Message Compose Field

The message compose field is a multiple-line text field in which you enter the text of your mail message. Click inside the message compose field to enter the text of your message.

If you have text-wrapping ON (see Composition Window Preferences), the text you enter into the compose field automatically word-warps to a new line when it reaches the right margin. When the text reaches the bottom margin of the compose field, the window area automatically scrolls vertically. If you resize the window vertically or horizontally, the message compose field resizes itself proportionally.

Ishmail Text Editor

The Ishmail text editor uses enhanced Motif text editing functions in all text fields, including the message compose field. The editor operates in insert mode. That is, new text is always inserted to the left of the cursor, expanding the text field and any existing text to the right.

Here are the essential functions of Ishmail's text editor:

Entering Text

Scrolling Text

To scroll through existing text:

Deleting text

The Back Space key and the Delete key perform similar functions:

You can also select (highlight) text, then delete it, as described below.

Selecting Text

There are several ways to select text. Selected text is highlighted to indicate the range of the selection. You can perform a number of different functions on selected text, including cut, copy, and paste functions.

Selecting Text with the Mouse

Selecting Text with the Cursor Keys

Cutting, Copying, and Pasting Selected Text

Selected text is automatically copied to either a temporary mouse buffer storage area or a temporary keyboard buffer storage area depending on the selection method you use.

For more information about editing text in the X Windows environment, see the X User's Guide.

Using Drag-and-Drop

Drag-and-drop differs from cut-and-paste in that you can use the drag-and-drop method to copy whole objects. For example, you can click on a message from the message list and, by pressing and holding the middle mouse button as you move the mouse, you can drag the selected message(s) into the Composition window. When you drop the message(s), by releasing the middle mouse button, they are dropped into the text of the Composition window at the spot where the mouse cursor is located. A message you put into the Composition window this way appears as an icon. The operation is similar to using the Forward (encapsulate) ... option in the Main Window Message menu. You can click on the icon and a separate Edit window will be opened so you can modify the included message.

You can also use the drag-and-drop function to move attachments around inside the Composition window.

Adding Containers

You can add containers to your message, which allow you to define structure, or hierarchy, for your message. MIME messages can be defined recursively; they can contain components which contain other components, which can be MIME messages themselves.

You can add four kinds of containers:

See Also

For more information about containers, see Add Container Option and the help cards for the Add Container option in the Composition window Message pull-down menu.

Adding Attachments

You can attach external data files to your message. This is one of the most powerful features of a MIME message. The data in the attachments can be plain text or various kinds of multimedia data. The attachments can be included in the message or they can be attached to the message with a pointer to their location. Data included in the message can be represented with an icon or expanded in-line.

See Also

For more information about inclusions and attachments, see Include/Attach Option and see the help cards for the Include/Attach option in the Composition window Message pull-down.

Alternate Editor

You can specify an alternate editor with which to compose text. When you exit from the alternate editor, your text is then placed in the message compose field. See Alternate Text Editor Option.

See the Composition Window Preferences dialog for information about specifying an alternate editor of your choice.

Spelling Checker

You can use an external spelling checker command to verify the spelling of your message. The default command used is ispell.

For information about using the spelling checker, see Spelling Checker Option. To use the spelling checker, click the Check spelling ... button in the Message pull down menu.

Preceding Section: Composing and Sending a Message
Following Section: Composition Window Menu Bar
Parent Section: Opening the Composition Window
Contents of Ishmail User's Guide