aerc - the world's best email client
Welcome to aerc! This tutorial will guide you through your first steps in using
the client. This tutorial is a man page - you can read it again later with
*:help tutorial* from aerc, or *man aerc-tutorial* from your terminal.
First, let's introduce some basic keybindings. For convention, we'll use *<C-p>*
to represent Ctrl+p, which matches the convention used for writing keybindings
Cycles to the previous or next tab
Try using these now to switch between your message list and the tutorial. In
your message list, we use vim-style keys to get around.
Scrolls up and down between messages
Scrolls half a page up or down
Selects the first or last message, respectively
Switches between folders in the sidebar
Opens the selected message
You can also search the selected folder with */*, or filter with *\\*. When
searching you can use n and p to jump to the next and previous result.
Filtering hides any non-matching message.
# THE MESSAGE VIEWER
Press *<Enter>* to open a message. By default, the message viewer will display
your message using *less*(1). This should also have familiar, vim-like
keybindings for scrolling around in your message.
Multipart messages (messages with attachments, or messages with several
alternative formats) show a part selector on the bottom of the message viewer.
Cycle between parts of a multipart message
Close the message viewer
To show HTML messages, comment out the *text/html* filter in your aerc.conf
file (which is probably in ~/.config/aerc/) and install its dependencies: w3m
You can also do many tasks you could do in the message list from here, like
replying to emails, deleting the email, or view the next and previous message
(*J* and *K*).
# COMPOSING MESSAGES
Return to the message list by pressing *q* to dismiss the message viewer. Once
there, let's compose a message.
Compose a new message
Reply-all to a message
Reply-all to a message, and pre-fill the editor with a quoted version of the
message being replied to
Reply to a message
Reply to a message, and pre-fill the editor with a quoted version of the
message being replied to
For now, let's use *C* to compose a new message. The message composer will
appear. You should see To, From, and Subject lines, as well as your *$EDITOR*.
You can use *<Tab>* or *<C-j>* and *<C-k>* to cycle between these fields (tab
won't cycle between fields once you enter the editor, but *<C-j>* and *<C-k>*
Let's send an email to yourself. Note that the To and From headers only accept
RFC 5322 addresses, e.g. *John Doe <firstname.lastname@example.org>*, or simply
*<email@example.com>*. Separate multiple recipients with commas. Go ahead and
fill out an email (to yourself, perhaps?), then close the editor. You can add
additional headers like Cc and Reply-To by simply adding them to the top of your
email, adding a blank line between the email's headers and body.
The message review screen is shown next. You have a chance now to revise the
email before it's sent. Press *y* to send the email if it looks good.
*Note*: when using the terminal in the message view, you can summon aerc's ex
command line by using *<C-x>*. ':' is sent to the editor.
# USING THE TERMINAL
aerc comes with an embedded terminal, which you've already used to view and edit
emails. We can also use this for other purposes, such as referencing a git
repository while reviewing a patch. From the message list, we can use the
following keybindings to open a terminal:
Opens a new terminal tab, running your shell
Prompts for a command to run, then opens a new terminal tab running that
Prompts for a command to run, then pipes the selected email into that
command and displays the result on a new terminal tab
Try pressing *$* and entering "top". You can also use the *:cd* command to
change aerc's working directory, and the directory in which new terminals run.
Use *:pwd* to see it again if you're not sure where you are.
# ADDITIONAL NOTES
Every keybinding is ultimately bound to an aerc command. You can also summon the
command line by pressing ':', then entering one of these commands. See *aerc*(1)
or *:help* for a full list of commands.
## MESSAGE FILTERS
When displaying messages in the message viewer, aerc will pipe them through a
_message filter_ first. This allows you to decode messages in non-plaintext
formats, add syntax highlighting, etc. aerc ships with a few default filters:
- Emails which begin with "[PATCH" will be piped into a filter for rendering
git-format-patch and hg export emails.
- text/html is rendered with w3m in a network sandbox
- text/\* is rendered with a simple filter for coloring quoted text
## CUSTOMIZING AERC
Aerc is highly customizable. Review *aerc-config*(5) (or use *:help config*) to
learn more about how to add custom keybindings, install new message filters,
change its appearance and behavior, and so on.
Maintained by Drew DeVault <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who is assisted by other open
source contributors. For more information about aerc development, see