Help for Alpine - Compose Command
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Introduction

Composing a message is probably one of the reasons for using a mail program. It's very likely that you may survive without Filters or Roles, but very few people would use an e-mail program if it did not have the ability to be able to compose a message (if you had a choice).

There are many configuration options that affect how you start, or finish a composition of a message, we will try to cover them here.

Starting a New Message

In order to start a new message, you must press either the C or the # key, in any non configuration screen, which is not the composer screen.

Here are their meanings.

  1. The # command is used to compose a message setting a specific role. If there are no roles defined then key will do nothing but show you an error message at the bottom of the screen, however if you have defined at least one role, you will be shown a screen with the list of all of your roles, from where you can select the one that you want to use. In order to cancel composing using a role you must press the E key. If you do not have a newsgroup open, then you will be taken to the composition screen, which we will discuss later. This is by far the easiest way to start composing a message. If you are already in a newsgroup, then the behavior is different and what happens next is described in the News page.
  2. The C command is much more complicated than the # command, because what happens after you press this key will depend on many settings, so bear with me while I explain what happens.

Starting a New Message (Part II)

If the above seemed too complicated, in order to reduce the complexity and prompting of Alpine there is an alternative to all this process. As we saw before, checking for Postponed messages, is done after checking for interrupted messages and before checking for roles. There is a way to put all of these questions at the same level.

In fact, if you enable [X] Alternate Compose Menu, then the first thing that will happen after you press C, will be that you will see a menu in the bottom of the screen. This menu contains a few options. Here are all the possible options:

  1. [New], is the default entry. It means that if you press N or RETURN, then you will be taken to the composer directly, or if you have set the [ ] Confirm Role Even for Default, be asked to confirm if you do not want to compose using a role.
  2. I, to continue composing an interrupted message. This option is only available if such a message exists.
  3. P, to continue composing a postponed message. This option is available only if the postponed folder exists.
  4. F, to start composing using a form letter. This option is only available if the form-letter-folder exists.
  5. R, to start composing a message using a Role. This option is only available if you have at least one role defined.