comp - compose a message (only available within the message handling sys-
comp [msg] [+folder] [options]
Specifies the folder in which the draft message is created. If you do
not send the draft, it is stored in this folder.
This option is usually set up in your .mh_profile. See mh_profile(4)
for more information. If you have this option set up, you can override
it by using the -nodraftfolder option.
Specifies the name of a file in which a draft message is created. If
no absolute pathname is given, this file is assumed to be in your Mail
directory. If the file already exists, the mail system will ask you
what you want to do with its contents before the draft message is
If the named file does not contain a message header, the -draftmessage
option does not create one. If you want to create a message in an empty
file, use the -file option. You cannot use -draftmessage to specify a
file name with the -draftfolder option.
Specifies the editor used to create the draft message. The default edi-
tor is prompter; see prompter(1). You can specify any approved editor
as an alternative.
If you regularly use the same editor, you can specify it in the Editor:
line of your .mh_profile. The following entry sets up vi as the editor
you use to compose mail messages:
Uses the named file to create the draft message in. If no absolute
pathname is given, the file is assumed to be in your Mail directory.
If the file already exists, the mail system will ask you what you want
to do with its contents before the draft is created.
Unlike the -draftmessage option, this option creates a message header
for a new draft. This means that you can create a draft in an empty
file and send it successfully.
Specifies an alternative mail header for your draft. The named form-
file contains a message header, which comp uses when it creates the
draft message. If no absolute pathname is given, it is assumed that the
file is in your Mail directory.
If you do not specify the -form option, comp takes the message header
from the components file in your Mail directory, or, if this does not
exist, it uses the system default header.
You cannot use the -form option with either a +folder or a msgs argu-
Prints a list of the valid options for this command.
Creates a draft without invoking an editor. You are placed immediately
at the What now? prompt, without being given the opportunity to edit
the draft at all. This option is only useful if you are sending an
existing draft using the -use option to comp. Otherwise it will produce
a draft with no addresses and no content.
Uses an existing draft as the new draft message. If you have saved a
previous unsent draft in a drafts folder or in the draft file, you can
edit and send it using the -use option. The previous draft is
displayed on your screen and the editor is invoked to allow you to edit
the draft. When you exit from the editor, you receive the What now?
prompt in the usual way.
If you have a draft folder set up, or specify one with the -draftfolder
option, the mail system will use the current draft in that folder as
the new draft message. If you do not have a draft folder, it will use
the contents of the draft file. If you do not want to use the current
message in a folder, you can supply a message number. You can also use
a message in a file by giving the file name using the -file or the
If you want to send an existing draft without editing it further, you
can supply the -use option in conjunction with the -noedit option. This
will place you at the What now? prompt without invoking an editor.
Specifies an alternative whatnow program. Normally, comp invokes the
default whatnow program. See whatnow(1) for a discussion of available
options. You can specify your own alternative to the default program
using the -whatnowproc program option. If you do specify your own pro-
gram, you should not call it whatnow.
You can suppress the whatnow program entirely by using the -nowhat-
nowproc option. However, as the program normally starts the initial
edit, the -nowhatnowproc option will prevent you from editing the mes-
The defaults for comp are:
+foldername defaults to the current folder
msg defaults to the current message
Use comp to create a new message for mailing. When you run comp, it pro-
vides a message template for you to fill in and invokes an editor so that
you can complete the message.
The comp command normally creates the new message in your draft folder, if
you have one set up, or in the draft file if you do not have a draft folder
set up. If you wish to use an existing message as the basis of your new
draft message, you can use the msg or +folder arguments. The +folder argu-
ment takes the current message in the named folder as the basis of the new
draft message. The msg argument takes the named message from your draft
folder, or if you do not have a draft folder set up, from your current
folder. In both cases, the mail system asks you what you want to do with
the existing message. You cannot use the msg and +folder arguments
A mail message consists of a mail header and the body of the message. The
mail header contains all the information that determines who is going to
receive the mail message. It can also give the recipients some information
about the sender. The body of the message is the actual text of the message
that you want to send. The header is separated from the body of the text by
a blank line or by a line of dashes. The header must be separated from the
body of the message in this way for the message to be identified properly
when it is sent; see send(1).
The standard message header looks like this:
You can specify an alternative mail header by setting up a file called com-
ponents in your Mail directory. This is used instead of the default mail
header by comp.
If you do not have a draft folder set up, comp creates your new draft in a
file called draft in your Mail directory. This file must be empty before
you can create a new draft, which means that you can only store one draft
at a time. If it is not empty, the mail system will ask you what you want
to do with the existing contents. The options are:
Aborts comp, leaving the draft intact.
Replaces the existing draft with the appropriate message form.
use Allows you to edit the existing draft.
Displays the draft message.
Refiles the existing draft message in the specified folder, and pro-
vides a new message form for you to complete.
If you want to have more than one draft at a time, you can set up a draft
folder in your .mh_profile. This allows you to keep as many unsent drafts
as space allows, and still create new messages as you wish. To do this,
make sure that the following line is in your .mh_profile:
For more information on how to do this, see mh_profile(4).
If you set up a draft folder, all draft messages are created in that
folder. If you decide not to send the draft, by typing quit at the What
now? prompt, the message is stored in the draft folder. You can then re-
edit the message, or send it at a later date, by using the -use option to
Path: To determine your Mail directory
Draft-Folder: To find the default draft folder
Editor: To override the default editor
Msg-Protect: To set mode when creating a new message (draft)
fileproc: Program to refile the message
whatnowproc: Program to ask the "What now?" questions
The default system template for draft messages.
The user-supplied alternative to the default draft template.
Your user profile.
The draft file.
dist(1), forw(1), prompter(1), repl(1), send(1), whatnow(1), mh_profile(4)