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1. Sylpheed FAQ - General information

1.1 Q01 Are there FAQ's in other languages?

A. Yes. Here are links to several translations:

You can download this FAQ from

1.2 Q02 What is Sylpheed?

A. Sylpheed is an e-mail client (& news reader) based on GTK+, running on the X Window System, and aiming for

  • Quick response
  • Graceful, and sophisticated interface
  • Easy configuration, intuitive operation
  • Abundant features

1.3 Q03 Where can I get Sylpheed?

A. You can download it from There are links to download the tarball sources, and also links to sites where you can download RPM's (for Redhat and Mandrake), DEB packages for Debian, and installations for Solaris and FreeBSD.

1.4 Q04 Who writes Sylpheed?

A. Hiroyuki Yamamoto (

1.5 Q05 What does the name Sylpheed mean?

A. It means 'light weight', like air. This comes from the name of the wind spirits, the Sylphs.

1.6 Q06 How does Sylpheed store mails?

A. Mails are stored in the MH mailfile format as used by MH and EMH. Maildir and mbox format are not (yet) supported, although it is possible to import an mbox file into a Sylpheed mailbox.

1.7 Q07 Why does the auto collection of mail not work?

A. Autocollection works since version 0.5.1. If you need it or want it, you should upgrade.

1.8 Q08 Does Sylpheed have mail filtering?

A. Yes. You can find it in Configuration -> filtering tab.

Please note that filtering is not yet implemented for IMAP accounts.

1.9 Q09 Can Sylpheed handle IMAP mail?

A. Yes. As of version 0.4.99 IMAP is supported.

1.10 Q10 Can Sylpheed handle local unix mailboxes?

A. Yes.

1.11 Q11 Can Sylpheed handle IPv6?

A. Yes, IPv6 is fully supported in Sylpheed.

1.12 Q12 Does Sylpheed support encryption like GPG?

A. Yes. GPG is implemented and works fine. For activating it in Sylpheed, see Q14 in the Installation section.

1.13 Q13 How does Sylpheed check for MIME types?

A. Sylpheed uses the Mutt type of mime checking.

1.14 Q14 Does Sylpheed allow me to write HTML styled messages?

A. No. A discussion has gone around over this topic, and the outcome was that HTML mail is not wanted. If you really need to send HTML, you can of course attach a webpage to an e-mail. Several patches have been made to facilitate better HTML handling in Sylpheed. You can find these patches at the Sylpheed Patch Page (see further down in the document).

1.15 Q15 Does Sylpheed have name completion in the address fields?

A. Yes. When you search for a name that starts with "don", type "don" (without the quotes) and press the TAB key. This will show you the correct name (when only one "don" exists in your addressbook. Otherwise a dropdown list appears, which allows you to select the name you want. E.g. Donald Duck, Don Johnson. But also e-mail addresses starting with "don" will appear in the list (like "").

1.16 Q16 Fine, but when I hit the TAB key I get an error message.

A. When you want to use name completion, make sure that there are names in your address book. If there are no names, even Sylpheed has a hard time completing something.

1.17 Q17 Why is Sylpheed so fast?

A. That's what it is designed for!

1.18 Q18 Where can I get the current patches for Sylpheed?

A. The Sylpheed Patch homepage: (Also see section on Installation on how to install a patch)

1.19 Q19 How can I send in patches, report bugs, talk about Sylpheed with others?

A. To talk to others, you should join the Sylpheed mailing list at Note that there is a japanese and an english list, so pick the right one! If you have made a patch that you want the world to know of, please get in touch with the manager of the Sylpheed Patch homepage, at

1.20 Q20 When I send mail, the Content-Type header says the mail is in US-ASCII, even when I specified ISO-8859-1?

A. If ISO-8859-1 characters (>= 0x80) are not used in the message body, Sylpheed will automatically set the charset value in the Content-Type header as US-ASCII.

1.21 Q21 Why does it look like word wrap is not working?

A. Word wrapping is a bit peculiar perhaps. You can type lines as long as you like. By the time you send or queue a mail with long lines, Sylpheed will first wrap the lines to the line length you set up, and then the mail is queued. This is more convenient than you think. Once a line is wrapped (hard line breaks are inserted in the text) and you add something in a line there, the next line will move to a separate new line, leaving one or two words from the previous line "hanging there" alone. E.g.

     This is a long line that
     is wrapped.

Now you add one word in the first line:

     This is a very long line
     is wrapped

This would cause you a lot of manual reformatting to get a presentable mail again.

Note: As of Sylpheed 0.8.0., active wordwrap has been implemented. You can turn it on in Common Preferences->Compose->wrap on input.

1.22 Q22 Where can I find the latest FAQ on Sylpheed?

A. Go to and check out the FAQ and manual from the sylpheeddoc project. Both documents are available in multiple languages there and usually contain the latest updates.

1.23 Q23 Can I import a mbox into Sylpheed's MH mailfolders?

A. Yes, just create/select the folder you want your mails in, and select "Import mbox file" in the File menu.

1.24 Q24 Can I use procmail to sort my mails with the MH mail handling?

A. Yes. Just make sure that you add /. to the end of a rule so procmail knows you are filtering into an MH mail folder. Example:


* ^Subject:.*sylpheed


Check man procmail for details.

1.25 Q25 When I upgrade Sylpheed, are there things I should be aware of?

A. Yes!

Upgrade to 0.4.50: you should reconfigure your newsgroup settings

Upgrade to 0.4.63: you should set the URL string colors from the Configuration menu.

Upgrade to 0.4.65: some menu items have been moved

Upgrade to 0.7.3: many keybindings have changed

1.26 Q26 How can I quickly update the views in Sylpheed?

A. Just press Alt-U or select "update" from the summary menu.

1.27 Q27 Why can't I use gvim as external editor?

A. If one wishes to use gvim as an external editor it's necessary to start it with the no-fork option -f, i.e. in the configuration dialog box you need to enter "gvim -f %s". If not the editor forks and open up a separate file and when one quits the editor the changes are lost and don't show up in the composer window.

(Thanks, Ed Collins!)

1.28 Q28 Can I quote just parts of the original message when replying?

A. Yes, select the part in the textview and choose "reply".

1.29 Q29 Can I reply without quoting at all?

A. Right click on the "reply" button in the toolbar and choose "reply without quote" (also works with "forward").

Tip: You can also assign hotkeys to these menu entries.

1.30 C30 How does selective download work?

A. There are two ways using it.

1. Manually: Open "Tools/Selective download" and choose "Fetch" to retrieve the mail headers. Afterwards, select the mails to delete and pres the remove button.

2. Automatic: Create a -global- filtering rule to delete mails on server. If you then choose "Selective download", all mails that conform to this rule are marked for deletion.

Note: By default, selective download only retrieves new (unread) messages. If you want to process the read mails also, you need to set "retrieve all messages".

1.31 C31 Why are there two filter options?

A. "Filter setting" is the traditional one with less options. The "Filtering" option is new in sylpheed-claws and more powerful and may replace the old option in the future.

Tip: To convert your old filter rules into the new format, you can use the "" script, that can be found in "tools" subdirectory from sylphed-claws sources.

1.32 C32 Can I use both filter options?

A. No, as soon as you define a new "filtering" rule, the traditional "filter" rules are ignored.

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