You can use the Rmail summary buffer to do almost anything you can do in the Rmail buffer itself. In fact, once you have a summary buffer, there’s no need to switch back to the Rmail buffer.
You can select and display various messages in the Rmail buffer, from the summary buffer, just by moving point in the summary buffer to different lines. It doesn’t matter what Emacs command you use to move point; whichever line point is on at the end of the command, that message is selected in the Rmail buffer.
Almost all Rmail commands work in the summary buffer as well as in
the Rmail buffer. Thus, d in the summary buffer deletes the
current message, u undeletes, and x expunges. (However,
in the summary buffer, if there are no more undeleted messages in the
relevant direction, the delete commands go to the first or last
message, rather than staying on the current message.) o and
C-o output the current message to a FILE; r starts a reply
to it; etc. You can scroll the current message while remaining in the
summary buffer using SPC and DEL. However, in the summary
buffer scrolling past the end or the beginning of a message with
SPC or DEL goes, respectively, to the next or previous
undeleted message. Customize the
rmail-summary-scroll-between-messages option to
disable scrolling to next/previous messages.
rmail-summary-undelete-many) undeletes all deleted
messages in the summary. A prefix argument means to undelete that many
of the previous deleted messages.
The Rmail commands to move between messages also work in the summary buffer, but with a twist: they move through the set of messages included in the summary. They also ensure the Rmail buffer appears on the screen (unlike cursor motion commands, which update the contents of the Rmail buffer but don’t display it in a window unless it already appears). Here is a list of these commands:
Move to next line, skipping lines saying “deleted”, and select its
Move to previous line, skipping lines saying “deleted”, and select
its message (
Move to next line and select its message (
Move to previous line and select its message
Move to the last line, and select its message
Move to the first line, and select its message
Select the message on the current line (ensuring that the Rmail buffer
appears on the screen;
rmail-summary-goto-msg). With argument
n, select message number n and move to its line in the
summary buffer; this signals an error if the message is not listed in
the summary buffer.
Search through messages for pattern starting with the current
message; select the message found, and move point in the summary buffer
to that message’s line (
rmail-summary-search). A prefix argument
acts as a repeat count; a negative argument means search backward
Move to the next message with at least one of the specified labels
rmail-summary-next-labeled-message). labels is a
comma-separated list of labels. A prefix argument acts as a repeat
Move to the previous message with at least one of the specified labels
Move to the next message with the same subject as the current message
rmail-summary-next-same-subject). A prefix argument acts as a
Move to the previous message with the same subject as the current message
Deletion, undeletion, and getting new mail, and even selection of a
different message all update the summary buffer when you do them in the
Rmail buffer. If the variable
nil, these actions also bring the summary buffer back onto
When you are finished using the summary, type Q
rmail-summary-wipe) to delete the summary buffer’s window. You
can also exit Rmail while in the summary: q
rmail-summary-quit) deletes the summary window, then exits from
Rmail by saving the Rmail file and switching to another buffer.
Alternatively, b (
rmail-summary-bury) simply buries the
Rmail summary and buffer.