Customize your mail environment with the light and powerful Claws Mail

Configuring Claws Mail

Claws Mail offers a number of options for configuring preferences and customizing the interface. The Account Preferences dialog lets the user define basic information such as email addresses, signatures, incoming and outgoing server names, and ports. You can also configure security parameters, such as SSL settings, SMTP authentication options, and GnuPG keys.

The Common Preferences dialog offers other configuration options, with which you can choose to use an external program to retrieve mail, configure colors and fonts, select an icon theme, customize the toolbars, set up external applications such as a web browser, configure plugins, and much more.

Each folder also has a smaller set of options, known as Properties, that overrule preferences set elsewhere. This feature is particularly useful if you use filtering to organize a large collection of messages into many folders. A folder can be associated with a default template, default dictionary, or a default account.


Claws Mail comes with a filtering engine that enables matching based on any part of a received message. You can filter messages as they arrive or later. A filtering rule consists of a condition or several conditions that a message must match (Figure 2), and one or more actions, which are operations that are carried out on a matching message. A message can, for example, be matched by any header, any phrase in the body, an attachment type, a color label, whether the address is found in the address book, and so on.

Changing to Claws Mail

Claws Mail uses MH mailboxes, which means it can share mailboxes with other MUAs, such as Mutt. Claws also comes with support for the MBOX format. The Tools page of the Claws Mail website provides various scripts for converting mailboxes, address books, and filtering rules from other email applications.


Actions extend the possibilities of Claws Mail, enabling the full power of the Unix command line for processing mail. A user can decode uuencoded messages, reformat message text using external tools such as Par, or pass text selections to external tools – the only limit is the user's imagination.

The actions that are configured by the user are accessible from the /Tools/Actions/… menus of both the main and Compose windows. See the box titled "Examples of Actions" for a sample of some Claws Mail actions.

Examples of Actions

This action decodes uuencoded messages with the xdeview decoder. If an encoded file is split into multiple messages, the action decodes them all:

Menu Name: UUdeview
Command Line: xdeview %F&

This action pipes the Subject header value to a script:

Menu Name: Get Subject
Command Line: grep "^Subject:\ " %f | cut -d\ -f 2-|

This action performs a whois lookup on the selected text

Menu Name: whois
Command Line: | whois '%s'

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