All the configuration settings of Sylpheed are accessible from
the Configuration menu and consist of common settings
(Common preferences, Filter settings,
Template and actions) and account specific
With Sylpheed, there is no limit to the number of accounts
you can create. You can create new accounts for each of your
mail account, but also to change the default behaviour of
Sylpheed. As folders can be attached to accounts, the account
specific part of the configuration automatically change based
on the current folder (you can have a different signature when
replying to messages from different folders).
The Common Preferences, found in the Configuration menu, controls
the window layout and the different options of the graphical
interface of Sylpheed. Depending on some compile time switches
(and on the availability of some extra libraries), some tabs
may be included (or not) in your version of Sylpheed. These tabs
are not listed here but are described (or will be described) in
the sections covering the optional features they control (like the
Privacy tab for the GnuPG interface).
In here you can set up how to receive messages.
- You can define a special program to pick up messages from
the default unix mailbox. Usually this is not used, but
you can use it. Actually, this information may be wrong.
If someone knows better, please let me know.
- Local spool lets you define where your local mailbox is
located. You can also tell Sylpheed whether or not to
filter the incoming messages from that mail spool file.
The spool directory defined here is used by all the accounts
of the local type, by default it is set to the
standard UNIX mailbox location.
- Autocheck new mail. When you check this option, Sylpheed
will check if there is new mail on the set interval.
- Check new mail on startup means that Sylpheed will
immediately look for new mail on all the selected accounts
when it loads.
- Update all local folders after incorporation
Well, if you know the use of this option, feel free to
write this part...
- In the news section you can specify how many articles
should be downloaded when opening a newsgroup.
In here you can set up how to send messages.
- You can choose to use an external program (like sendmail) for
sending mail. By default no external program is necessary
and Sylpheed can directly send the outgoing messages to a
- The sent messages can be saved in the outbox (Sent
folder), the name of the outbox folder can be specified
for each account (see the account setting section).
- The outgoing codeset selection can be changed to force
the definition of the character set used in sent mails.
The default and recommended value is automatic,
so Sylpheed determines the codeset when sending each
Controls the composition window's behaviour..
- You can change the signature separator and choose to insert
it automatically (unless your signature file already contains
this separator). Leave it as it is by default (unless you really
need to change it, and are ready to face a religion war), a lot
of mail clients rely on this separator to cut the signature when
quoting mails, and this one is accepted as the standard one.
- If you hate the editor that comes with Sylpheed, you can choose
to automatically start an editor of your choice when composing
new messages (the editor can be defined in the Other tab).
- The wrap settings defines how Sylpheed will wrap long
lines. You can choose to wrap quoted messages, wrap as you type,
or wrap when sending. You can also change the maximum line length.
- The reply settings let you control the way you will reply
to mails. If Automatically select account(...) is set,
the account used when replying to a message is automatically
selected based on the folder the original message is in (as you
where already told, accounts can be attached to folders).
If Quote message when replying is selected, when hiting
the Reply button, the composition window pops up and is
filled with either the complete message you are replying to (if
nothing is selected in the body of this message) or the selected
part of its body. When this option is not selected, the composition
window is always empty, and you must cut-and-paste the parts of
the original message you want to quote manually.
In here you can control the quotation of your replies and forwarded
- You can individually define the quotation mark that appears
at the beginning of each quoted line when replying and forwarding
- You can also define the text that appears before and after the
quotation. The format of the quotation contains placeholders for
parts of the original message that are explains in the window
that appears when hiting the Description of symbols
In here you can control the display options of Sylpheed.
- You can change the font used to display the messages. Pressing
the button next to the font name field will open the font selection
window, then you can select among all the available fonts.
- Turning on the translation of the header fields will change the
content of the header summary (between the summary and the message
pane), and use the localized header fields name based on the
selected language (selected by the 'LANG' environment variable).
This setting will only take effect the next time you will start
- Selecting Display unread next to folder name will add
the number of unread messages next to the folder name in the
folder pane (so you can minimize the width of the folder pane
and hide the unread column).
- You can also control the content of the summary pane. If you choose
to display the recipient name for the mail you send, in the From
column, for any mail you have sent, the name of the recipient will
appear preceded by an arrow (the characters sequence: -->).
The Expand threads controls the initial state of the message
threads when opening a folder (expanded of collapsed).
The Set display item of summary button opens a selection
window that contains all the available items to display in the
left column, the currently selected items in the right column.
Items can be added or removed using the two arrows that appears
between the columns. Using the up and down buttons
on the right side of the window, you can change the display order
of the selected item in the summary window (from left to right).
The message tab controls the message window options.
- The message text can use colours to highlight the different levels
of quotation and URIs. The colours can be changed by using the
colours selection dialog that pops up when pressing the Edit
button next to the Enable coloration of messages toggle.
- The dispaly of the header summary between the summary and message
panes can also be turned on and off (Display header pane above message
- Display short header on message view and the Edit
button next to it, control the inclusion of some header fields
in the message view. If the message coloration has been turned on,
the addresses that appear in the header part of the message view
are highlighted as URIs.
- The Line space setting controls the lines spacing of the
- Leave space on head. Checking this box will make the
start of new lines (unwrapped, where the writer has pressed
the Enter/Return key) indent a few pixels. This can be useful
to read larger e-mails.
- Scroll half page. When enabled, the text in the message
view will only scroll half a page instead of a whole page when
pressing the space bar.
- Smooth scroll. Enabling this box will make the text
in the message view scroll in a smooth, sliding way. For the
eye this can be pleasing, it is a personal preference.
- Select the Resize attached image if you wnat all the
images (attachment) to be resized to fit in the message window.
The interface tab controls the Sylpheed's Graphical User Interface
- The Open message when cursor keys are pressed toggles controls
the opening of the messages while you go through them in the summary
pane using the cursor (up and down arrows) keys. If this toggle is on,
each time you press the down (or up) key in the the
summary window, the current message changes and the content of the
message view changes to the content of the newly selected message.
Otherwise, the content of the message view does not change unless you
press enter (then the message view contains the content of the selected
This does not change the behaviour of the left mouse button (always selects
and open the pointed message).
- Open first unread message when entering a folder if selected,
when opening a folder, the message view will contain the first unread
message of this folder (or the latest message in the order the folder
uses for sorting messages). If not selected, the message view remains
empty until a message is selected (by changing the current message with
the cursor keys or with the left mouse button).
- Only marks message read when open in new window leaves the
selected message unread (but display it in the message view) until you
open it in a new window (double click the left mouse button).
- If Execute immediately when moving or deleting messages is not
selected, a new button appears in the button bar marked Execute.
When deleting or moving messages, they are first marked as deleted or
moved but Sylpheed does not move or delete them until you press the
Execute button (or the Execute entry of the
- The Receive dialog settings controls the dialog that pops
up (if you have set Show receive dialog to always)
when receiving new mails.
The default is to open a pop up window upon reception error unless
you select the Dont't pop up error dialog (...) toggle.
- The Set key bindings button when pressed, opens a selection
window that contains a list of pre-defined key bindings (Mew,
Mutt, Old Sylpheed) to change all the key bindings
at once. The key bindings can also be changed one by one as described in
The other tab contains the settings that does not fit the
- Web browser. Here you can enter the name of your favorite
web browser (Netscape, Opera, Mozilla, Lynx etc.). Add the %s parameter
to the command so Sylpheed knows it has to provide the text you clicked
on as the URL that the browser has to visit.
The arrow next to the text field can be used to display a scrolling
list of predefined URL browsing command lines.
- Printing. Here you can define the program that should be used
to print. Default is lpr, and the %s is the name of the temporary file
that Sylpheed creates for lpr to print.
When using the File->Print menu entry to print the selected
message, a text window pops up to allow you to change the command
used to print.
- External editor. You can select an external editor to write
your e-mails with, for example vi, emacs or gedit. Note that for
text-based editors like vi, you need to define a terminal window,
xterm -e vi %s. Otherwise there is no place that the
editor will be able to show up. Here too, the %s parameter is the
name of a temporary file that is created by Sylpheed.
- Add address to destination (...) when selected,
double clicking an e-mail address (in the address book,
when the composition window is opened) can be used to add
this address to the To: field.
- Confirming if you want to exit Sylpheed (or just exit quietly).
- Cleaning the trashbox when exiting Sylpheed.
- Have Sylpheed ask you to clean the trash before it is done.
- Warn you when exiting Sylpheed when there are still messages
queued to be sent.
In order to set up an account in Sylpheed, in the Configuration
menu you select Create new account. If you want to change the
settings of an existing account and this account is the current
one, in the Configuration menu select Preferences for
current account, otherwise select Edit accounts....
There you select the account you want to change. After that you press
edit. Then a dialog appears in which you can enter or update
the following areas:
In the "Basic" tab you name the account. This is to make identifying
the account easier. The name is then used in the Change current account
part of the Configuration menu, or in menu found in the lower
right corner of the main window (used to quickly switch to another account).
Choose a name that tells something about the account, like the
name of the ISP, mailbox or news-server you are setting up.
You can select this account to be the default account ("Usually used").
The default account can also be defined from the Edit accounts
window (toggle the D column next to the account name).
Enter your name and e-mail address, and if you have one, the
organization that you use Sylpheed for.
In the Protocol box you select the type of service that this
account will be using. The flavors you can choose are: POP3 normal,
POP3 APOP auth, IMAP4, NNTP news or None (local).
For POP3 and IMAP services you can then specify the server where
your mail is stored. Details about this name, and also the name
that goes into the field for SMTP server (send) should be given
to you by your ISP.
For a local unix mailbox, the Server for receiving is disabled,
since the mail will be received for you.
The fields for User ID and Password will also be
disabled for accounts that do no deal with POP3 or IMAP services.
Otherwise you can enter the login name and password for the e-mail
server with your ISP here. Usually these are the same as your login
name and password to access the dial-in service, but this is
not standard. If in doubt, contact the helpdesk of your ISP.
The password is not printed in the entry field (replaced by stars) but
is stored in plaintext in the Sylpheed configuration files. The Sylpheed
configuration directory ( /.sylpheed) is only readable by 'owner', and
not by 'group' and 'other', do not change these access rights.
The Receive tab is only used for POP3 accounts. Here you
specify if the mails that were successfully retrieved should be removed
from the server. You can also tell Sylpheed to get all the
messages there, not only the ones you already received (in case
you leave your messages on the server).
You can choose to leave the messages on the server during a selectable
number of days (then remove them).
You can also define a limit for the size of the messages to
download. Any message bigger than this limit will not be
You can also choose to filter messages on receiving, if not
set, the messages are only filtered when you use the filter
entry of the Tools menu.
The default inbox defines the folder that receives the incoming
(and not filtered) messages for this account.
You can define a different folder as inbox for each of your
If the Get all checks for messages on this account is turned
off, when using the Get all menu entry (or toolbar button)
this account will not be checked. To check for new mails for
this account, you must select the account, then use the Get
toolbar button (or menu entry).
In the Send tab you can define the settings that apply
to sending mails.
You can choose to add the date field to the messages you send,
generate a unique message identifier, or add custom header
The user defined header field should be set up to contain your
Thanks to Jeff Dairiki, you can have a complete online course in this.
this page for the details.
If your SMTP server needs authentication, define the user ID and
password to use in this tab. You can also choose to first authenticate with
POP3 before sending.
In the Compose tab you can define your signature file,
choose to always copy someone when sending mails (you can
choose to always copy your boss, or yourself), and define the
Reply-To field for the current account.
This tab is only available when Sylpheed has been compiled
with GPGME and GNUPG (for signature and encryption).
With this tab you can choose the keys to use when signing
or encrypting mails for this account.
The Advanced tab contains some settings you normally do
not need to change (unless you really know what you are
You can change the default SMTP or POP3 ports used when
connecting to your mail server, define a domain name to
use when sending a mail. Some ISP (or mail relays) reject
mails without a valid domain name.
The default folders for the sent messages, drafts and
trash can be defined here. If not changed the current account
will use the default folders.
Attaching accounts to folders
Pressing the right mouse button over a folder (in the folder pane),
and selecting the Properties entry will open the folder properties
form. In this form, in the General tab you can see (but not modify)
the folder name and the corresponding directory path (relative to the mail
directory). In the Compose tab:
you can select the account, choose to apply this setting also to
You can also force the address used when sending mail (to force a mailing
list address, for example), choose to send a copy of the sent mails
to a list of addresses different from the default one defined for the
Using accounts in the real life
Accounts can, of course be used to retrieve mails from different ISPs,
separate your personal and professional messages, but also to make your
You can define different accounts just to change your address (as sender),
your signature, change the sent folder, etc...
Here is a summary of the account specific settings, feel free to
find your own use for them:
- Sender name, address and organization. Signature, extra header
- Leave or remove message from server (usefull for debug).
- Incoming mails filtering and size limit.
- Default field (Reply-To:, Cc:, Bcc:).
- Draft, Trash and Sent folders.
By attaching accounts to folders, you can control all these settings
on a folder basis, but you can also change the To:, Cc:,
Bcc:, and Reply-To: for each folder (overrides the account