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8. Sylpheed-Claws configuration

All the configuration settings of Sylpheed-Claws are accessible from the Configuration menu and consist of common settings (Preferences, Filtering, Templates, Actions, and Plugins) and account specific settings.

With Sylpheed-Claws, there is no limit to the number of accounts you can create. You can create new accounts for each of your mail accounts, but also to change the default behaviour of Sylpheed. As folders can be attached to accounts, the account specific part of the configuration automatically change based on the current folder (you can have a different signature when replying to messages from different folders, for example).

8.1 Preferences

The Common Preferences, found in the Configuration menu, controls the window layout and the different options of the graphical interface of Sylpheed. Depending on some compile time switches (and on the availability of some extra libraries), some tabs may be included (or not) in your version of Sylpheed. These tabs are not listed here but are described (or will be described) in the sections covering the optional features they control (like the Privacy tab for the GnuPG interface).

Receive tab

In here you can set up how to receive messages.

Send tab

In here you can set up how to send messages.

Compose tab

Controls the composition window's behaviour..

Message view tab

In here you can control the message display options of Sylpheed.

Display tab

In here you can the general appearance of Sylpheed.

Customize Toolbars tab

This tab lets you choose what to display in your toolbars (the main window, the message window and the compose window have toolbars. From the upper part of the page, you can choose an icon, associate a text to it, and choose which event to perform when clicked. In the lower part of the page, you see the buttons displayed in the current toolbar, you can add and delete them, and change their order.

Plugins tab

The plugins tab controls the various plugins preferences. For example, the pgpcore plugin which brings the crypto operations to Sylpheed-Claws can be configured to automatically check signatures, store passphrase or not, and more.

Other tab

The other tab contains the settings that does not fit the previous categories.

8.2 Setting up an account/changing an account

In order to set up an account in Sylpheed-Claws, in the Configuration menu you select Create new account. If you want to change the settings of an existing account and this account is the current one, in the Configuration menu select Preferences for current account, otherwise select Edit accounts.... There you select the account you want to change. After that you press edit. Then a dialog appears in which you can enter or update the following areas:

Basic tab

In the "Basic" tab you name the account. This is to make identifying the account easier. The name is then used in the Change current account part of the Configuration menu, or in menu found in the lower right corner of the main window (used to quickly switch to another account).

Choose a name that tells something about the account, like the name of the ISP, mailbox or news-server you are setting up. You can select this account to be the default account ("Set as default"). The default account can also be defined from the Edit accounts window (toggle the D column next to the account name).

Enter your name and e-mail address, and if you have one, the organization that you use Sylpheed-Claws for. In the Protocol box you select the type of service that this account will be using. The flavors you can choose are: POP3, IMAP4, News (NNTP) , Local mbox file, orNone (SMTP only).

For POP3 and IMAP services you can then specify the server where your mail is stored. Details about this name, and also the name that goes into the field for SMTP server (send) should be given to you by your ISP.

For a local unix mailbox, the Server for receiving is disabled, since the mail will be received for you.

The fields for User ID and Password will also be disabled for accounts that do no deal with POP3, IMAP or News services. Otherwise you can enter the login name and password for the  server with your ISP here. Usually these are the same as your login name and password to access the dial-in service, but this is not standard. If in doubt, contact the helpdesk of your ISP.


The password is not printed in the entry field (replaced by stars) and is stored with a little obfuscation in the Sylpheed-Claws configuration files. The Sylpheed configuration directory ( /.sylpheed) is only readable by 'owner', and not by 'group' and 'other', do not change these access rights. Do not consider the password safe if you aren't the administrator of the machine either - this goes for every software by the way.

Receive tab

The Receive tab is only used for POP3, IMAP and News accounts.

For POP3, you specify if the mails that were successfully retrieved should be removed from the server. You can also tell Sylpheed-Claws to get all the messages there, not only the ones you already received (in case you leave your messages on the server). You can choose to leave the messages on the server during a selectable number of days (then remove them).
You can also define a limit for the size of the messages to download. Any message bigger than this limit will be  downloaded up to the limit, and you'll be able to get the rest of it via the message view (or not get it).

For IMAP4, you can choose which kind of authentication to use (ask your ISP, or try Automatic).

For News, you can choose what is the maximum numbers of new messages to download.

You can also choose to filter messages on receiving, if not set, the messages are only filtered when you use the filter entry of the Tools menu.

The default inbox defines the folder that receives the incoming (and not filtered) messages for this account. You can define a different folder as inbox for each of your accounts.

If the Get all checks for messages on this account is turned off, when using the Get all menu entry (or toolbar button) this account will not be checked. To check for new mails for this account, you must select the account, then use the Get toolbar button (or menu entry).

Send tab

In the Send tab you can define the settings that apply to sending mails.

You can choose to add the date field to the messages you send, generate a unique message identifier, or add custom header fields.

X-face pictures:

The user defined header field should be set up to contain your X-face picture. Thanks to Jeff Dairiki, you can have a complete online course in this. Visit this page for the details.

If your SMTP server needs authentication, define the user ID and password to use in this tab. You can also choose to first authenticate with POP3 before sending if the receiving server is POP3.

Compose tab

In the Compose tab you can define your signature file, choose to always copy someone when sending mails (you can choose to always copy your boss, or yourself), and define the Reply-To field for the current account.

Privacy tab

This tab is only available when Sylpheed-Claws has been compiled with GPGME and GNUPG (for signature and encryption).

With this tab you can choose the keys to use when signing or encrypting mails for this account, whether you want your messages to be signed by default, etc.

SSL tab

This tab is only available when Sylpheed-Claws has been compiled with openSSL.

With this tab you can choose whether to use SSL on the receiving and sending servers. STARTTLS is used to connect to the normal, unencrypted port, and to start encryption later. This is not supported by all servers, but can be handy for passing misconfigured firewalls.

Advanced tab

The Advanced tab contains some settings you normally do not need to change (unless you really know what you are doing).

You can change the default SMTP or POP3 ports used when connecting to your mail server, define a domain name to use when sending a mail. Some ISP (or mail relays) reject mails without a valid domain name.

The default folders for the sent messages, drafts and trash can be defined here. If not changed the current account will use the default folders.

Attaching accounts to folders

Pressing the right mouse button over a folder (in the folder pane), and selecting the Properties entry will open the folder properties form. In this form, in the General tab you can see (but not modify) the folder name and the corresponding directory path (relative to the mail directory). In the Compose tab:

you can select the account, choose to apply this setting also to the sub-folders. You can also force the address used when sending mail (to force a mailing list address, for example), choose to send a copy of the sent mails to a list of addresses different from the default one defined for the selected account.

Using accounts in the real life

Accounts can, of course be used to retrieve mails from different ISPs, separate your personal and professional messages, but also to make your life easier. You can define different accounts just to change your address (as sender), your signature, change the sent folder, etc... Here is a summary of the account specific settings, feel free to find your own use for them:

By attaching accounts to folders, you can control all these settings on a folder basis, but you can also change the To:, Cc:, Bcc:, and Reply-To: for each folder (overrides the account settings).

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