Composing and Sending a Message

Once you have invoked the Composition window, you fill in the appropriate text fields, compose your message, then click one of the send options described in Composition Message Menu.

The sections that follow describe the Composition window text fields.

If you invoked the Composition window using one of the reply options, some of the text fields will already be filled in for you. See Composition Options for an explanation of the reply options.

Header Fields

The Composition window contains up to six header fields for specifying message recipients, message subject, and additional message headers. But only the To: field is a mandatory text field.

To control which headers are shown, how the header fields are organized, and how many rows are showing in each field, click the Window ... option and choose settings in the Composition Window Preferences dialog.

Header text fields scroll horizontally to accommodate lengthy entries. Use the arrow keys to scroll existing text that is beyond the margins. They also can scroll vertically to accommodate multiple lines (except the Subject: field, which is always a single line). A vertical scroll bar appears, as necessary, if you enter multiple lines in a field.

You can press the Tab key or the Ctrl-Tab key to move the cursor different text fields, or you can simply click the mouse pointer in each field. Also, you can press the Return key while in the Subject: field, and the cursor will advance to the next field. In the other header fields, pressing Return adds a new line to the field.

The header fields are described below:

Mandatory field. Identifies primary recipients of the message.

Optional field. Identifies the subject matter of the message.

Enter a brief description of the message in this field.

Optional field. Identifies secondary recipients of the message.

Optional field. Identifies recipients who will receive blind copies of the message. Blind copy recipients remain unknown to other recipients of the message.

Optional field. Identifies names of one or more folders into which the message will be copied when sent.

Additional headers:
Optional field. Provides additional header information for the recipient(s).

Enter additional headers to be added to the standard message headers in the outgoing message. The content of this additional header information should be in conformance with RFC-822. Please refer to RFC-822 for more information about the supported syntax and content of additional header information.

By default, this field is not automatically displayed when you open the Composition window. To display the field, select the Show Additional: button in the Composition window Options pull-down menu.

Address Formats

There are many valid formats for e-mail addresses, which are used in the To:, Cc:, and Bcc: fields. Following are three of the most commonly used on the Internet:

Only the user@site part is the e-mail address, the rest is comment text which makes the address more readable. You can type addresses with or without the comment text. To save space in the header fields, Ishmail strips the comment text when you are replying to or forwarding a message. (You can override this behavior by setting parameters in the Reply/Forward ... dialog. See Reply/Forward Preferences.)

You can put multiple addresses on a single header or on multiple lines.

Multiple addresses on a single line
You can type one or more addresses on a single line, separated by commas. After you fill the header field the text scrolls to the left. You can use the cursor arrow keys, as well as other editing keys while in the header field.

If you enter spaces as part of the comment text of an address, you must enclose the comment text in parenthesis or you must enclose the e-mail address between less-than and greater-than characters (angle brackets). You must also toggle off the Allow spaces to delimit addresses option in the Composition Window Preferences dialog window.

If a comma is part of the comment text, the comment text must be enclosed in parenthesis.

Multiple address lines
You can press the Return (or Enter) key after an address, and each address appears on a separate line. A vertical scroll bar is added to the field if you add more lines than will fit.

If a comma is part of the comment text of an address, the comment text must be enclosed in parenthesis.

Automatic Comma Insertion

In previous versions of Ishmail, a comma was inserted automatically when you typed space between addresses. This eliminated the need to type commas. Unfortunately, it also made it difficult to enter addresses with spaces in the comment text. There were some legal forms of e-mail addresses which could not be used without Ishmail sticking in extra commas. So, the comma insertion feature was disabled. If you liked this feature, and weren't bothered by the problems it caused, you can enable automatic comma insertion by toggling On the Allow spaces to delimit addresses option in the Composition Window Preferences dialog. (See Composition Window Preferences.)

Using Aliases

You can use aliases for e-mail addresses. These are shorthand forms of addresses, or names for a group of e-mail addresses (for example, a mailing list). The Aliases Option lets you define and modify aliases.

To use an alias, simply type it into one of the header fields that accepts e-mail addresses. You can expand aliases (convert them to their corresponding address or list of addresses) in any header field by clicking the mouse cursor in the header and typing Ctrl-A.

To see a list of available aliases that can be used in a header, click the "..." button just above and at the right hand side of the header field. The Select Aliases window is opened.

Figure: The Select Aliases Window

The Select Aliases window shows you a single list of aliases combined from one or more sources. The default source of aliases is you $HOME/.mailrc file. You can also share a mailrc file with a group of people, and you can also use aliases from other programs, such as elm, pine, or zmail.

In your $HOME/.ishmailrc file you specify the location of group or other alias files. For example:

*groupAliasFile:	/opt/ishmail/1.1/lib/mailrc
*otherAliasFiles:	$HOME/.addressbook $HOME/.zmailrc

The list of aliases has two columns. The Alias column is on the left. The Address column on the right shows the value the alias will expand to. This can be an e-mail address or a comma-separated list of aliases or e-mail addresses.

To pick an alias from the list, click to highlight it then click the OK button or the Apply button. You can use drag select, Ctrl-click or Shift-click to pick multiple aliases, which will all be copied to the header field, separated by commas.

A vertical scroll bar is added to the list if there are more entries than will fit in the window. A horizontal scroll bar is show across the bottom of the list if one or more addresses are too wide to fit in the window. If there are both horizontal and vertical scroll bars a joy stick is shown in the lower right corner, which can be used to pan the aliases and addresses list.

If you have many aliases, you may find the search function useful. Type a value into the Search string: field and press one of the Find Next, Find Prev, or Find All buttons. Ishmail will look for a case-insensitive match for the string in both the Address and Alias columns.

Aliases in the list are sorted alphabetically. See Aliases Option for more information.

If you toggle the Use expanded value button On, the value from the Address column is copied to the header field. Otherwise the value from the Alias column is copied. If the alias is copied, you can subsequently press Ctrl-A in the header field to expand it to its corresponding address. Ishmail expands any aliases not yet expanded when you send the message.

Using the Folder Carbon Copy field

The Fcc: field lets you tell Ishmail the names of one or more folders into which the outgoing message should be automatically copied. You can type one or more path names of folders, each on a separate line.

If the folder doesn' t already exist it is created for you. The type of the folder (UNIX, mh, or MMDF) is determined by an option you set in the Folder Preferences dialog.

You can tell Ishmail to fill in the name of the folder automatically. The name can be the same folder each time, or it can vary based on the e-mail addresses you are using. See Outgoing Mail Preferences for more information.

You can also type folder names in the To:, CC:, and Bcc: fields. Any address that starts with: /, ./, +, or = is treated as a folder name.

Preceding Section: Opening the Composition Window
Following Section: Message Compose Field
Parent Section: Opening the Composition Window
Contents of Ishmail User's Guide