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alot is a terminal-based mail user agent based on the notmuch mail indexer. It is written in python using the urwid toolkit and features a modular and command prompt driven interface to provide a full MUA experience.


sudo apt-get install alot


Alot reads the INI config file ~/.config/alot/config. That file is not created by default, if you don't want to start from scratch, you can use pazz's alot configuration, in particular the [accounts] section.

UI interaction

Basic movement is done with:

  • Move up and down: j/k, arrows and page up and page down.
  • Cancel prompts: Escape
  • Select highlighted element: Enter.
  • Update buffer: @.

The interface shows one buffer at a time, basic buffer management is done with:

  • Change buffer: Tab and Shift-Tab.
  • Close the current buffer: d
  • List all buffers: ;.

The buffer type or mode (displayed at the bottom left) determines which prompt commands are available. Usage information on any command can be listed by typing help YOURCOMMAND to the prompt. The key bindings for the current mode are listed upon pressing ?.

You can always run commands with :.


Remove emails

Say you want to remove emails from the provider's server but keep them in the notmuch database. There is no straight way to do it, you need to tag them with a special tag like deleted and then remove them from the server with a post-hook.

Theme not found

I don't know why but apt-get didn't install the default themes, you need to create the ~/.config/alot/themes and copy the contents of the themes directory.