order:

File specified by notmuch --config global option; see notmuch(1).
File specified by NOTMUCH_CONFIG environment variable.
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/notmuch/<profile>/config where <profile> is defined by NOTMUCH_PROFILE environment variable if set, $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/notmuch/default/config otherwise.
$HOME/.notmuch-config.<profile> where <profile> is defined by NOTMUCH_PROFILE environment variable if set, $HOME/.notmuch-config otherwise.


Notmuch database search order:

Directory specified by NOTMUCH_DATABASE environment variable.
Directory specified by config key database.path.
$XDG_DATA_HOME/notmuch/<profile> where <profile> is defined by NOTMUCH_PROFILE environment variable if set, $XDG_DATA_HOME/notmuch/default otherwise.
Directory specified by MAILDIR environment variable.


Notmuch hook directory search order:

Directory specified by database.hook_dir configuration option.
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/notmuch/<profile>/hooks where <profile> is defined by NOTMUCH_PROFILE environment variable if set, $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/notmuch/default/hooks otherwise.


notmuch(1), notmuch-count(1), notmuch-dump(1), notmuch-hooks(5), notmuch-insert(1), notmuch-new(1), notmuch-properties(7), notmuch-reply(1), notmuch-restore(1), notmuch-search(1), notmuch-search-terms(7), notmuch-show(1), notmuch-tag(1)


Carl Worth and many others


2009-2022, Carl Worth and many others

October 10, 2022 0.37