OfflineIMAP is a tool to simplify your e-mail reading. With OfflineIMAP, you can read the same mailbox from multiple computers. You get a current copy of your messages on each computer, and changes you make one place will be visible on all other systems. For instance, you can delete a message on your home computer, and it will appear deleted on your work computer as well. OfflineIMAP is also useful if you want to use a mail reader that does not have IMAP support, has poor IMAP support, or does not provide disconnected operation. It's homepage at http://offlineimap.org contains more information, source code, and online documentation.
OfflineIMAP does not require additional python dependencies beyond python >=2.6 (although python-sqlite is strongly recommended).
OfflineIMAP is a Free Software project licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 (or later) with a special exception that allows the OpenSSL library to be used. You can download it for free, and you can modify it. In fact, you are encouraged to contribute to OfflineIMAP.
The documentation is included (in .rst format) in the
Read it directly or generate nice html docs (python-sphinx needed) and/or
the man page (python-docutils needed) while being in the
docs dir via:
'make doc' (user docs), 'make man' (man page only) or 'make' (both) (`make html` will simply create html versions of all *.rst files in /docs)
The resulting user documentation will be in
docs/html. The full user
docs are also at: http://docs.offlineimap.org. Please see there for
detailed information on how to install and configure OfflineImap.
First, install OfflineIMAP. See
docs/INSTALL.rst or read
sudo python setup.py install).
Second, set up your configuration file and run it! The distribution
includes offlineimap.conf.minimal (Debian users may find this at
provides you with the bare minimum of setting up OfflineIMAP. You can
simply copy this file into your home directory and name it
.offlineimaprc. A command such as
~/.offlineimaprc will do it. Or, if you prefer, you can just copy
this text to
[general] accounts = Test [Account Test] localrepository = Local remoterepository = Remote [Repository Local] type = Maildir localfolders = ~/Test [Repository Remote] type = IMAP remotehost = examplehost remoteuser = jgoerzen
Now, edit the
~/.offlineimaprc file with your favorite editor. All you have
to do is specify a directory for your folders to be in (on the
line), the host name of your IMAP server (on the
remotehost line), and your
login name on the remote (on the
remoteuser line). That's it!
If you prefer to be compatible with the XDG Base Directory
then substitute the above
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/offlineimap/config and don't forget to set
XDG_CONFIG_HOME properly if you want it to be different from
$HOME/.config for any reason.
To run OfflineIMAP, you just have to say
offlineimap ― it will fire
up, ask you for a login password if necessary, synchronize your folders,
and exit. See?
You can just throw away the rest of the finely-crafted, perfectly-honed user manual! Of course, if you want to see how you can make OfflineIMAP FIVE TIMES FASTER FOR JUST $19.95 (err, well, $0), you have to read on our full user documentation and peruse the sample offlineimap.conf (which includes all available options) for further tweaks!
Mailing list & bug reporting
The user discussion, development and all exciting stuff take place in the OfflineImap mailing list at http://lists.alioth.debian.org/mailman/listinfo/offlineimap-project. You do not need to subscribe to send emails.
Bugs, issues and contributions should be reported to the mailing list. Bugs can also be reported in the issue tracker at https://github.com/OfflineIMAP/offlineimap/issues.
Here are some example configurations for various situations. Please e-mail any other examples you have that may be useful to me.
Multiple Accounts with Mutt
This example shows you how to set up OfflineIMAP to synchronize multiple accounts with the mutt mail reader.
Start by creating a directory to hold your folders by running
Then, in your
accounts = Personal, Work
Make sure that you have both an
[Account Personal] and an
section. The local repository for each account must have different
path names. Also, make sure to enable
In each local repository section, write something like this:
localfolders = ~/Mail/Personal
Finally, add these lines to your
source ~/path-to-mbnames-muttrc-mailboxes folder-hook Personal set from="firstname.lastname@example.org" folder-hook Work set from="email@example.com" set mbox_type=Maildir set folder=$HOME/Mail spoolfile=+Personal/INBOX
UW-IMAPD and References
Some users with a UW-IMAPD server need to use OfflineIMAP's "reference" feature
to get at their mailboxes, specifying a reference of
depending on the configuration. The below configuration from (originally from
firstname.lastname@example.org) shows using a reference of Mail, a
nametrans that strips the
Mail/ off incoming folder names, and a
folderfilter that limits the
folders synced to just three:
[Account Gerf] localrepository = GerfLocal remoterepository = GerfRemote [Repository GerfLocal] type = Maildir localfolders = ~/Mail [Repository GerfRemote] type = IMAP remotehost = gerf.org ssl = yes remoteuser = docwhat reference = Mail # Trims off the preceeding Mail on all the folder names. nametrans = lambda foldername: \ re.sub('^Mail/', '', foldername) # Yeah, you have to mention the Mail dir, even though it # would seem intuitive that reference would trim it. folderfilter = lambda foldername: foldername in [ 'Mail/INBOX', 'Mail/list/zaurus-general', 'Mail/list/zaurus-dev', ] maxconnections = 1 holdconnectionopen = no
pythonfile Configuration File Option
You can have OfflineIMAP load up a Python file before evaluating the configuration file options that are Python expressions. This example is based on one supplied by Tommi Virtanen for this feature.
~/.offlineimaprc, he adds these options:
[general] pythonfile=~/.offlineimap.py [Repository foo] foldersort=mycmp
~/.offlineimap.py file will contain:
prioritized = ['INBOX', 'personal', 'announce', 'list'] def mycmp(x, y): for prefix in prioritized: xsw = x.startswith(prefix) ysw = y.startswith(prefix) if xsw and ysw: return cmp(x, y) elif xsw: return -1 elif ysw: return +1 return cmp(x, y) def test_mycmp(): import os, os.path folders=os.listdir(os.path.expanduser('~/email@example.com')) folders.sort(mycmp) print folders
This code snippet illustrates how the
foldersort option can be customized with a
Python function from the
pythonfile to always synchronize certain folders first.