PROCMAILEX(5)                 File Formats Manual                PROCMAILEX(5)


       procmailex - procmail rcfile examples


       $HOME/.procmailrc examples


       For a description of the rcfile format see procmailrc(5).

       The weighted scoring technique is described in detail in the
       procmailsc(5) man page.

       This man page shows several example recipes.  For examples of complete
       rcfiles you can check the NOTES section in procmail(1), or look at the
       example rcfiles part of the procmail source distribution


       Sort out all mail coming from the scuba-dive mailing list into the
       mailfolder scubafile (uses the locallockfile scubafile.lock).

              * ^TOscuba

       Forward all mail from peter about compilers to william (and keep a copy
       of it here in petcompil).

              * ^From.*peter
              * ^Subject:.*compilers
                 :0 c


       An equivalent solution that accomplishes the same:

              :0 c
              * ^From.*peter
              * ^Subject:.*compilers

                 :0 A

       An equivalent, but slightly slower solution that accomplishes the same:

              :0 c
              * ^From.*peter
              * ^Subject:.*compilers

              * ^From.*peter
              * ^Subject:.*compilers

       If you are fairly new to procmail and plan to experiment a little bit
       it often helps to have a safety net of some sort.  Inserting the
       following two recipes above all other recipes will make sure that of
       all arriving mail always the last 32 messages will be preserved.  In
       order for it to work as intended, you have to create a directory named
       `backup' in $MAILDIR prior to inserting these two recipes.

              :0 c

              :0 ic
              | cd backup && rm -f dummy `ls -t msg.* | sed -e 1,32d`

       If your system doesn't generate or generates incorrect leading `From '
       lines on every mail, you can fix this by calling up procmail with the
       -f- option.  To fix the same problem by different means, you could have
       inserted the following two recipes above all other recipes in your
       rcfile.  They will filter the header of any mail through formail which
       will strip any leading `From ', and automatically regenerates it

              :0 fhw
              | formail -I "From " -a "From "

       Add the headers of all messages that didn't come from the postmaster to
       your private header collection (for statistics or mail debugging); and
       use the lockfile `headc.lock'.  In order to make sure the lockfile is
       not removed until the pipe has finished, you have to specify option
       `w'; otherwise the lockfile would be removed as soon as the pipe has
       accepted the mail.

              :0 hwc:
              * !^FROM_MAILER
              | uncompress headc.Z; cat >>headc; compress headc

       Or, if you would use the more efficient gzip instead of compress:

              :0 hwc:
              * !^FROM_MAILER
              | gzip >>headc.gz

       Forward all mails shorter than 1000 bytes to my home address (no
       lockfile needed on this recipe).

              * < 1000
              ! myname@home

       Split up incoming digests from the surfing mailing list into their
       individual messages, and store them into surfing, using surfing.lock as
       the locallockfile.

              * ^Subject:.*surfing.*Digest
              | formail +1 -ds >>surfing

       Store everything coming from the postmaster or mailer-daemon (like
       bounced mail) into the file postm, using postm.lock as the

              * ^FROM_MAILER

       A simple autoreply recipe.  It makes sure that neither mail from any
       daemon (like bouncing mail or mail from mailing-lists), nor autoreplies
       coming from yourself will be autoreplied to.  If this precaution would
       not be taken, disaster could result (`ringing' mail).  In order for
       this recipe to autoreply to all the incoming mail, you should of course
       insert it before all other recipes in your rcfile.  However, it is
       advisable to put it after any recipes that process the mails from
       subscribed mailinglists; it generally is not a good idea to generate
       autoreplies to mailinglists (yes, the !^FROM_DAEMON regexp should
       already catch those, but if the mailinglist doesn't follow accepted
       conventions, this might not be enough).

              :0 h c
              * !^FROM_DAEMON
              * !^X-Loop: your@own.mail.address
              | (formail -r -I"Precedence: junk" \
                  -A"X-Loop: your@own.mail.address" ; \
                 echo "Mail received.") | $SENDMAIL -t

       A more complicated autoreply recipe that implements the functional
       equivalent of the well known vacation(1) program.  This recipe is based
       on the same principles as the last one (prevent `ringing' mail).  In
       addition to that however, it maintains a vacation database by
       extracting the name of the sender and inserting it in the
       vacation.cache file if the name was new (the vacation.cache file is
       maintained by formail which will make sure that it always contains the
       most recent names, the size of the file is limited to a maximum of
       approximately 8192 bytes).  If the name was new, an autoreply will be

       As you can see, the following recipe has comments between the
       conditions.  This is allowed.  Do not put comments on the same line as
       a condition though.

              SHELL=/bin/sh    # for other shells, this might need adjustment

              :0 Whc: vacation.lock
               # Perform a quick check to see if the mail was addressed to us
              * $^To:.*\<$\LOGNAME\>
               # Don't reply to daemons and mailinglists
              * !^FROM_DAEMON
               # Mail loops are evil
              * !^X-Loop: your@own.mail.address
              | formail -rD 8192 vacation.cache

                :0 ehc         # if the name was not in the cache
                | (formail -rI"Precedence: junk" \
                     -A"X-Loop: your@own.mail.address" ; \
                   echo "I received your mail,"; \
                   echo "but I won't be back until Monday."; \
                   echo "-- "; cat $HOME/.signature \
                  ) | $SENDMAIL -oi -t

       Store all messages concerning TeX in separate, unique filenames, in a
       directory named texmail (this directory has to exist); there is no need
       to use lockfiles in this case, so we won't.

              * (^TO|^Subject:.*)TeX[^t]

       The same as above, except now we store the mails in numbered files (MH
       mail folder).

              * (^TO|^Subject:.*)TeX[^t]

       Or you could file the mail in several directory folders at the same
       time.  The following recipe will deliver the mail to two MH-folders and
       one directory folder.  It is actually only one file with two extra

              * (^TO|^Subject:.*)TeX[^t]
              texmail/. wordprocessing dtp/.

       Store all the messages about meetings in a folder that is in a
       directory that changes every month.  E.g. if it were January 1994, the
       folder would have the name `94-01/meeting' and the locallockfile would
       be `94-01/meeting.lock'.

              * meeting
              `date +%y-%m`/meeting

       The same as above, but, if the `94-01' directory wouldn't have existed,
       it is created automatically:

              MONTHFOLDER=`date +%y-%m`

              :0 Wic
              * ? test ! -d $MONTHFOLDER
              | mkdir $MONTHFOLDER

              * meeting

       The same as above, but now by slightly different means:

              MONTHFOLDER=`date +%y-%m`
              DUMMY=`test -d $MONTHFOLDER || mkdir $MONTHFOLDER`

              * meeting

       If you are subscribed to several mailinglists and people cross-post to
       some of them, you usually receive several duplicate mails (one from
       every list).  The following simple recipe eliminates duplicate mails.
       It tells formail to keep an 8KB cache file in which it will store the
       Message-IDs of the most recent mails you received.  Since Message-IDs
       are guaranteed to be unique for every new mail, they are ideally suited
       to weed out duplicate mails.  Simply put the following recipe at the
       top of your rcfile, and no duplicate mail will get past it.

              :0 Wh: msgid.lock
              | formail -D 8192 msgid.cache

       Beware if you have delivery problems in recipes below this one and
       procmail tries to requeue the mail, then on the next queue run, this
       mail will be considered a duplicate and will be thrown away.  For those
       not quite so confident in their own scripting capabilities, you can use
       the following recipe instead.  It puts duplicates in a separate folder
       instead of throwing them away.  It is up to you to periodically empty
       the folder of course.

              :0 Whc: msgid.lock
              | formail -D 8192 msgid.cache

              :0 a:

       Procmail can deliver to MH folders directly, but, it does not update
       the unseen sequences the real MH manages.  If you want procmail to
       update those as well, use a recipe like the following which will file
       everything that contains the word spam in the body of the mail into an
       MH folder called spamfold.  Note the local lockfile, which is needed
       because MH programs do not lock the sequences file.  Asynchronous
       invocations of MH programs that change the sequences file may therefore
       corrupt it or silently lose changes.  Unfortunately, the lockfile
       doesn't completely solve the problem as rcvstore could be invoked while
       `show' or `mark' or some other MH program is running.  This problem is
       expected to be fixed in some future version of MH, but until then,
       you'll have to balance the risk of lost or corrupt sequences against
       the benefits of the unseen sequence.

              :0 :spamfold/$LOCKEXT
              * B ?? spam
              | rcvstore +spamfold

       When delivering to emacs folders (i.e., mailfolders managed by any
       emacs mail package, e.g., RMAIL or VM) directly, you should use emacs-
       compatible lockfiles.  The emacs mailers are a bit braindamaged in that
       respect, they get very upset if someone delivers to mailfolders which
       they already have in their internal buffers.  The following recipe
       assumes that $HOME equals /home/john.


              * ^Subject:.*whatever

       Alternatively, you can have procmail deliver into its own set of
       mailboxes, which you then periodically empty and copy over to your
       emacs files using movemail.  Movemail uses mailbox.lock local lockfiles
       per mailbox.  This actually is the preferred mode of operation in
       conjunction with procmail.

       To extract certain headers from a mail and put them into environment
       variables you can use any of the following constructs:

              SUBJECT=`formail -xSubject:`    # regular field
              FROM=`formail -rt -xTo:`        # special case

              :0 h                            # alternate method
              KEYWORDS=| formail -xKeywords:

       If you are using temporary files in a procmailrc file, and want to make
       sure that they are removed just before procmail exits, you could use
       something along the lines of:

              TRAP="/bin/rm -f $TEMPORARY"

       The TRAP keyword can also be used to change the exitcode of procmail.
       I.e. if you want procmail to return an exitcode of `1' instead of its
       regular exitcodes, you could use:

              TRAP="exit 1;"   # The trailing semi-colon is important
                               # since exit is not a standalone program

       Or, if the exitcode does not need to depend on the programs run from
       the TRAP, you can use a mere:


       The following recipe prints every incoming mail that looks like a
       postscript file.

              :0 Bb
              * ^^%!
              | lpr

       The following recipe does the same, but is a bit more selective.  It
       only prints the postscript file if it comes from the print-server.  The
       first condition matches only if it is found in the header.  The second
       condition only matches at the start of the body.

              :0 b
              * ^From[ :].*print-server
              * B ?? ^^%!
              | lpr

       The same as above, but now by slightly different means:

              * ^From[ :].*print-server
                :0 B b
                * ^^%!
                | lpr


              :0 HB b
              * ^^(.+$)*From[ :].*print-server
              * ^^(.+$)*^%!
              | lpr

       Suppose you have two accounts, you use both accounts regularly, but
       they are in very distinct places (i.e., you can only read mail that
       arrived at either one of the accounts).  You would like to forward mail
       arriving at account one to account two, and the other way around.  The
       first thing that comes to mind is using .forward files at both sites;
       this won't work of course, since you will be creating a mail loop.
       This mail loop can be avoided by inserting the following recipe in
       front of all other recipes in the $HOME/.procmailrc files on both
       sites.  If you make sure that you add the same X-Loop: field at both
       sites, mail can now safely be forwarded to the other account from
       either of them.

              :0 c
              * !^X-Loop: yourname@your.main.mail.address
              | formail -A "X-Loop: yourname@your.main.mail.address" | \
                 $SENDMAIL -oi yourname@the.other.account

       If someone sends you a mail with the word `retrieve' in the subject,
       the following will automatically send back the contents of info_file to
       the sender.  Like in all recipes where we send mail, we watch out for
       mail loops.

              * !^From +YOUR_USERNAME
              * !^Subject:.*Re:
              * !^FROM_DAEMON
              * ^Subject:.*retrieve
              | (formail -r ; cat info_file) | $SENDMAIL -oi -t

       Now follows an example for a very simple fileserver accessible by mail.
       For more demanding applications, I suggest you take a look at SmartList
       (available from the same place as the procmail distribution).  As
       listed, this fileserver sends back at most one file per request, it
       ignores the body of incoming mails, the Subject: line has to look like
       "Subject: send file the_file_you_want" (the blanks are significant), it
       does not return files that have names starting with a dot, nor does it
       allow files to be retrieved that are outside the fileserver directory
       tree (if you decide to munge this example, make sure you do not
       inadvertently loosen this last restriction).

              * ^Subject: send file [0-9a-z]
              * !^X-Loop: yourname@your.main.mail.address
              * !^Subject:.*Re:
              * !^FROM_DAEMON
              * !^Subject: send file .*[/.]\.
                MAILDIR=$HOME/fileserver # chdir to the fileserver directory

                :0 fhw                   # reverse mailheader and extract name
                * ^Subject: send file \/[^ ]*
                | formail -rA "X-Loop: yourname@your.main.mail.address"

                FILE="$MATCH"            # the requested filename

                :0 ah
                | cat - ./$FILE 2>&1 | $SENDMAIL -oi -t

       The following example preconverts all plain-text mail arriving in
       certain encoded MIME formats into a more compact 8-bit format which can
       be used and displayed more easily by most programs.  The mimencode(1)
       program is part of Nathaniel Borenstein's metamail package.

              * ^Content-Type: *text/plain
                :0 fbw
                * ^Content-Transfer-Encoding: *quoted-printable
                | mimencode -u -q

                   :0 Afhw
                   | formail -I "Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit"

                :0 fbw
                * ^Content-Transfer-Encoding: *base64
                | mimencode -u -b

                   :0 Afhw
                   | formail -I "Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit"

       The following one is rather exotic, but it only serves to demonstrate a
       feature.  Suppose you have a file in your HOME directory called
       ".urgent", and the (one) person named in that file is the sender of an
       incoming mail, you'd like that mail to be stored in $MAILDIR/urgent
       instead of in any of the normal mailfolders it would have been sorted
       in.  Then this is what you could do (beware, the filelength of
       $HOME/.urgent should be well below $LINEBUF, increase LINEBUF if

              URGMATCH=`cat $HOME/.urgent`

              * $^From.*${URGMATCH}

       An entirely different application for procmail would be to
       conditionally apply filters to a certain (outgoing) text or mail.  A
       typical example would be a filter through which you pipe all outgoing
       mail, in order to make sure that it will be MIME encoded only if it
       needs to be.  I.e. in this case you could start procmail in the middle
       of a pipe like:

              cat newtext | procmail ./mimeconvert | mail chris@where.ever

       The mimeconvert rcfile could contain something like (the =0x80= and
       =0xff= should be substituted with the real 8-bit characters):

              DEFAULT=|     # pipe to stdout instead of
                            # delivering mail as usual
              :0 Bfbw
              * [=0x80=-=0xff=]
              | mimencode -q

                :0 Afhw
                | formail -I 'MIME-Version: 1.0' \
                   -I 'Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1' \
                   -I 'Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable'


       procmail(1), procmailrc(5), procmailsc(5), sh(1), csh(1), mail(1),
       mailx(1), binmail(1), uucp(1), aliases(5), sendmail(8), egrep(1),
       grep(1), biff(1), comsat(8), mimencode(1), lockfile(1), formail(1)


       Stephen R. van den Berg
       Philip A. Guenther

BuGless                           2001/08/04                     PROCMAILEX(5)

[Unix Hosting | Open-Source | Contact Us]
[Engineering & Automation | Software Development | Server Applications]