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Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2022

procmailex (5)


procmailex - procmail rcfile examples


$HOME/.procmailrc examples


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 proc-
       mailsc(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  (proc-

       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
                 ! william@somewhere.edu


       An equivalent solution that accomplishes the same:

              :0 c
              * ^From.*peter
              * ^Subject:.*compilers
              ! william@somewhere.edu

                 :0 A

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

              :0 c
              * ^From.*peter
              * ^Subject:.*compilers
              ! william@somewhere.edu

              * ^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  fol-
       lowing  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 subse-

              :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 lock-
       file 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 locallock-

              * ^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  sub-
       scribed  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 extract-
       ing 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 sent.

       As you can see, the following recipe has comments  between  the  condi-
       tions.   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  direc-
       tory  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 invo-
       cations  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  mail-
       boxes,  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 conjunc-
       tion 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 post-
       script 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 inad-
       vertently 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  cer-
       tain encoded MIME formats into a more compact 8-bit format which can be
       used and displayed more easily by most programs.  The mimencode(1) pro-
       gram 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 neces-

              URGMATCH=`cat $HOME/.urgent`

              * $^From.*${URGMATCH}

       An entirely different application for procmail would be  to  condition-
       ally  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

              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'

       See for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | mail/procmail    |
       |Stability      | Uncommitted      |

       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

       Source code for open source software components in Oracle  Solaris  can
       be found at https://www.oracle.com/downloads/opensource/solaris-source-

       This software was built from source available at https://github.com/or-
       acle/solaris-userland.   The  original  community source was downloaded
       from                ftp://ftp.fu-berlin.de/pub/unix/mail/procmail/proc-

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at http://www.procmail.org.

BuGless                           2001/08/04                     PROCMAILEX(5)