Email::MIME(3) easy MIME message handling


version 1.937


Wait! Before you read this, maybe you just need Email::Stuffer, which is a much easier-to-use tool for building simple email messages that might have attachments or both plain text and HTML. If that doesn't do it for you, then by all means keep reading.

use Email::MIME;
my $parsed = Email::MIME->new($message);
my @parts = $parsed->parts; # These will be Email::MIME objects, too.
my $decoded = $parsed->body;
my $non_decoded = $parsed->body_raw;
my $content_type = $parsed->content_type;


  use Email::MIME;
  use IO::All;
  # multipart message
  my @parts = (
          attributes => {
              filename     => "report.pdf",
              content_type => "application/pdf",
              encoding     => "quoted-printable",
              name         => "2004-financials.pdf",
          body => io( "2004-financials.pdf" )->binary->all,
          attributes => {
              content_type => "text/plain",
              disposition  => "attachment",
              charset      => "US-ASCII",
          body_str => "Hello there!",
  my $email = Email::MIME->create(
      header_str => [ From => '[email protected]' ],
      parts      => [ @parts ],
  # nesting parts
        Email::MIME->create( parts => [ @parts ] ),
  # standard modifications
  $email->header_str_set( 'X-PoweredBy' => 'RT v3.0'      );
  $email->header_str_set( To            => rcpts()        );
  $email->header_str_set( Cc            => aux_rcpts()    );
  $email->header_str_set( Bcc           => sekrit_rcpts() );
  # more advanced
  $_->encoding_set( 'base64' ) for $email->parts;
  # Quick multipart creation
  my $quicky = Email::MIME->create(
      header_str => [
          From => 'my@address',
          To   => 'your@address',
      parts => [
          q[This is part one],
          q[This is part two],
          q[These could be binary too],
  print $email->as_string;


This is an extension of the Email::Simple module, to handle MIME encoded messages. It takes a message as a string, splits it up into its constituent parts, and allows you access to various parts of the message. Headers are decoded from MIME encoding.


Please see Email::Simple for the base set of methods. It won't take very long. Added to that, you have:


  my $single = Email::MIME->create(
    header_str => [ ... ],
    body_str   => '...',
    attributes => { ... },
  my $multi = Email::MIME->create(
    header_str => [ ... ],
    parts      => [ ... ],
    attributes => { ... },

This method creates a new MIME part. The "header_str" parameter is a list of headers pairs to include in the message. The value for each pair is expected to be a text string that will be MIME-encoded as needed. A similar "header" parameter can be provided in addition to or instead of "header_str". Its values will be used verbatim.

"attributes" is a hash of MIME attributes to assign to the part, and may override portions of the header set in the "header" parameter.

The "parts" parameter is a list reference containing "Email::MIME" objects. Elements of the "parts" list can also be a non-reference string of data. In that case, an "Email::MIME" object will be created for you. Simple checks will determine if the part is binary or not, and all parts created in this fashion are encoded with "base64", just in case.

If "body" is given instead of "parts", it specifies the body to be used for a flat (subpart-less) MIME message. It is assumed to be a sequence of octets.

If "body_str" is given instead of "body" or "parts", it is assumed to be a character string to be used as the body. If you provide a "body_str" parameter, you must provide "charset" and "encoding" attributes.

Back to "attributes". The hash keys correspond directly to methods or modifying a message from "Email::MIME::Modifier". The allowed keys are: content_type, charset, name, format, boundary, encoding, disposition, and filename. They will be mapped to "$attr\_set" for message modification.


  $email->content_type_set( 'text/html' );

Change the content type. All "Content-Type" header attributes will remain intact.





  $email->charset_set( 'UTF-8' );
  $email->name_set( 'some_filename.txt' );
  $email->format_set( 'flowed' );
  $email->boundary_set( undef ); # remove the boundary

These four methods modify common "Content-Type" attributes. If set to "undef", the attribute is removed. All other "Content-Type" header information is preserved when modifying an attribute.


  $email->encoding_set( 'base64' );
  $email->encoding_set( 'quoted-printable' );
  $email->encoding_set( '8bit' );

Convert the message body and alter the "Content-Transfer-Encoding" header using this method. Your message body, the output of the "body()" method, will remain the same. The raw body, output with the "body_raw()" method, will be changed to reflect the new encoding.


  $email->body_set( $unencoded_body_string );

This method will encode the new body you send using the encoding specified in the "Content-Transfer-Encoding" header, then set the body to the new encoded body.

This method overrides the default "body_set()" method.



This method behaves like "body_set", but assumes that the given value is a Unicode string that should be encoded into the message's charset before being set.

The charset must already be set, either manually (via the "attributes" argument to "create" or "charset_set") or through the "Content-Type" of a parsed message. If the charset can't be determined, an exception is thrown.


  $email->disposition_set( 'attachment' );

Alter the "Content-Disposition" of a message. All header attributes will remain intact.


  $email->filename_set( 'boo.pdf' );

Sets the filename attribute in the "Content-Disposition" header. All other header information is preserved when setting this attribute.


  $email->parts_set( \@new_parts );

Replaces the parts for an object. Accepts a reference to a list of "Email::MIME" objects, representing the new parts. If this message was originally a single part, the "Content-Type" header will be changed to "multipart/mixed", and given a new boundary attribute.


  $email->parts_add( \@more_parts );

Adds MIME parts onto the current MIME part. This is a simple extension of "parts_set" to make our lives easier. It accepts an array reference of additional parts.


  $email->walk_parts(sub {
      my ($part) = @_;
      return if $part->subparts; # multipart
      if ( $part->content_type =~ m[text/html]i ) {
          my $body = $part->body;
          $body =~ s/<link [^>]+>//; # simple filter example
          $part->body_set( $body );

Walks through all the MIME parts in a message and applies a callback to each. Accepts a code reference as its only argument. The code reference will be passed a single argument, the current MIME part within the top-level MIME object. All changes will be applied in place.


Achtung! Beware this method! In Email::MIME, it means the same as "header_str", but on an Email::Simple object, it means "header_raw". Unless you always know what kind of object you have, you could get one of two significantly different behaviors.

Try to use either "header_str" or "header_raw" as appropriate.


  $email->header_str_set($header_name => @value_strings);

This behaves like "header_raw_set", but expects Unicode (character) strings as the values to set, rather than pre-encoded byte strings. It will encode them as MIME encoded-words if they contain any control or 8-bit characters.


  my @pairs = $email->header_str_pairs;

This method behaves like "header_raw_pairs", returning a list of field name/value pairs, but the values have been decoded to character strings, when possible.


This returns a list of "Email::MIME" objects reflecting the parts of the message. If it's a single-part message, you get the original object back.

In scalar context, this method returns the number of parts.

This is a stupid method. Don't use it.


This returns a list of "Email::MIME" objects reflecting the parts of the message. If it's a single-part message, this method returns an empty list.

In scalar context, this method returns the number of subparts.


This decodes and returns the body of the object as a byte string. For top-level objects in multi-part messages, this is highly likely to be something like ``This is a multi-part message in MIME format.''


This decodes both the Content-Transfer-Encoding layer of the body (like the "body" method) as well as the charset encoding of the body (unlike the "body" method), returning a Unicode string.

If the charset is known, it is used. If there is no charset but the content type is either "text/plain" or "text/html", us-ascii is assumed. Otherwise, an exception is thrown.


This returns the body of the object, but doesn't decode the transfer encoding.


This method is called before the Email::MIME::Encodings "decode" method, to decode the body of non-binary messages (or binary messages, if the "force_decode_hook" method returns true). By default, this method does nothing, but subclasses may define behavior.

This method could be used to implement the decryption of content in secure email, for example.


This is a shortcut for access to the content type header.


This provides the suggested filename for the attachment part. Normally it will return the filename from the headers, but if "filename" is passed a true parameter, it will generate an appropriate ``stable'' filename if one is not found in the MIME headers.


  my $filename = Email::MIME->invent_filename($content_type);

This routine is used by "filename" to generate filenames for attached files. It will attempt to choose a reasonable extension, falling back to dat.


  my $description = $email->debug_structure;

This method returns a string that describes the structure of the MIME entity. For example:

  + multipart/alternative; boundary="=_NextPart_2"; charset="BIG-5"
    + text/plain
    + text/html


All of the Email::MIME-specific guts should move to a single entry on the object's guts. This will require changes to both Email::MIME and Email::MIME::Modifier, sadly.


This module was generously sponsored by Best Practical (, Pete Sergeant, and




This software is copyright (c) 2004 by Simon Cozens and Casey West.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.