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SORTM(1mh) [mmh-0.4] SORTM(1mh)


sortm - sort messages


sortm [+folder] [msgs] [-datefield field] [-textfield field] [-notextfield] [-limit days] [-nolimit] [-verbose | -noverbose] [-Version] [-help]


Sortm sorts the specified messages in the named folder according to the chronological order of the `Date:' field of each message.

The -verbose switch directs sortm to tell the user the general actions that it is taking to place the folder in sorted order.

The -datefield field switch tells sortm the name of the field to use when making the date comparison. If the user has a special field in each message, such as `BB-Posted:' or `Delivery-Date:', then the -datefield switch can be used to direct sortm which field to examine.

The -textfield field switch causes sortm to sort messages by the specified text field. If this field is `subject', any leading "re:" is stripped off. In any case, all characters except letters and numbers are stripped and the resulting strings are sorted datefield-major, textfield-minor, using a case insensitive comparison.

With -textfield field, if -limit days is specified, messages with similar textfields that are dated within `days' of each other appear together. Specifying -nolimit makes the limit infinity. With -limit 0, the sort is instead made textfield-major, date-minor.

For example, to order a folder by date-major, subject-minor, use:

sortm -textfield subject +folder


^$HOME/.mmh/profile~^The user profile


^Path:~^To determine the user's mail storage
^Current-Folder:~^To find the default current folder




`+folder' defaults to the current folder
`-datefield' defaults to date


If a folder is given, it will become the current folder. If the current message is moved, sortm
will preserve its status as current.


Timezones used to be ignored when comparing dates: they aren't any more.

Messages which were in the folder, but not specified by `msgs', used to be moved to the end of the folder; now such messages are left untouched.

Sortm sometimes did not preserve the message numbering in a folder (e.g., messages 1, 3, and 5, might have been renumbered to 1, 2, 3 after sorting). This was a bug, and has been fixed. To compress the message numbering in a folder, use `folder -pack' as always.


If sortm encounters a message without a date-field, or if the message has a date-field that sortm cannot parse, then sortm attempts to keep the message in the same relative position. This does not always work. For instance, if the first message encountered lacks a date which can be parsed, then it will usually be placed at the end of the messages being sorted.

When sortm complains about a message which it can't temporally order, it complains about the message number prior to sorting. It should indicate what the message number will be after sorting.

2019-01-06 MH.6.8