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Rmail operates by default on your primary mail file, which is named `~/RMAIL' and which receives your incoming mail from your system inbox file. You can also have other mail files and edit them with Rmail. These files can receive mail through their own inboxes, or you can move messages into them by explicit command in Rmail (see section 6. Copying Messages Out to Files).
To run Rmail on a file other than your primary mail file, you may use
the i (
rmail-input) command in Rmail. This visits the
file, puts it in Rmail mode, and then gets new mail from the file's
inboxes if any. You can also use M-x rmail-input even when not in
The file you read with i does not have to be in Rmail file format. It could also be Unix mail format, mmdf format, or it could be a mixture of all three, as long as each message has one of the three formats. Rmail recognizes all three and converts all the messages to proper Rmail format before showing you the file.
Each Rmail file can contain a list of inbox file names; you can specify this list with M-x set-rmail-inbox-list RET files RET. The argument can contain any number of file names, separated by commas. It can also be empty, which specifies that this file should have no inboxes. Once a list of inboxes is specified, the Rmail file remembers it permanently until it is explicitly changed.
If an Rmail file has inboxes, new mail is merged in from the inboxes
when you bring the Rmail file into Rmail, and when you use the g
rmail-get-new-mail) command. If the Rmail file
specifies no inboxes, then no new mail is merged in at these times. A
special exception is made for your primary mail file: Rmail uses the
standard system inbox for it if it does not specify an inbox.
To merge mail from a file that is not the usual inbox, give the g key a numeric argument, as in C-u g. Rmail prompts you for a file name and merges mail from that file. The inbox file is not deleted or changed at all when you use g with an argument, so this is a general way of merging one file of messages into another.
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