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5 Incorporating Your Mail

This chapter talks about getting mail from your system mailbox into your MH ‘+inbox’ folder. The following command accomplishes that and is found in the ‘Folder’ menu.


Incorporate new mail into a folder (mh-inc-folder).

The following options in the ‘mh-inc’ customization group are used.


Program to incorporate mail (default: "inc").


Alternate spool files (default: nil).

The following hook is available.


Hook run by mh-inc-folder after incorporating mail into a folder (default: nil).

If at any time you receive new mail, incorporate the new mail into your ‘+inbox’ buffer with i (mh-inc-folder). Note that i will display the ‘+inbox’ buffer, even if there isn’t any new mail. You can incorporate mail from any file into the current folder by specifying a prefix argument; you’ll be prompted for the name of the file to use as well as the destination folder (for example, C-u i ~/mbox RET +tmp RET).

Emacs can notify you when you have new mail by displaying ‘Mail’ in the mode line. To enable this behavior, and to have a clock in the mode line as well, add the following to ~/.emacs:


The name of the program that incorporates new mail is stored in mh-inc-prog; it is "inc" by default. This program generates a one-line summary for each of the new messages. Unless it is an absolute pathname, the file is assumed to be in the mh-progs directory (see Getting Started). You may also link a file to inc that uses a different format (see ‘mh-profile’(5), and sections Reading Mail: inc show next prev and MH Format Strings in the MH book). You’ll then need to modify several variables appropriately (see Scan Line Formats).

You can use the mh-inc-spool-list variable to direct MH-E to retrieve mail from arbitrary spool files other than your system mailbox, file it in folders other than your ‘+inbox’, and assign key bindings to incorporate this mail.

Suppose you are subscribed to the mh-e-devel mailing list and you use procmail to filter this mail into ~/mail/mh-e with the following recipe in .procmailrc:

MAILDIR=$HOME/`mhparam Path`
* ^From

In order to incorporate ~/mail/mh-e into ‘+mh-e’ with an I m (mh-inc-spool-mh-e) command, customize this option, and click on the ‘INS’ button. Enter a ‘Spool File’ of ‘~/mail/mh-e’, a ‘Folder’ of ‘mh-e’, and a ‘Key Binding’ of ‘m’.

You can use xbuffy to automate the incorporation of this mail using the Emacs 23 command emacsclient as follows:

box ~/mail/mh-e
    title mh-e
    polltime 10
    headertime 0
    command emacsclient --eval '(mh-inc-spool-mh-e)'

In XEmacs, the command gnuclient is used in a similar fashion.

You can set the hook mh-inc-folder-hook, which is called after new mail is incorporated by the i (mh-inc-folder) command. A good use of this hook is to rescan the whole folder either after running M-x mh-rmail the first time or when you’ve changed the message numbers from outside of MH-E.

(defun my-mh-inc-folder-hook ()
  "Hook to rescan folder after incorporating mail."
  (if (buffer-modified-p)            ; if outstanding refiles and deletes,
      (mh-execute-commands))         ;   carry them out
  (mh-rescan-folder)                 ; synchronize with +inbox
  (mh-show))                         ; show the current message

(add-hook 'mh-inc-folder-hook 'my-mh-inc-folder-hook)

Rescan folder after incorporating new mail via mh-inc-folder-hook

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