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This manual introduces another interface to the MH mail system that is accessible through the GNU Emacs editor, namely, MH-E. MH-E is easy to use. I don’t assume that you know GNU Emacs or even MH at this point, since I didn’t know either of them when I discovered MH-E. However, MH-E was the tip of the iceberg, and I discovered more and more niceties about GNU Emacs and MH. Now I’m fully hooked on both of them.

The MH-E package is distributed with Emacs1, so you shouldn’t have to do anything special to use it. Gnus is also required; version 5.10 or higher is recommended. This manual covers MH-E version 8.5. To help you decide which version you have, see Getting Started.

If you don’t already use GNU Emacs but want to learn more, you can read a built-in tutorial by starting GNU Emacs and typing C-h t (help-with-tutorial). (To learn about this notation, see Conventions.) If you want to take the plunge, consult the GNU Emacs Manual, from the Free Software Foundation.

If more information is needed, you can go to the Unix manual pages of the individual MH commands. When the name is not obvious, I’ll guide you to a relevant MH manual page that describes the action more fully.

This manual is available in both Info and online formats. The Info version is distributed with Emacs and can be accessed with the info command (‘info mh-e’) or within Emacs (C-h i m mh-e RET). The online version is available at SourceForge. Another great online resource is the book MH & nmh: Email for Users & Programmers (also known as the MH book).

I hope you enjoy this manual! If you have any comments, or suggestions for this document, please let me know.

Bill Wohler <wohler at>
8 February 1995
24 February 2006



Version 8.5 of MH-E appeared in Emacs 24.4. It is supported in GNU Emacs 23 and higher, as well as XEmacs 21.4.22 and 21.5.31. MH-E is known not to work with GNU Emacs versions 20 and below, and XEmacs version 21.5.9–21.5.16. It is compatible with MH versions 6.8.4 and higher, all versions of nmh, and GNU mailutils 1.0 and higher

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