Mutt and Maildir

Matthew Hawkins matt at
Wed Jun 12 12:23:55 EST 2002

McKinney / Joshua David (TM),N (Joshua.Mckinney at wrote:
> I've started to play around with qmail and Maildir recently and I've been unable to find a good .muttrc for use with mutt so that it loads the Maildir delivered mail properly.
> I am a bit confused as to the difference between the "set folder", "set mbox", and "mailboxes" settings in .muttrc.  I haven't quite worked out the right magic sequence of Google search terms to give me a good example because the default sample muttrc has maildir and qmail mentioned in it, so I end up with dozens of links that all link to the same man page or muttrc file.
> Any help would be gladly apppreciated.

Hi Josh,

First understand that by default, mutt is configured to deal with the
scenario that mail is delivered by the MTA to a spoolfile, and the mutt
user reads that and stores any kept messages into a mail folder.  The
variables to configure these are $spoolfile and $folder (oooh, tricky!:)

"set folder" will set $folder to the location of where your local
mailboxes are.  For qmail/Maildir I suggest using ~/Maildir/
As this is the default inbox too, "set spoolfile" to ~/Maildir/ also.

"set mbox" lets mutt know which mail box in the above location will have
messages automatically moved into it when read from $spoolfile (if $move
is set).  If you're not going to use move, don't worry about it.  This
seems a sensible thing to not worry about with qmail since the spoolfile
is always ~/Maildir/ by default anyway, hence there's no need to move.
"set move=no" in this case.

"mailboxes" tells mutt which mailboxes should be checked for new
messages.  If you only deliver to one box, just set it to '!' (the
shortcut for your default inbox, $spoolfile).  If you use procmail or
similar to filter your mail into separate boxes, you can specify those
mailboxes as well so mutt can inform you of new mail in them.  Note that
you can shortcut the location of any mailbox under $folder with '=' - so
~/Maildir/clug can be referenced as =clug.  Shortcuts are valid
everywhere in mutt (eg the change-folder command)

The only other thing worth configuring to begin with is $mbox_type, you
should set this to Maildir so mutt will create Maildir style mailboxes
by default.


                             Last year I kudn't spel Engineer.  Now I are won.

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