The Built-in Editor
[table of contents] [index]
The built-in editor provides a handful of text editing commands
and several operations that affect the formatting of a mail message.
Its window is shown in the Figure below.
Figure: Built-in editor
The editor has about 20 key bindings for editing and moving the cursor.
The bindings are Emacs-like, and the complete set is given in
the Section Editing Keys.
For example, <Control-f> moves the cursor forward one character,
and <Control-d> deletes the character ahead of the cursor.
The arrow keys are also bound to cursor motion.
As noted in the Section Mousing Around,
paste is <Control-y> and cut
If you want to change these bindings, use the Simple Edit menu item
under the main Bindings menu.
This dialog lets you set up the second mouse button for paste, as
well as change the keybindings for its editing and cursor
You have to press Save in this dialog before the binding changes
Basically all you need to do is fill in your message header,
type in the message body, and press the Send button
in the upper-right corner of the editor window.
When you start,
the cursor will be positioned at the end of the first empty
header field -- or at the begining of the message body if, as with
reply, all the fields are already initialized.
When entering the header, <Tab> takes you to the next
field, while <Double-Tab> positions the cursor at the
start of the message body.
An important rule to remember about mail messages is that
the header and body are separated by a blank line.
MH also allows a separator line of all dashes (------).
If you want to save a message draft and return to it later,
use the Save&Quit button.
If you want to send a message but save it for use as another
draft, select the Keep on Send checkbox item under the
In this case, when you click Send, the editor will remain open
and the message will stay in your drafts folder.
Otherwise the draft message is removed from the drafts folder
after the message has been successfully sent.
(Actually, it is renamed in the same fashion that
rmm renames deleted messages.
If you quit exmh and you have drafts in progress, then they
are saved automatically and remain in your drafts folder.
The Save button under the
More... writes the editor's buffer to the file system.
It does not imply that the draft remains after it is sent.
You probably want to use Save&Quit or Keep on Send instead.
If you don't want to send a message, you can press the Abort button
to delete it.
If you haven't changed the initial template, emxh deletes
the draft message immediately.
Otherwise exmh prompts for confirmation.
Trick: A second click on the
Abort button is the same as clicking the OK button in the
The editor supports signatures in two ways.
If you select Auto-sign from the Simple Editor preferences
section, then your ~/.signature file is appended to the
message when you press the Send button.
you have to click Sign to insert your ~/.signature
file at the end of the message.
If there are several files in your home directory whose names
start with .signature, the Sign button will be replaced
with a Sign... menu of signature files.
You can choose the default signature file in
the Simple Editor preference section.
With auto-sign, the Sign... menu has a set of check box items
for choosing the signature file appended when you send the message.
Without auto-sign, a signature is appended when you
select one from the Sign... menu.
If you are composing a multipart MIME message, your signature is
added as another MIME part.
If your signature file has the execute permission set, then
exmh tries to execute it and use its output for the signature.
If you accidentally have the execute bit set, the error that occurs
may not be that clear.
The PGP... menu provides access to the Pretty Good Privacy public
PGP sends messages with a digital signature to
certify that you sent the message.
You can also encrypt and decrypt messages with PGP.
A complete discussion of PGP is far beyond the scope of this
The Nutshell Handbook
PGP: Pretty Good Privacy
should be helpful.
If you know PGP, you'll find the PGP features of
[Table of Contents] [Index]
[Previous: Mail Aliases]
[Next: Mail Formatting]
(This section was written by Brent Welch.)
Last change $Date: 1996/06/06 15:14:30 $
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.
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Last modified: Friday April 02, 1999.