claws-mail(1) a GTK+ based fast email and news client


claws-mail [options]


Claws Mail is an email client (and news reader) based on GTK+, running on the X Window System, and aiming for:

• Quick response
• Graceful, and sophisticated interface
• Easy configuration, intuitive operation
• Abundant features
Currently implemented features include:
• POP3 support
• IMAP4rev1 support
• integrated NetNews client
• unlimited multiple account handling
• thread display
• filtering
• MIME (attachments)
• built-in image view
• X-Face and (colour) Face support
• multiple MH folder support
• mbox importing / exporting
• external editor support
• message queueing
• automatic mail checking
• draft message function
• template function
• line-wrapping
• clickable URI
• XML-based address book
• LDAP, vCard, and JPilot support
• newly arrived and unread message management
• Mew/Wanderlust-like key bind
• printing
• APOP authentication support
• SMTP AUTH support
• SSL support (POP3, SMTP, IMAP4rev1)
• IPv6 support
• drag & drop (partially implemented)
• GnuPG support
• automake + autoconf support
• internationalization of UI messages by gettext
• support of many code sets, including UTF-8 (Unicode) (when using libjconv)
• support for plugins

This list is not complete.


--compose [address]
--compose-from-file file
--subscribe [uri]
--attach file1 [file2]...
--status folder[/subfolder]
--select [#mh/mailbox/]folder[/msg|/msgid]
--alternate-config-dir [dir]


Default directory for mail storage
Global program directory
Manual files in HTML, PDF, PostScript and plain text format
Global themes directory
Directory for plugins
Directory for header files
Default directory for user's configuration files directory
Addressbook files
Automatic Faces and X-Faces files for accounts
SSL certificates received from mail servers
Tags directory
User-defined templates directory
User's themes directory
Configuration for account(s)
User-defined custom actions
User-defined address book custom attributes
Claws Mail logfile
Main configuration file
User-specified commands
Configuration for custom headers for sending mail
Configuration for custom display of headers in message view
Editable extra headers to be added to compose window combobox
All folders' attributes
Folder hierarchy listing
Filtering and Processing function configuration
Menu shortcut-key configuration
User-specified searches in message bodies
User-specified quick-search list
User-specified searches in message bodies
User-specified searches in message list
User-specified tag list
User-defined custom toolbars
Windows only

Claws Mail output file when --debug is enabled. If %TEMP% is not set it defaults to windows directory (usually C:\Windows) or C:\ if windows directory is not available.
Claws Mail log file


To run this program the standard way type:


Alternatively you can run it with the following options:

--compose [address]
to open a Compose window
--compose-from-file file
open composition window with data from given file. Use - as file name for reading from standard input. Content format: headers first (To: header required) until an empty line is found, then mail body until end of file.
--subscribe [uri]
subscribe to the given URI if possible
--attach file1 [file2]...
open composition window with specified files attached
--compose "mailto:%t?subject=%s&cc=%c&body=%b"
this syntax can be used in web-browsers and CLI to open a pre-populated Compose window. Possible fields after the destination recipient are: subject, from, cc, bcc, in-reply-to, body, insert (insert a file in body part, needs an absolute path), attach (attach a file, needs an absolute path, see also: --attach)
receive new messages
receive new messages from all accounts
cancel receiving of messages
cancel sending of messages

send all queued messages
show the total number of messages
[new][unread][unread answers to marked][total]
--status folder[/subfolder]
show the total number of messages in specified folder
[new][unread][unread answers to marked][total]
show the total number of messages per folder
[new][unread][unread answers to marked][total]

show session statistics

reset session statistics
--select [#mh/mailbox/]folder[/msg|/msgid]
on startup, jumps to the specified folder/message
start Claws Mail in (or switch to, if already running) online mode
start Claws Mail in (or switch to, if already running) offline mode
display the help message and exit
exit Claws Mail
for debug mode (on Windows systems output is written to a file instead of standard error output, see Windows only on FILES section)
toggle debug mode of a running Claws Mail instance
display version number and exit
display version number and compiled-in features then exit
display the CONFIG-DIR and exit
--alternate-config-dir [dir]
start Claws Mail with the configuration stored in [dir] directory


if defined disables crash dialog (only if Claws Mail has been built with crash dialog feature enabled)
default host and display number to use
when using a tunnel command to open server connections these temporary variables are set to the server name and server port respectively in the environment of the running command
the information to access the GPG agent if using GPG agent is enabled in GPG plugin preferences (this is usually set by the agent when launched, otherwise it likely means the GPG agent is not running)
assumes that filenames are in the locale encoding rather than in UTF-8
full path of the user's home directory
locale to use for non-windows systems (the first one not empty is used)
if defined overrides default J-Pilot charset (CP1252)
if defined regular expressions matching follows POSIX standards
if defined tries to use the Session Manager (only if Claws Mail has been built with libSM feature enabled)
if defined overrides default shell "sh" used by Spamassassin plugin to launch spamc wrappers
use this CA certificates directory instead known system directories
use this CA certificates file instead of searching known system files
used to initialize default "user_id" preference in newly created accounts


You can search for existing bugs and report new ones on Claws Mail bugzilla:



1999-2015 Hiroyuki Yamamoto and the Claws Mail team

Portions are also Copyright:
(C) 2007-2009 g10 Code GmbH
(C) 1999-2005 Nullsoft, Inc.
(C) 1991-1993, 1996-2000, 2001 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
(C) 2001 Thomas Link, Hiroyuki Yamamoto
(C) 1995-1997 Peter Mattis and Spencer Kimball
(C) 1995-1997 Peter Mattis, Spencer Kimball, Josh MacDonald
(C) 1997-1998 Jay Painter <[email protected]><[email protected]>
(C) 1999-2003 Michael Natterer <[email protected]>
(C) 2000 Evan Martin
(C) 1998 Lars Hamann and Stefan Jeske
(C) 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 GNOME Foundation
(C) 2004-2006 Christian Hammond
(C) 2003-2004 Pawel Salek
(C) 2001, 2002 - DINH Viet Hoa
(C) 1999-2000, Gael Roualland <[email protected]>
(C) 1998-2002 Sendmail, Inc.
(C) 2007-2008 Juha Kautto (juha at
(C) 1994-2002 World Wide Web Consortium
(C) 1999 Graham Davison
(C) 1999 Eric Busboom
(C) 2000, Eric Busboom,
(C) 2002-2007 Randall Hand <[email protected]>
(C) 2001 by Werner Koch <[email protected]>
(C) 2004 Apache Software Foundation
(C) 2008 Mikkel Kamstrup Erlandsen
(C) 2002 Red Hat, Inc.; Copyright 1998, 2001 Tim Janik
(C) 2008-2009 Christian Hammond, David Trowbridge
(C) 2003-2005 Lars Lindner <[email protected]>
(C) 2004,2005 Nathan J. Conrad <[email protected]>
(C) 2004 Karl Soderstrom <[email protected]>
(C) 2000 Helix Code, Inc. (


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
See COPYING file on toplevel distribution directory for more license details.


The Claws Mail Team

Holger Berndt                  <[email protected]>

Tristan Chabredier             <[email protected]>

Andrej Kacian                  <[email protected]>

Darko Koruga                   <[email protected]>

Ricardo Mones Lastra   <[email protected]>

Charles Lehner                 <[email protected]>

Colin Leroy                    <[email protected]>

Paul Mangan                    <[email protected]>

Salvatore De Paolis    <[email protected]>

Pawel Pekala                   <[email protected]>

Michael Rasmussen              <[email protected]>

Previous team members

Hoà Viêt Dinh, Keith Edmunds, Match Grun, Melvin Hadasht, Oliver Haertel, Christoph Hohmann, Alfons Hoogervorst, Werner Koch, Thorsten Maerz, Leandro A. F. Pereira, Luke Plant, Martin Schaaf, Carsten Schurig, Fabien Vantard, Sergey Vlasov, Hiroyuki Yamamoto