sortm(1) sort messages


sortm [+folder] [msgs] [-all | -noall] [-datefield field] [-textfield field] [-notextfield] [-limit days] [-nolimit] [-check | -nocheck] [-verbose | -noverbose] [-version] [-help]


sorts the specified messages in the named folder according to the chronological order of the ``Date:'' field of each message.

If no messages are specified, the default is all messages in the folder. However, if no messages are specified and the -noall switch is enabled, then sortm reports that as an error and exits with non-zero status. -noall is most useful in the user's profile, to avoid inadvertant sorting of an entire folder. The -all switch can then be used on the command line to disable it. Of course, a message specification of all can be used in any case.

The -verbose switch directs sortm to tell the user the general actions that it is taking to place the folder in sorted order.

The -datefield field switch tells sortm the name of the field to use when making the date comparison. If the user has a special field in each message, such as ``BB-Posted:'' or ``Delivery-Date:'', then the -datefield switch can be used to direct sortm which field to examine.

The -textfield field switch causes sortm to sort messages by the specified text field. All characters except letters and numbers are stripped and the resulting strings are sorted datefield-major, textfield-minor, using a case insensitive comparison. If this field is ``subject'', any leading "re:" is stripped off.

With -textfield field, if -limit days is specified, messages with the same textfields that are dated within `days' of each other appear together. Specifying -nolimit makes the limit infinity. With -limit 0, the sort is instead simply textfield-major.

For example, to order a folder by date-major, grouping messages with the same subject on the same date together, use:

sortm -textfield subject +folder

sortm always issues a warning for each message that is missing a ``Date:'' field, has a ``Date:'' field that cannot be parsed, or has a format error in any header field. With the -check switch, sortm inhibits all modifications to the folder if there are any such messages, and exits with non-zero status. With the default of -nocheck, sortm sorts messages with a missing or invalid ``Date:'' field using their file modification times.

When ordering messages based on their dates, if they have the same dates, their original message order is preserved.


^$HOME/.mh_profile~^The user profile


^Path:~^To determine the user's nmh directory
^Current-Folder:~^To find the default current folder


`+folder' defaults to the current folder
`msgs' defaults to all without -noall, no default with -noall
`-datefield' defaults to date


If a folder is given, it will become the current folder. If the current message is moved, sortm will preserve its status as current.


Timezones used to be ignored when comparing dates: they aren't any more.

Messages which were in the folder, but not specified by `msgs', used to be moved to the end of the folder; now such messages are left untouched.

Sortm sometimes did not preserve the message numbering in a folder (e.g., messages 1, 3, and 5, might have been renumbered to 1, 2, 3 after sorting). This was a bug, and has been fixed. To compress the message numbering in a folder, use ``folderĀ -pack'' as always.


When sortm complains about a message which it can't temporally order, it complains about the message number prior to sorting. It should indicate what the message number will be after sorting.