More About scan

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If you think that scan can't do much, read on. It can show your messages in different formats, scan in reverse order (handy for reviewing your most recent messages first), and scan a file full of messages (like your system mailbox).

scan Format Files

You can change scan's output with a format file. This is something like an mhl format file. MH comes with a few standard scan format files named scan.default, scan.time, scan.timely, scan.size, and scan.mailx. They're stored in the MH library directory.

The scan.default file is, naturally enough, the default. (Actually, for speed, scan uses a built-in copy of that file.) To use other format files, type the file's name after the -form switch. The Section MH Format Strings explains how to write your own scan format files. You can show any field in the header, change the appearance of the output depending on the message you're scanning, get multiline output, and much more. For now, here are examples of the standard format files:

% scan 1-4
   1  04/24*mary@hahvahd.edu   rcvtty -- how do I use it?<<I've been
   2  11/23 Al Bok             Query about "repl -query"<<I have a q
   3 -02/09 "Wilbur, Orville"  X Terminal Presentation/Demonstration
   4+ 02/11 To:"Wilbur, Orvil  Re: X Terminal Presentation/Demonstra
% scan -form scan.time 1-4
   1  04/24 23:12CST*mary@hahvahd.edu   rcvtty -- how do I use it?<<
   2  11/23 05:13GMT Al Bok             Query about "repl -query"<<I
   3 -02/09 10:24EST "Wilbur, Orville"  X Terminal Presentation/Demo
   4+ 02/11 22:03EST To:"Wilbur, Orvil  Re: X Terminal Presentation/
% scan -form scan.timely 1-4
   1  Apr86*mary@hahvahd.edu   rcvtty -- how do I use it?<<I've been
   2  23Nov Al Bok             Query about "repl -query"<<I have a q
   3 - Fri  "Wilbur, Orville"  X Terminal Presentation/Demonstration
   4+ 22:03 To:"Wilbur, Orvil  Re: X Terminal Presentation/Demonstra
% scan -form scan.size 1-4
   1  04/24* 1119 mary@hahvahd.edu   rcvtty -- how do I use it?<<I'v
   2  11/23 15326 Al Bok             Query about "repl -query"<<I ha
   3 -02/09   739 "Wilbur, Orville"  X Terminal Presentation/Demonst
   4+ 02/11   530 To:"Wilbur, Orvil  Re: X Terminal Presentation/Dem
% scan -form scan.mailx 1-4
 N    1 mary@hahvahd.edu  Thu Apr 24 23:12 rcvtty -- how do I use it
 N    2 Al Bok            Thu Nov 23 05:13 Query about "repl -query"
 NR   3 "Wilbur, Orville" Fri Feb 09 10:24 X Terminal Presentation
>N    4 To:"Wilbur, Orvil Sun Feb 11 22:03 Re: X Terminal Presentati
Here are some notes about the previous examples: If you want to use one of those format files every time you scan, add an entry such as this to your MH profile:
scan: -form scan.timely

Scanning Backward

The -reverse switch scans from the highest message number to the lowest.

NOTE: In MH Version 6.6 and before, scan -reverse worked only on hosts configured with the MH [BERK] option. As of MH 6.7, the -reverse switch works in all MH configurations.

Let's try it on the messages in the folder above:

% scan -reverse 1-4
   4+ 02/11 To:"Wilbur, Orvil  Re: X Terminal Presentation/Demonstra
   3 -02/09 "Wilbur, Orville"  X Terminal Presentation/Demonstration
   2  11/23 Al Bok             Query about "repl -query"<<I have a q
   1  04/24*mary@hahvahd.edu   rcvtty -- how do I use it?<<I've been
As usual, you can put -reverse in your MH profile if you want it to be the default. It works with scan format files, too.

NOTE: If you use xmh, don't use -reverse in your MH profile. See this Section for a workaround.

Scanning a Mailbox File

Version 6.7 of MH scan added a -file switch that lets you scan a mail file in "maildrop format." This is the format of the file where your new mail waits for you -- for instance, the kind of file that inc reads messages from. The MH packf command also makes files in this format.

For example, here's how ehuser could scan her system mailbox:

% scan -file /usr/spool/mail/ehuser
   1  07/16 To:al@phlabs.ph.co New MH feature<<Al, scan has a new
   2  07/16 Al Bok             Re: New MH feature<<I saw that and
The command version called msgscan makes that command line easier to type.

NOTE: There's a bug in MH 6.7 through 6.7.2: scan -file looks in your current folder without saying so, and then it scans the file you asked for. This isn't a problem unless your current folder is empty -- if it is, scan will quit with a message scan: no messages in currentfolder. If that happens, you can keep scan quiet by giving it the name of any folder that isn't empty, like +somefolder.

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Last change $Date: 1996/06/06 15:11:50 $

This file is from the third edition of the book MH & xmh: Email for Users & Programmers, ISBN 1-56592-093-7, by Jerry Peek. Copyright 1991, 1992, 1995 by O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. This file is freely-available; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation. For more information, see the file copying.htm.

Suggestions are welcome: Jerry Peek <jerry@ora.com>

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Last modified: Friday April 02, 1999.