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6. Saving Messages

Mail messages are normally saved to files that contain only mail messages. Such files are called folders. Folders are distinguished from spool files in that VM does not expect other programs to modify them while VM is visiting them. This is important to remember. VM does no locking of folders when visiting them. If the disk copy of a folder is modified behind VM's back, Emacs will complain with the dreaded "File changed on disk" message when you try to save the folder.

The VM command to save a message to a folder is s (vm-save-message); invoking this command causes the current message to be saved to a folder whose name you specify in the minibuffer. If vm-save-message is given a prefix argument n, the current message plus the next n-1 messages are saved. If n is negative, the current message and the previous n-1 messages are saved. Messages saved with vm-save-message are flagged "filed".

If the value of the variable vm-confirm-new-folders is non-nil, VM will ask for confirmation before creating a new folder on interactive saves.

If you have a directory where you keep all your mail folders, you should set the variable vm-folder-directory to point to it. If this variable is set, vm-save-message will insert this directory name into the minibuffer before prompting you for a folder name; this will save you some typing.

Another aid to selecting folders in which to save mail is the variable vm-auto-folder-alist. The value of this variable should be a list of the form:

   (regexp . folder-name) ...)

where header-name and regexp are strings, and folder-name is a string or an s-expression that evaluates to a string.

If any part of the contents of the message header named by header-name is matched by the regular expression regexp, VM will evaluate the corresponding folder-name and use the result as the default when prompting for a folder to save the message in. If the resulting folder name is a relative pathname it resolves to the directory named by vm-folder-directory, or the default-directory of the currently visited folder if vm-folder-directory is nil.

When folder-name is evaluated, the current buffer will contain only the contents of the header named by header-name. It is safe to modify this buffer. You can use the match data from any `\( ... \)' grouping constructs in regexp along with the function buffer-substring to build a folder name based on the header information. If the result of evaluating folder-name is a list, then the list will be treated as another auto-folder-alist and will be descended recursively.

Whether matching is case sensitive depends on the value of the variable vm-auto-folder-case-fold-search. A non-nil value makes matching case insensitive. The default value is t, which means matching is case insensitive. Note that the matching of header names is always case insensitive because the Internet message standard RFC 822 specifies that header names are case indistinct.

VM can save messages to a folder in two distinct ways. The message can be appended directly to the folder on disk, or the folder can be visited as Emacs would visit any other file and the message appended to that buffer. In the latter method you must save the buffer yourself to change the on-disk copy of the folder. The variable vm-visit-when-saving controls which method is used. A value of t causes VM to always visit a folder before saving message to it. A nil value causes VM to always append directly to the folder file. In this case VM will not save messages to the disk copy of a folder that is being visited. This restriction is necessary to insure that the buffer and on-disk copies of the folder are consistent. If the value of vm-visit-when-saving is not nil and not t (e.g. 0, the default), VM will append to the folder's buffer if the buffer is currently being visited, otherwise VM will append to the file itself.

After a message is saved to a folder, the usual thing to do next is to delete it. If the variable vm-delete-after-saving is non-nil, VM will flag messages for deletion automatically after saving them. This applies only to saves to folders, not for the w or A commands (see below). The variable vm-delete-after-archiving works like vm-delete-after-saving but applies to the A (vm-auto-archive-messages) command instead.

Other commands:

w (vm-save-message-sans-headers)
Saves a message or messages to a file without their headers. This command responds to a prefix argument exactly as vm-save-message does. Messages saved this way are flagged "written".
A (vm-auto-archive-messages)
Save all unfiled messages that auto-match a folder via vm-auto-folder-alist to their appropriate folders. Messages that are flagged for deletion are not saved by this command. If invoked with a prefix argument, confirmation will be requested for each save.
| (vm-pipe-message-to-command)
Runs a shell command with some or all of the current message as input. By default, the entire message is used.

If invoked with one C-u the text portion of the message is used.
If invoked with two C-u's the header portion of the message is used.

If the shell command generates any output, it is displayed in a `*Shell Command Output*' buffer. The message itself is not altered.

A non-nil value of vm-berkeley-mail-compatibility means to read and write BSD Mail(1) style Status: headers. This makes sense if you plan to use VM to read mail archives created by Mail.

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