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Sirius - A sensible default configuration for the mutt email client
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Sirius - A somewhat opinionated default configuration for the mutt email client on OS X


Mutt is an open source console-based mail client that has great appeal to people who like to work at the console with tools like tmux, vim and emacs.

My own configuration is Google-centric, but the configuration can be adapted to any IMAP service.


All the rather amazing features of mutt, plus:

  • Easy Google Mail configuration that works for both Gmail and Apps.
  • OS X Contacts integrated:
    • {^t} completion in to-fields.
    • Easily add contacts from mutt by pressing {,a}.
  • Secure mail password storage in OS X keychain.
  • Knows what to do with most attachments via view_attachments, e.g. .ics files are opened in Calendar, image files are opened in Preview.
  • Browse URLs in email with urlview.

About the project


I used mutt for many years after getting tired of elm. In 2008, I started using Google Apps for some parts of my work and due to lack of nice support for IMAP and lack of time to work on a good configuration, I started using Google's web client. When we stopped using our own Cyrus IMAP servers entirely a few years later, I stopped using mutt (nearly) altogether.

The goal is to take some of the things I've learnt from working on Hermes and apply them to a mutt configuration.

Looking forward

If you'd like to see more about where Sirius is going and where it has been, have a look at the gist containing my basic mutt configuration that started it all off.

I'm also maintaining a list of potential features with notes.


Draft copy-and-paste installation instructions

This is a work in progress, so installation is not yet streamlined. I will write an installation script as soon as the configuration is complete enough to work nearly out of the box.

Basically, you should fork this repo and clone your copy to $HOME/.sirius. Then you can symlink to anything you want in the repo. If you don't already use mutt, then you can copy mutt/ to $HOME/.mutt and then duplicate and modify mutt/accounts/default/ to suit your needs. Each file should be fairly self-explanatory.

You'll want to look at mutt_aliases.bash in bashrc.d and modify it to reflect your mail accounts. It's possible to load different configurations for mail while inside mutt, but for simplicity's sake, the Sirius configuration encourages you to define aliases for each instance.

Installation steps


  • Install Homebrew
  • brew install elinks
  • brew install urlview
  • brew install vim --with-perl --with-ruby
  • brew install mutt --with-sidebar-patch


  • Clone the Sirius repository to $HOME/.sirius.
  • Symlink $HOME/.sirius/mailcap to $HOME/.mailcap.
  • Symlink $HOME/.sirius/mime.types to $HOME/.mime.types.
  • Symlink $HOME/.sirius/mutt to $HOME/.mutt.
  • Add the files in $HOME/.sirius/bashrc.d/ to $HOME/.bashrc.d/ and make sure they are sourced when you open a shell.
  • Move $HOME/.mutt/accounts/default to a new directory inside $HOME/.mutt/accounts/, e.g. personal/ and add your account details to the muttrc inside it.
  • Symlink that account directory to default since $MUTT_INSTANCE relies on default/ being present.
  • Edit $HOME/.bashrc.d/mutt_aliases.bash and add an alias for your new account, e.g. mutt-personal or work_mail. Make sure $MUTT_INSTANCE is set to the same directory name you renamed default/ to.
  • Start mutt with the aliased command.


One of the obvious advantages to mutt is that you can use any editor with it.

I live in the UK and use vim, but you may not, so you might want to have a look at $HOME/.mutt/editor.muttrc and change the editor and the default spelling language.


  • Homebrew

Other dependencies are listed in manifests/.

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