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MUTT(1) User Manuals MUTT(1)


mutt - The Mutt Mail User Agent


[-nRyzZ] [-e command] [-F rcfile] [-m type] [-f mailbox]
[-Enx] [-e command] [-F rcfile] [-H draft] [-i include]
[-b bcc-addr] [-c cc-addr] [-s subject]
[-a file ... --] to-addr ...
[-nx] [-e command] [-F rcfile] [-b bcc-addr] [-c cc-addr]
[-s subject] [-a file ... --] to-addr ... < message
[-n] [-e command] [-F rcfile] -p
[-n] [-e command] [-F rcfile] -A alias
[-n] [-e command] [-F rcfile] -Q variable


Mutt is a small but very powerful text based program for reading and sending electronic mail under unix operating systems, including support for color terminals, MIME, OpenPGP, and a threaded sorting mode.

Note: This manual page gives a brief overview of the mutt executable command line options. A copy of the full manual is located in /usr/share/doc/mutt, in text, HTML, and/or PDF format. Please refer to the manual to learn how to use and configure Mutt.


Print an expanded version of the given alias and exit.
Attach a file using MIME. Separating file and to-addr arguments with “--” is mandatory. For example:

mutt -a image.jpg -- to-addr
mutt -a img.jpg *.png -- to-addr-1 to-addr-2

The -a option must be placed at the end of command line options.

Specify a blind carbon copy (BCC) address.
Specify a carbon copy (CC) address.
If Mutt was compiled with +DEBUG log debugging output to ~/.muttdebug0. Level can range from -5 to 5 and affects verbosity. A value of zero disables debugging. A value less than zero disables automatic log file rotation; the log level is then its absolute value. A value of 2 (-2) is recommended for most diagnosis.
Print the value of all configuration options to stdout.
Edit the draft file specified by -H or include file specified by -i during message composition.
Specify a configuration command to be run after processing of initialization files.
Specify a mailbox to load.
Use rcfile instead of the user configuration file.
Display a short option summary and exit.
Specify a draft file which contains header and body to use to send a message. If draft is “-”, then data is read from stdin. The draft file is expected to contain just an RFC822 email — headers and a body. Although it is not an mbox file, if an mbox "From " line is present, it will be silently discarded. Draft files are processed the same in interactive and batch mode; they are not passed through untouched. For example, encrypted draft files will be decrypted.
Specify an include file to be inserted into the body of a message. Ignored if -H is set. If include is “-”, then data is read from stdin.
Specify a default mailbox type for newly created folders. Can be one of the following: mbox, MMDF, MH or Maildir. See also $mbox_type in the manual.
Do not read the system-wide Muttrc configuration file.
Resume a postponed message. Exit immediately if there are no postponed messages.
Query a configuration variable. The query is performed after all configuration files have been parsed, and any commands given on the command line have been executed.
Open a mailbox in read-only mode.
Specify the subject of the message. Must be enclosed in quotes if it contains spaces.
Display the Mutt version number and compile-time definitions.
Display license and copyright information.
Emulate the mailx(1) compose mode.
Start Mutt with a listing of all mailboxes specified by the mailboxes configuration command.
Exit immediately with code 1 if mailbox specified by -f does not contain any messages.
Open the first mailbox specified by the mailboxes configuration command which contains new mail. Exit immediately with code 1 if there is no new mail in any of them.
Treat remaining arguments as to-addr even if they start with a dash. See also -a above. To-addr can be a local or network mail address as well as mailto: URL.


Specifies the editor to use when composing messages. If both EDITOR and VISUAL are set, VISUAL takes precedence. If neither EDITOR nor VISUAL are set, the default is vi(1).
Paths used to initialize the random engine for SSL library.
The user's e-mail address.
Full path of the user's home directory.
Full path of the user's spool mailbox.
Full path of the user's spool mailbox if MAIL is unset. Commonly used when the spool mailbox is a maildir(5) folder.
Path to search for mailcap files.
If this variable is set, mailcap are always used without prompting first.
Directory in which the user's PGP public keyring can be found. When used with the original PGP program, mutt and mutt_pgpring(1) rely on this being set.
Default Reply-To address.
Directory in which temporary files are created. If unset, /tmp is used. See also $tmpdir configuration variable.
Used to determine charset and locale to use.
Directory containing translation files. If set, this path overwrite the Mutt installation directory. Used for testing translation changes.


User configuration files.
/etc/Muttrc or /usr/share/mutt/Muttrc
System-wide configuration file.
Temporary files created by Mutt.
File containing debugging output. Log files are automatically rotated by mutt changing the number at the end. See -d option above.
User definition for handling non-text MIME types.
System definition for handling non-text MIME types.
User's personal mapping between MIME types and file extensions.
System mapping between MIME types and file extensions.
The privileged dotlocking program.
The Mutt manual.


None. Mutts have fleas, not bugs.


Suspend/resume while editing a file with an external editor does not work under SunOS 4.x if you use the curses lib in /usr/5lib. It does work with the S-Lang library, however.

Resizing the screen while using an external pager causes Mutt to go haywire on some systems.

Suspend/resume does not work under Ultrix.

The help line for the index menu is not updated if you change the bindings for one of the functions listed while Mutt is running.

For a more up-to-date list of bugs, errm, fleas, please visit the mutt project's bug tracking system under


This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


mutt_dotlock(1), mutt_pgpring(1), pgpewrap(1), sendmail(1), smail(1), smime_keys(1), curses(3), ncurses(3), mailcap(5), maildir(5), mbox(5), mmdf(5), muttrc(5)

Mutt Home Page:

The Mutt manual

RFC5322 — Internet Message Format: (obsoletes RFC2822 and RFC822)


Michael Elkins, and others. Use <> to contact the developers.

July 24, 2020 Unix