Nested IMAP folders

nestedFolders.gif Most mail readers are capable of displaying nested IMAP folders, as shown to the left. However, they don't allow you to create the nested directory structure, only to display it; you have to use Linux commands to do it.

Here is how to set up a nested folder hierarchy in your IMAP folders. The steps are:

  • Find the location of your IMAP mail files; click on that web link if you don't know where this is or how to find out.

    It will probably be /a/mail/folders/$user, where $user is the name of your Nevis account. If the IMAP folder prefix in your mail is blank, then it will be that location, which is the default.

  • Login to the Nevis Linux cluster.

  • You want to create subdirectories in your mail directory that correspond to the IMAP structure you want.

    Let's use the example to the left (from WilliamSeligman's mail reader) for the directory structure. I wanted the hierarchy Neutrino/NuSOnG, with an actual mail folder named NuSOnG-general. Assume that my mail is stored in /a/mail/folders/seligman. Then the commands to set this up might be:

    cd /a/mail/folders/seligman
    mkdir Neutrino
    cd Neutrino
    mkdir NuSOnG

  • That sets up the containing folders, but it still doesn't set up the file that will contain the actual mail. The simplest way to set that up is to create it manually:

    cd NuSOnG
    touch NuSOnG-general

  • Restart your mail reader program

  • Depending on your mail reader, the above steps may have been sufficient. In the case of Thunderbird, you'll still have to subscribe to the new mail file; select "Subscribe..." from the File menu, navigate to the file you created with touch, and click on that file's name.

    (Actually, I did this step manually by editing my .subscription file, but do whatever is easiest for you.)

  • Once you've created the first mail file within a folder hierarchy, you'll be able to create new files within a folder from within your mail reader; e.g., in Thunderbird, select "New..." then "Folder..." from the File menu.

    Don't get confused! Your mail program will call all these structures "folders." As someone experienced with Linux, you know that your mail is actually stored in a text file.

-- WilliamSeligman - 24 Dec 2008

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Topic revision: r5 - 2017-07-25 - WilliamSeligman
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