Sams Teach Yourself Emacs in 24 Hours


Hour 20: Gnus Basics

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Sending Mail and News

Now you have learned some of the ways you can read mail and news and a lot of the different options with which you can configure this process. So now it's finally time to learn how to send messages.

To send a new mail message, press m. (This works almost anywhere in Gnus). To post a new article press a. You must be in the group to which you want to send the message (that is, in the Summary buffer for the group or in the Message buffer for an article of the group). When you have pressed either m or a you are taken to a message buffer where you can write your letter or article. A Message buffer can be seen in Figure 20.4.

The first few lines are the header of the article. If you need to add an extra header line, you can simply do it by writing it (or you might find the appropriate header line from the field menu item). Thus if you, for example, need to insert a CC field, simply type CC: on a line by itself and type the email address you want to send a carbon copy to.

Do not delete the line that says

--text follows this line--

This line is used by Gnus to figure out where the headers end and where the body of the message starts (that is, where the text you are actually sending starts). The line is not shown in the message you send.

Posting a reply on a newsgroup is called follow up , whereas sending a reply to an email message is called reply to . You can also send a reply to an article in a newsgroup, but this is then interpreted as sending a reply to the author of the message (not as posting a follow up to the newsgroup!). Finally you can send a wide reply to a message. A wide reply is simply an email message that is sent to all the original recipients and the originator of the message you reply to (excluding any newsgroups).

When replying to a message, it is often useful to include the original message. Variants of each of the reply/follow up functions described exist that yank the original text before you are allowed to edit it. In the Post menu you can find all the functions described previously. To ensure that you send the message to the correct people, the functions are summarized in Table 20.3.

Table 20.3  Functions from the Post Menu Used to Reply to or Follow Up on a Message


Location to Which the Message Is Sent

Follow up

The reply is posted to the newsgroup where the original message is located. If the article is not from a newsgroup, the message is replied to.


The reply is sent to the author of the message. This is true both for messages from a newsgroup and from a mail group

Wide Reply

The message is sent to everyone who received the message that you reply to, excluding any newsgroup. That is all email addresses listed in the header receive your reply, but no newsgroups.

Finally you might want to forward a letter to another person using either email or a newsgroup. This is achieved by the functions Forward Mail and Forward News.

Postponing Messages

Whenever you write a message, you might find that you do not have time to finish the letter until later. In these cases you simply press C-c C-d (in the Message buffer). This postpones the message. When you later want to continue the letter you must go to the group called D rafts. From this group you can continue editing the letter, send it, or throw it away. The available actions can be seen in the Draft menu available when you have selected this group.

Caution - If you cannot find this group, try to press g in the group buffer. The reason might be that the group hasn't been updated to reflect that it now contains your postponed message.

Keeping an Archive of Sent Messages

When you send a message, you often want to keep a copy of the letter for yourself. If you insert the following lines into your .Gnus file, Gnus automatically saves a copy to the file sent:

(setq gnus-message-archive-group "sent")

This mechanism is, however, very powerful. Insert the following line into your .Gnus file instead to get the outgoing messages saved in a group called sent-year-month:

(setq gnus-message-archive-group  
   '((concat "sent-" (format-time-string "%Y-%B" (current-time)))))  

Whenever you compose a new message, a header called Gcc is inserted with the name of the group to save to (see Figure 20.8). If you do not want the current message to be saved to this article, you can simply delete this line.

Figure 20.8
Keeping an archive of sent messages.

If you want to save the letter to another folder, simply edit the line. If you want to save it to several, add extra names with a comma in between.

Incorporating Old Archives

If you have old mail archives in ordinary mbox format, you can simply copy these files to your ~/Mail/archive directory, and issue the command nnfolder-generate-active-file. If this, for one reason or another, should not make your old archives visible in the group buffer, go to the Server buffer as described in the section "Installing the Mailboxes" earlier this hour, and subscribe the groups from the server called nnfolder+archive.

Sending Attachments

Sending attachments with Gnus is quite easy. Simply press C-c C-a. Gnus then asks you for the following things in the minibuffer:

Sams Teach Yourself Emacs in 24 Hours


Hour 20: Gnus Basics

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