Remove Asciidoc versions of the documentation and building apparatus;
[exim.git] / doc / doc-docbook / filter.xfpt
1. $Cambridge: exim/doc/doc-docbook/filter.xfpt,v 1.1 2006/02/01 11:01:01 ph10 Exp $
3. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
4. This is the primary source of the document that describes Exim's filtering
5. facilities. It is an xfpt document that is converted into DocBook XML for
6. subsequent conversion into printing and online formats. The markup used
7. herein is "standard" xfpt markup, with some extras. The markup is summarized
8. in a file called Markup.txt.
9. /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
11.include stdflags
12.include stdmacs
16. ===========================================================================
17. Additional xfpt markup used by this document, over and above the default
18. provided in the xfpt library.
20. Override the &$ flag to automatically insert a $ with the variable name
22.flag &$ $& "<varname>$" "</varname>"
24. A macro for the common 2-column tables
26.macro table2 100pt 300pt
27.itable none 0 0 2 $1 left $2 left
29. ===========================================================================
32. This preliminary stuff creates a <bookinfo> entry in the XML. This is removed
33. when creating the PostScript/PDF output, because we do not want a full-blown
34. title page created for those versions. The stylesheet fudges up a title line
35. to replace the text "Table of contents". However, for the other forms of
36. output, the <bookinfo> element is retained and used.
38.literal xml
40<title>Exim's interfaces to mail filtering</title>
41<titleabbrev>Exim filtering</titleabbrev>
42<date>30 January 2006</date>
46 <revnumber>4.60-1</revnumber>
47 <date>30 January 2006</date>
48 <authorinitials>PH</authorinitials>
50<copyright><year>2006</year><holder>University of Cambridge</holder></copyright>
52.literal off
55.chapter "Forwarding and filtering in Exim"
56This document describes the user interfaces to Exim's in-built mail filtering
57facilities, and is copyright &copy; University of Cambridge 2006. It
58corresponds to Exim version 4.60.
62.section "Introduction"
63Most Unix mail transfer agents (programs that deliver mail) permit individual
64users to specify automatic forwarding of their mail, usually by placing a list
65of forwarding addresses in a file called &_.forward_& in their home
66directories. Exim extends this facility by allowing the forwarding instructions
67to be a set of rules rather than just a list of addresses, in effect providing
68&"&_.forward_& with conditions"&. Operating the set of rules is called
69&'filtering'&, and the file that contains them is called a &'filter file'&.
71Exim supports two different kinds of filter file. An &'Exim filter'& contains
72instructions in a format that is unique to Exim. A &'Sieve filter'& contains
73instructions in the Sieve format that is defined by RFC 3028. As this is a
74standard format, Sieve filter files may already be familiar to some users.
75Sieve files should also be portable between different environments. However,
76the Exim filtering facility contains more features (such as variable
77expansion), and better integration with the host environment (such as the use
78of external processes and pipes).
80The choice of which kind of filter to use can be left to the end-user, provided
81that the system administrator has configured Exim appropriately for both kinds
82of filter. However, if interoperability is important, Sieve is the only
85The ability to use filtering or traditional forwarding has to be enabled by the
86system administrator, and some of the individual facilities can be separately
87enabled or disabled. A local document should be provided to describe exactly
88what has been enabled. In the absence of this, consult your system
91This document describes how to use a filter file and the format of its
92contents. It is intended for use by end-users. Both Sieve filters and Exim
93filters are covered. However, for Sieve filters, only issues that relate to the
94Exim implementation are discussed, since Sieve itself is described elsewhere.
96The contents of traditional &_.forward_& files are not described here. They
97normally contain just a list of addresses, file names, or pipe commands,
98separated by commas or newlines, but other types of item are also available.
99The full details can be found in the chapter on the &(redirect)& router in the
100Exim specification, which also describes how the system administrator can set
101up and control the use of filtering.
105.section "Filter operation"
106It is important to realize that, in Exim, no deliveries are actually made while
107a filter or traditional &_.forward_& file is being processed. Running a filter
108or processing a traditional &_.forward_& file sets up future delivery
109operations, but does not carry them out.
111The result of filter or &_.forward_& file processing is a list of destinations
112to which a message should be delivered. The deliveries themselves take place
113later, along with all other deliveries for the message. This means that it is
114not possible to test for successful deliveries while filtering. It also means
115that any duplicate addresses that are generated are dropped, because Exim never
116delivers the same message to the same address more than once.
121.section "Testing a new filter file" "SECTtesting"
122Filter files, especially the more complicated ones, should always be tested, as
123it is easy to make mistakes. Exim provides a facility for preliminary testing
124of a filter file before installing it. This tests the syntax of the file and
125its basic operation, and can also be used with traditional &_.forward_& files.
127Because a filter can do tests on the content of messages, a test message is
128required. Suppose you have a new filter file called &_myfilter_& and a test
129message in a file called &_test-message_&. Assuming that Exim is installed with
130the conventional path name &_/usr/sbin/sendmail_& (some operating systems use
131&_/usr/lib/sendmail_&), the following command can be used:
133/usr/sbin/sendmail -bf myfilter <test-message
135The &%-bf%& option tells Exim that the following item on the command line is
136the name of a filter file that is to be tested. There is also a &%-bF%& option,
137which is similar, but which is used for testing system filter files, as opposed
138to user filter files, and which is therefore of use only to the system
141The test message is supplied on the standard input. If there are no
142message-dependent tests in the filter, an empty file (&_/dev/null_&) can be
143used. A supplied message must start with header lines or the &"From&~"& message
144separator line that is found in many multi-message folder files. Note that
145blank lines at the start terminate the header lines. A warning is given if no
146header lines are read.
148The result of running this command, provided no errors are detected in the
149filter file, is a list of the actions that Exim would try to take if presented
150with the message for real. For example, for an Exim filter, the output
152Deliver message to: gulliver@lilliput.fict.example
153Save message to: /home/lemuel/mail/archive
155means that one copy of the message would be sent to
156&'gulliver@lilliput.fict.example'&, and another would be added to the file
157&_/home/lemuel/mail/archive_&, if all went well.
159The actions themselves are not attempted while testing a filter file in this
160way; there is no check, for example, that any forwarding addresses are valid.
161For an Exim filter, if you want to know why a particular action is being taken,
162add the &%-v%& option to the command. This causes Exim to output the results of
163any conditional tests and to indent its output according to the depth of
164nesting of &(if)& commands. Further additional output from a filter test can be
165generated by the &(testprint)& command, which is described below.
167When Exim is outputting a list of the actions it would take, if any text
168strings are included in the output, non-printing characters therein are
169converted to escape sequences. In particular, if any text string contains a
170newline character, this is shown as &"\n"& in the testing output.
172When testing a filter in this way, Exim makes up an &"envelope"& for the
173message. The recipient is by default the user running the command, and so is
174the sender, but the command can be run with the &%-f%& option to supply a
175different sender. For example,
177/usr/sbin/sendmail -bf myfilter \
178 -f islington@never.where <test-message
180Alternatively, if the &%-f%& option is not used, but the first line of the
181supplied message is a &"From&~"& separator from a message folder file (not the
182same thing as a &'From:'& header line), the sender is taken from there. If
183&%-f%& is present, the contents of any &"From&~"& line are ignored.
185The &"return path"& is the same as the envelope sender, unless the message
186contains a &'Return-path:'& header, in which case it is taken from there. You
187need not worry about any of this unless you want to test out features of a
188filter file that rely on the sender address or the return path.
190It is possible to change the envelope recipient by specifying further options.
191The &%-bfd%& option changes the domain of the recipient address, while the
192&%-bfl%& option changes the &"local part"&, that is, the part before the @
193sign. An adviser could make use of these to test someone else's filter file.
195The &%-bfp%& and &%-bfs%& options specify the prefix or suffix for the local
196part. These are relevant only when support for multiple personal mailboxes is
197implemented; see the description in section &<<SECTmbox>>& below.
200.section "Installing a filter file"
201A filter file is normally installed under the name &_.forward_& in your home
202directory &-- it is distinguished from a conventional &_.forward_& file by its
203first line (described below). However, the file name is configurable, and some
204system administrators may choose to use some different name or location for
205filter files.
208.section "Testing an installed filter file"
209Testing a filter file before installation cannot find every potential problem;
210for example, it does not actually run commands to which messages are piped.
211Some &"live"& tests should therefore also be done once a filter is installed.
213If at all possible, test your filter file by sending messages from some other
214account. If you send a message to yourself from the filtered account, and
215delivery fails, the error message will be sent back to the same account, which
216may cause another delivery failure. It won't cause an infinite sequence of such
217messages, because delivery failure messages do not themselves generate further
218messages. However, it does mean that the failure won't be returned to you, and
219also that the postmaster will have to investigate the stuck message.
221If you have to test an Exim filter from the same account, a sensible precaution
222is to include the line
224if error_message then finish endif
226as the first filter command, at least while testing. This causes filtering to
227be abandoned for a delivery failure message, and since no destinations are
228generated, the message goes on to be delivered to the original address. Unless
229there is a good reason for not doing so, it is recommended that the above test
230be left in all Exim filter files. (This does not apply to Sieve files.)
234.section "Details of filtering commands"
235The filtering commands for Sieve and Exim filters are completely different in
236syntax and semantics. The Sieve mechanism is defined in RFC 3028; in the next
237chapter we describe how it is integrated into Exim. The subsequent chapter
238covers Exim filtering commands in detail.
242.chapter "Sieve filter files" "CHAPsievefilter"
243The code for Sieve filtering in Exim was contributed by Michael Haardt, and
244most of the content of this chapter is taken from the notes he provided. Since
245Sieve is an extensible language, it is important to understand &"Sieve"& in
246this context as &"the specific implementation of Sieve for Exim"&.
248This chapter does not contain a description of Sieve, since that can be found
249in RFC 3028, which should be read in conjunction with these notes.
251The Exim Sieve implementation offers the core as defined by RFC 3028,
252comparison tests, the &*copy*&, &*envelope*&, &*fileinto*&, and &*vacation*&
253extensions, but not the &*reject*& extension. Exim does not support message
254delivery notifications (MDNs), so adding it just to the Sieve filter (as
255required for &*reject*&) makes little sense.
257In order for Sieve to work properly in Exim, the system administrator needs to
258make some adjustments to the Exim configuration. These are described in the
259chapter on the &(redirect)& router in the full Exim specification.
262.section "Recognition of Sieve filters"
263A filter file is interpreted as a Sieve filter if its first line is
265# Sieve filter
267This is what distinguishes it from a conventional &_.forward_& file or an Exim
268filter file.
272.section "Saving to specified folders"
273If the system administrator has set things up as suggested in the Exim
274specification, and you use &(keep)& or &(fileinto)& to save a mail into a
275folder, absolute files are stored where specified, relative files are stored
276relative to &$home$&, and &_inbox_& goes to the standard mailbox location.
280.section "Strings containing header names"
281RFC 3028 does not specify what happens if a string denoting a header field does
282not contain a valid header name, for example, it contains a colon. This
283implementation generates an error instead of ignoring the header field in order
284to ease script debugging, which fits in with the common picture of Sieve.
288.section "Exists test with empty list of headers"
289The &*exists*& test succeeds only if all the specified headers exist. RFC 3028
290does not explicitly specify what happens on an empty list of headers. This
291implementation evaluates that condition as true, interpreting the RFC in a
292strict sense.
296.section "Header test with invalid MIME encoding in header"
297Some MUAs process invalid base64 encoded data, generating junk. Others ignore
298junk after seeing an equal sign in base64 encoded data. RFC 2047 does not
299specify how to react in this case, other than stating that a client must not
300forbid to process a message for that reason. RFC 2045 specifies that invalid
301data should be ignored (apparently looking at end of line characters). It also
302specifies that invalid data may lead to rejecting messages containing them (and
303there it appears to talk about true encoding violations), which is a clear
304contradiction to ignoring them.
306RFC 3028 does not specify how to process incorrect MIME words. This
307implementation treats them literally, as it does if the word is correct but its
308character set cannot be converted to UTF-8.
312.section "Address test for multiple addresses per header"
313A header may contain multiple addresses. RFC 3028 does not explicitly specify
314how to deal with them, but since the address test checks if anything matches
315anything else, matching one address suffices to satisfy the condition. That
316makes it impossible to test if a header contains a certain set of addresses and
317no more, but it is more logical than letting the test fail if the header
318contains an additional address besides the one the test checks for.
322.section "Semantics of keep"
323The &(keep)& command is equivalent to
325fileinto "inbox";
327It saves the message and resets the implicit keep flag. It does not set the
328implicit keep flag; there is no command to set it once it has been reset.
332.section "Semantics of fileinto"
333RFC 3028 does not specify whether &(fileinto)& should try to create a mail
334folder if it does not exist. This implementation allows the sysadmin to
335configure that aspect using the &(appendfile)& transport options
336&%create_directory%&, &%create_file%&, and &%file_must_exist%&. See the
337&(appendfile)& transport in the Exim specification for details.
341.section "Semantics of redirect"
342Sieve scripts are supposed to be interoperable between servers, so this
343implementation does not allow mail to be redirected to unqualified addresses,
344because the domain would depend on the system being used. On systems with
345virtual mail domains, the default domain is probably not what the user expects
346it to be.
350.section "String arguments"
351There has been confusion if the string arguments to &(require)& are to be
352matched case-sensitively or not. This implementation matches them with the
353match type &(:is)& (default, see section 2.7.1 of the RFC) and the comparator
354&(i;ascii-casemap)& (default, see section 2.7.3 of the RFC). The RFC defines
355the command defaults clearly, so any different implementations violate RFC
3563028. The same is valid for comparator names, also specified as strings.
360.section "Number units"
361There is a mistake in RFC 3028: the suffix G denotes gibi-, not tebibyte.
362The mistake is obvious, because RFC 3028 specifies G to denote 2^30
363(which is gibi, not tebi), and that is what this implementation uses as
364the scaling factor for the suffix G.
368.section "RFC compliance"
369Exim requires the first line of a Sieve filter to be
371# Sieve filter
373Of course the RFC does not specify that line. Do not expect examples to work
374without adding it, though.
376RFC 3028 requires the use of CRLF to terminate a line. The rationale was that
377CRLF is universally used in network protocols to mark the end of the line. This
378implementation does not embed Sieve in a network protocol, but uses Sieve
379scripts as part of the Exim MTA. Since all parts of Exim use LF as the newline
380character, this implementation does, too, by default, though the system
381administrator may choose (at Exim compile time) to use CRLF instead.
383Exim violates RFC 2822, section 3.6.8, by accepting 8-bit header names, so this
384implementation repeats this violation to stay consistent with Exim. This is in
385preparation for UTF-8 data.
387Sieve scripts cannot contain NUL characters in strings, but mail headers could
388contain MIME encoded NUL characters, which could never be matched by Sieve
389scripts using exact comparisons. For that reason, this implementation extends
390the Sieve quoted string syntax with \0 to describe a NUL character, violating
391\0 being the same as 0 in RFC 3028. Even without using \0, the following tests
392are all true in this implementation. Implementations that use C-style strings
393will only evaluate the first test as true.
395Subject: =?iso-8859-1?q?abc=00def
397header :contains "Subject" ["abc"]
398header :contains "Subject" ["def"]
399header :matches "Subject" ["abc?def"]
401Note that by considering Sieve to be an MUA, RFC 2047 can be interpreted in a
402way that NUL characters truncating strings is allowed for Sieve
403implementations, although not recommended. It is further allowed to use encoded
404NUL characters in headers, but that's not recommended either. The above example
405shows why.
407RFC 3028 states that if an implementation fails to convert a character set to
408UTF-8, two strings cannot be equal if one contains octets greater than 127.
409Assuming that all unknown character sets are one-byte character sets with the
410lower 128 octets being US-ASCII is not sound, so this implementation violates
411RFC 3028 and treats such MIME words literally. That way at least something
412could be matched.
414The folder specified by &(fileinto)& must not contain the character sequence
415&".."& to avoid security problems. RFC 3028 does not specify the syntax of
416folders apart from &(keep)& being equivalent to
418fileinto "INBOX";
420This implementation uses &_inbox_& instead.
422Sieve script errors currently cause messages to be silently filed into
423&_inbox_&. RFC 3028 requires that the user is notified of that condition.
424This may be implemented in the future by adding a header line to mails that
425are filed into &_inbox_& due to an error in the filter.
429.chapter "Exim filter files" "CHAPeximfilter"
430This chapter contains a full description of the contents of Exim filter files.
433.section "Format of Exim filter files"
434Apart from leading white space, the first text in an Exim filter file must be
436# Exim filter
438This is what distinguishes it from a conventional &_.forward_& file or a Sieve
439filter file. If the file does not have this initial line (or the equivalent for
440a Sieve filter), it is treated as a conventional &_.forward_& file, both when
441delivering mail and when using the &%-bf%& testing mechanism. The white space
442in the line is optional, and any capitalization may be used. Further text on
443the same line is treated as a comment. For example, you could have
445# Exim filter <<== do not edit or remove this line!
447The remainder of the file is a sequence of filtering commands, which consist of
448keywords and data values. For example, in the command
450deliver gulliver@lilliput.fict.example
452the keyword is &`deliver`& and the data value is
453&`gulliver@lilliput.fict.example`&. White space or line breaks separate the
454components of a command, except in the case of conditions for the &(if)&
455command, where round brackets (parentheses) also act as separators. Complete
456commands are separated from each other by white space or line breaks; there are
457no special terminators. Thus, several commands may appear on one line, or one
458command may be spread over a number of lines.
460If the character # follows a separator anywhere in a command, everything from
461# up to the next newline is ignored. This provides a way of including comments
462in a filter file.
465.section "Data values in filter commands"
466There are two ways in which a data value can be input:
469If the text contains no white space, it can be typed verbatim. However, if it
470is part of a condition, it must also be free of round brackets (parentheses),
471as these are used for grouping in conditions.
473Otherwise, text must be enclosed in double quotation marks. In this case, the
474character \ (backslash) is treated as an &"escape character"& within the
475string, causing the following character or characters to be treated specially:
477&`\n`& is replaced by a newline
478&`\r`& is replaced by a carriage return
479&`\t`& is replaced by a tab
483Backslash followed by up to three octal digits is replaced by the character
484specified by those digits, and &`\x`& followed by up to two hexadecimal digits
485is treated similarly. Backslash followed by any other character is replaced by
486the second character, so that in particular, &`\"`& becomes &`"`& and &`\\`&
487becomes &`\`&. A data item enclosed in double quotes can be continued onto the
488next line by ending the first line with a backslash. Any leading white space at
489the start of the continuation line is ignored.
491In addition to the escape character processing that occurs when strings are
492enclosed in quotes, most data values are also subject to &'string expansion'&
493(as described in the next section), in which case the characters &`$`& and
494&`\`& are also significant. This means that if a single backslash is actually
495required in such a string, and the string is also quoted, &`\\\\`& has to be
498The maximum permitted length of a data string, before expansion, is 1024
502.section "String expansion" "SECTfilterstringexpansion"
503Most data values are expanded before use. Expansion consists of replacing
504substrings beginning with &`$`& with other text. The full expansion facilities
505available in Exim are extensive. If you want to know everything that Exim can
506do with strings, you should consult the chapter on string expansion in the Exim
509In filter files, by far the most common use of string expansion is the
510substitution of the contents of a variable. For example, the substring
514is replaced by the address to which replies to the message should be sent. If
515such a variable name is followed by a letter or digit or underscore, it must be
516enclosed in curly brackets (braces), for example,
520If a &`$`& character is actually required in an expanded string, it must be
521escaped with a backslash, and because backslash is also an escape character in
522quoted input strings, it must be doubled in that case. The following two
523examples illustrate two different ways of testing for a &`$`& character in a
526if $message_body contains \$ then ...
527if $message_body contains "\\$" then ...
529You can prevent part of a string from being expanded by enclosing it between
530two occurrences of &`\N`&. For example,
532if $message_body contains \N$$$$\N then ...
534tests for a run of four dollar characters.
537.section "Some useful general variables"
538A complete list of the available variables is given in the Exim documentation.
539This shortened list contains the ones that are most likely to be useful in
540personal filter files:
542&$body_linecount$&: The number of lines in the body of the message.
544&$body_zerocount$&: The number of binary zero characters in the body of the
547&$home$&: In conventional configurations, this variable normally contains the
548user's home directory. The system administrator can, however, change this.
550&$local_part$&: The part of the email address that precedes the @ sign &--
551normally the user's login name. If support for multiple personal mailboxes is
552enabled (see section &<<SECTmbox>>& below) and a prefix or suffix for the local
553part was recognized, it is removed from the string in this variable.
555&$local_part_prefix$&: If support for multiple personal mailboxes is enabled
556(see section &<<SECTmbox>>& below), and a local part prefix was recognized,
557this variable contains the prefix. Otherwise it contains an empty string.
559&$local_part_suffix$&: If support for multiple personal mailboxes is enabled
560(see section &<<SECTmbox>>& below), and a local part suffix was recognized,
561this variable contains the suffix. Otherwise it contains an empty string.
563&$message_body$&: The initial portion of the body of the message. By default,
564up to 500 characters are read into this variable, but the system administrator
565can configure this to some other value. Newlines in the body are converted into
566single spaces.
568&$message_body_end$&: The final portion of the body of the message, formatted
569and limited in the same way as &$message_body$&.
571&$message_body_size$&: The size of the body of the message, in bytes.
573&$message_exim_id$&: The message's local identification string, which is unique
574for each message handled by a single host.
576&$message_headers$&: The header lines of the message, concatenated into a
577single string, with newline characters between them.
579&$message_size$&: The size of the entire message, in bytes.
581&$original_local_part$&: When an address that arrived with the message is
582being processed, this contains the same value as the variable &$local_part$&.
583However, if an address generated by an alias, forward, or filter file is being
584processed, this variable contains the local part of the original address.
586&$reply_address$&: The contents of the &'Reply-to:'& header, if the message
587has one; otherwise the contents of the &'From:'& header. It is the address to
588which normal replies to the message should be sent.
590&$return_path$&: The return path &-- that is, the sender field that will be
591transmitted as part of the message's envelope if the message is sent to another
592host. This is the address to which delivery errors are sent. In many cases,
593this variable has the same value as &$sender_address$&, but if, for example,
594an incoming message to a mailing list has been expanded, &$return_path$& may
595have been changed to contain the address of the list maintainer.
597&$sender_address$&: The sender address that was received in the envelope of
598the message. This is not necessarily the same as the contents of the &'From:'&
599or &'Sender:'& header lines. For delivery error messages (&"bounce messages"&)
600there is no sender address, and this variable is empty.
602&$tod_full$&: A full version of the time and date, for example: Wed, 18 Oct
6031995 09:51:40 +0100. The timezone is always given as a numerical offset from
606&$tod_log$&: The time and date in the format used for writing Exim's log files,
607without the timezone, for example: 1995-10-12 15:32:29.
609&$tod_zone$&: The local timezone offset, for example: +0100.
613.section "Header variables" "SECTheadervariables"
614There is a special set of expansion variables containing the header lines of
615the message being processed. These variables have names beginning with
616&$header_$& followed by the name of the header line, terminated by a colon.
617For example,
622The whole item, including the terminating colon, is replaced by the contents of
623the message header line. If there is more than one header line with the same
624name, their contents are concatenated. For header lines whose data consists of
625a list of addresses (for example, &'From:'& and &'To:'&), a comma and newline
626is inserted between each set of data. For all other header lines, just a
627newline is used.
629Leading and trailing white space is removed from header line data, and if there
630are any MIME &"words"& that are encoded as defined by RFC 2047 (because they
631contain non-ASCII characters), they are decoded and translated, if possible, to
632a local character set. Translation is attempted only on operating systems that
633have the &[iconv()]& function. This makes the header line look the same as it
634would when displayed by an MUA. The default character set is ISO-8859-1, but
635this can be changed by means of the &(headers)& command (see below).
637If you want to see the actual characters that make up a header line, you can
638specify &$rheader_$& instead of &$header_$&. This inserts the &"raw"&
639header line, unmodified.
641There is also an intermediate form, requested by &$bheader_$&, which removes
642leading and trailing space and decodes MIME &"words"&, but does not do any
643character translation. If an attempt to decode what looks superficially like a
644MIME &"word"& fails, the raw string is returned. If decoding produces a binary
645zero character, it is replaced by a question mark.
647The capitalization of the name following &$header_$& is not significant.
648Because any printing character except colon may appear in the name of a
649message's header (this is a requirement of RFC 2822, the document that
650describes the format of a mail message) curly brackets must &'not'& be used in
651this case, as they will be taken as part of the header name. Two shortcuts are
652allowed in naming header variables:
655The initiating &$header_$&, &$rheader_$&, or &$bheader_$& can be
656abbreviated to &$h_$&, &$rh_$&, or &$bh_$&, respectively.
658The terminating colon can be omitted if the next character is white space. The
659white space character is retained in the expanded string. However, this is not
660recommended, because it makes it easy to forget the colon when it really is
664If the message does not contain a header of the given name, an empty string is
665substituted. Thus it is important to spell the names of headers correctly. Do
666not use &$header_Reply_to$& when you really mean &$header_Reply-to$&.
669.section "User variables"
670There are ten user variables with names &$n0$& &-- &$n9$& that can be
671incremented by the &(add)& command (see section &<<SECTadd>>&). These can be
672used for &"scoring"& messages in various ways. If Exim is configured to run a
673&"system filter"& on every message, the values left in these variables are
674copied into the variables &$sn0$& &-- &$sn9$& at the end of the system filter,
675thus making them available to users' filter files. How these values are used is
676entirely up to the individual installation.
679.section "Current directory"
680The contents of your filter file should not make any assumptions about the
681current directory. It is best to use absolute paths for file names; you can
682normally make use of the &$home$& variable to refer to your home directory. The
683&(save)& command automatically inserts &$home$& at the start of non-absolute
689.section "Significant deliveries" "SECTsigdel"
690When in the course of delivery a message is processed by a filter file, what
691happens next, that is, after the filter file has been processed, depends on
692whether or not the filter sets up any &'significant deliveries'&. If at least
693one significant delivery is set up, the filter is considered to have handled
694the entire delivery arrangements for the current address, and no further
695processing of the address takes place. If, however, no significant deliveries
696are set up, Exim continues processing the current address as if there were no
697filter file, and typically sets up a delivery of a copy of the message into a
698local mailbox. In particular, this happens in the special case of a filter file
699containing only comments.
701The delivery commands &(deliver)&, &(save)&, and &(pipe)& are by default
702significant. However, if such a command is preceded by the word &"unseen"&, its
703delivery is not considered to be significant. In contrast, other commands such
704as &(mail)& and &(vacation)& do not set up significant deliveries unless
705preceded by the word &"seen"&. The following example commands set up
706significant deliveries:
708deliver jack@beanstalk.example
709pipe $home/bin/mymailscript
710seen mail subject "message discarded"
711seen finish
713The following example commands do not set up significant deliveries:
715unseen deliver jack@beanstalk.example
716unseen pipe $home/bin/mymailscript
717mail subject "message discarded"
723.section "Filter commands"
724The filter commands that are described in subsequent sections are listed
725below, with the section in which they are described in brackets:
728.row &(add)& "&~&~increment a user variable (section &<<SECTadd>>&)"
729.row &(deliver)& "&~&~deliver to an email address (section &<<SECTdeliver>>&)"
730.row &(fail)& "&~&~force delivery failure (sysadmin use) (section &<<SECTfail>>&)"
731.row &(finish)& "&~&~end processing (section &<<SECTfinish>>&)"
732.row &(freeze)& "&~&~freeze message (sysadmin use) (section &<<SECTfreeze>>&)"
733.row &(headers)& "&~&~set the header character set (section &<<SECTheaders>>&)"
734.row &(if)& "&~&~test condition(s) (section &<<SECTif>>&)"
735.row &(logfile)& "&~&~define log file (section &<<SECTlog>>&)"
736.row &(logwrite)& "&~&~write to log file (section &<<SECTlog>>&)"
737.row &(mail)& "&~&~send a reply message (section &<<SECTmail>>&)"
738.row &(pipe)& "&~&~pipe to a command (section &<<SECTpipe>>&)"
739.row &(save)& "&~&~save to a file (section &<<SECTsave>>&)"
740.row &(testprint)& "&~&~print while testing (section &<<SECTtestprint>>&)"
741.row &(vacation)& "&~&~tailored form of &(mail)& (section &<<SECTmail>>&)"
744The &(headers)& command has additional parameters that can be used only in a
745system filter. The &(fail)& and &(freeze)& commands are available only when
746Exim's filtering facilities are being used as a system filter, and are
747therefore usable only by the system administrator and not by ordinary users.
748They are mentioned only briefly in this document; for more information, see the
749main Exim specification.
753.section "The add command" "SECTadd"
755&` add `&<&'number'&>&` to `&<&'user variable'&>
756&`e.g. add 2 to n3`&
759There are 10 user variables of this type, with names &$n0$& &-- &$n9$&. Their
760values can be obtained by the normal expansion syntax (for example &$n3$&) in
761other commands. At the start of filtering, these variables all contain zero.
762Both arguments of the &(add)& command are expanded before use, making it
763possible to add variables to each other. Subtraction can be obtained by adding
764negative numbers.
768.section "The deliver command" "SECTdeliver"
770&` deliver`& <&'mail address'&>
771&`e.g. deliver "Dr Livingstone <>"`&
774This command provides a forwarding operation. The delivery that it sets up is
775significant unless the command is preceded by &"unseen"& (see section
776&<<SECTsigdel>>&). The message is sent on to the given address, exactly as
777happens if the address had appeared in a traditional &_.forward_& file. If you
778want to deliver the message to a number of different addresses, you can use
779more than one &(deliver)& command (each one may have only one address).
780However, duplicate addresses are discarded.
782To deliver a copy of the message to your normal mailbox, your login name can be
783given as the address. Once an address has been processed by the filtering
784mechanism, an identical generated address will not be so processed again, so
785doing this does not cause a loop.
787However, if you have a mail alias, you should &'not'& refer to it here. For
788example, if the mail address &'L.Gulliver'& is aliased to &'lg303'& then all
789references in Gulliver's &_.forward_& file should be to &'lg303'&. A reference
790to the alias will not work for messages that are addressed to that alias,
791since, like &_.forward_& file processing, aliasing is performed only once on an
792address, in order to avoid looping.
794Following the new address, an optional second address, preceded by
795&"errors_to"& may appear. This changes the address to which delivery errors on
796the forwarded message will be sent. Instead of going to the message's original
797sender, they go to this new address. For ordinary users, the only value that is
798permitted for this address is the user whose filter file is being processed.
799For example, the user &'lg303'& whose mailbox is in the domain
800&'lilliput.example'& could have a filter file that contains
802deliver jon@elsewhere.example errors_to lg303@lilliput.example
804Clearly, using this feature makes sense only in situations where not all
805messages are being forwarded. In particular, bounce messages must not be
806forwarded in this way, as this is likely to create a mail loop if something
807goes wrong.
811.section "The save command" "SECTsave"
813&` save `&<&'file name'&>
814&`e.g. save $home/mail/bookfolder`&
817This command specifies that a copy of the message is to be appended to the
818given file (that is, the file is to be used as a mail folder). The delivery
819that &(save)& sets up is significant unless the command is preceded by
820&"unseen"& (see section &<<SECTsigdel>>&).
822More than one &(save)& command may be obeyed; each one causes a copy of the
823message to be written to its argument file, provided they are different
824(duplicate &(save)& commands are ignored).
826If the file name does not start with a / character, the contents of the
827&$home$& variable are prepended, unless it is empty. In conventional
828configurations, this variable is normally set in a user filter to the user's
829home directory, but the system administrator may set it to some other path. In
830some configurations, &$home$& may be unset, in which case a non-absolute path
831name may be generated. Such configurations convert this to an absolute path
832when the delivery takes place. In a system filter, &$home$& is never set.
834The user must of course have permission to write to the file, and the writing
835of the file takes place in a process that is running as the user, under the
836user's primary group. Any secondary groups to which the user may belong are not
837normally taken into account, though the system administrator can configure Exim
838to set them up. In addition, the ability to use this command at all is
839controlled by the system administrator &-- it may be forbidden on some systems.
841An optional mode value may be given after the file name. The value for the mode
842is interpreted as an octal number, even if it does not begin with a zero. For
845save /some/folder 640
847This makes it possible for users to override the system-wide mode setting for
848file deliveries, which is normally 600. If an existing file does not have the
849correct mode, it is changed.
851An alternative form of delivery may be enabled on your system, in which each
852message is delivered into a new file in a given directory. If this is the case,
853this functionality can be requested by giving the directory name terminated by
854a slash after the &(save)& command, for example
856save separated/messages/
858There are several different formats for such deliveries; check with your system
859administrator or local documentation to find out which (if any) are available
860on your system. If this functionality is not enabled, the use of a path name
861ending in a slash causes an error.
865.section "The pipe command" "SECTpipe"
867&` pipe `&<&'command'&>
868&`e.g. pipe "$home/bin/countmail $sender_address"`&
871This command specifies that the message is to be delivered to the specified
872command using a pipe. The delivery that it sets up is significant unless the
873command is preceded by &"unseen"& (see section &<<SECTsigdel>>&). Remember,
874however, that no deliveries are done while the filter is being processed. All
875deliveries happen later on. Therefore, the result of running the pipe is not
876available to the filter.
878When the deliveries are done, a separate process is run, and a copy of the
879message is passed on its standard input. The process runs as the user, under
880the user's primary group. Any secondary groups to which the user may belong are
881not normally taken into account, though the system administrator can configure
882Exim to set them up. More than one &(pipe)& command may appear; each one causes
883a copy of the message to be written to its argument pipe, provided they are
884different (duplicate &(pipe)& commands are ignored).
886When the time comes to transport the message, the command supplied to &(pipe)&
887is split up by Exim into a command name and a number of arguments. These are
888delimited by white space except for arguments enclosed in double quotes, in
889which case backslash is interpreted as an escape, or in single quotes, in which
890case no escaping is recognized. Note that as the whole command is normally
891supplied in double quotes, a second level of quoting is required for internal
892double quotes. For example:
894pipe "$home/myscript \"size is $message_size\""
896String expansion is performed on the separate components after the line has
897been split up, and the command is then run directly by Exim; it is not run
898under a shell. Therefore, substitution cannot change the number of arguments,
899nor can quotes, backslashes or other shell metacharacters in variables cause
902Documentation for some programs that are normally run via this kind of pipe
903often suggest that the command should start with
905IFS=" "
907This is a shell command, and should &'not'& be present in Exim filter files,
908since it does not normally run the command under a shell.
910However, there is an option that the administrator can set to cause a shell to
911be used. In this case, the entire command is expanded as a single string and
912passed to the shell for interpretation. It is recommended that this be avoided
913if at all possible, since it can lead to problems when inserted variables
914contain shell metacharacters.
916The default PATH set up for the command is determined by the system
917administrator, usually containing at least &_/bin_& and &_/usr/bin_& so that
918common commands are available without having to specify an absolute file name.
919However, it is possible for the system administrator to restrict the pipe
920facility so that the command name must not contain any / characters, and must
921be found in one of the directories in the configured PATH. It is also possible
922for the system administrator to lock out the use of the &(pipe)& command
925When the command is run, a number of environment variables are set up. The
926complete list for pipe deliveries may be found in the Exim reference manual.
927Those that may be useful for pipe deliveries from user filter files are:
930&`DOMAIN `& the domain of the address
931&`HOME `& your home directory
932&`LOCAL_PART `& see below
933&`LOCAL_PART_PREFIX `& see below
934&`LOCAL_PART_SUFFIX `& see below
935&`LOGNAME `& your login name
936&`MESSAGE_ID `& the unique id of the message
937&`PATH `& the command search path
938&`RECIPIENT `& the complete recipient address
939&`SENDER `& the sender of the message
940&`SHELL `& &`/bin/sh`&
941&`USER `& see below
944LOCAL_PART, LOGNAME, and USER are all set to the same value, namely, your login
945id. LOCAL_PART_PREFIX and LOCAL_PART_SUFFIX may be set if Exim is configured to
946recognize prefixes or suffixes in the local parts of addresses. For example, a
947message addressed to &'pat-suf2@domain.example'& may cause the filter for user
948&'pat'& to be run. If this sets up a pipe delivery, LOCAL_PART_SUFFIX is
949&`-suf2`& when the pipe command runs. The system administrator has to configure
950Exim specially for this feature to be available.
952If you run a command that is a shell script, be very careful in your use of
953data from the incoming message in the commands in your script. RFC 2822 is very
954generous in the characters that are permitted to appear in mail addresses, and
955in particular, an address may begin with a vertical bar or a slash. For this
956reason you should always use quotes round any arguments that involve data from
957the message, like this:
959/some/command '$SENDER'
961so that inserted shell meta-characters do not cause unwanted effects.
963Remember that, as was explained earlier, the pipe command is not run at the
964time the filter file is interpreted. The filter just defines what deliveries
965are required for one particular addressee of a message. The deliveries
966themselves happen later, once Exim has decided everything that needs to be done
967for the message.
969A consequence of this is that you cannot inspect the return code from the pipe
970command from within the filter. Nevertheless, the code returned by the command
971is important, because Exim uses it to decide whether the delivery has succeeded
972or failed.
974The command should return a zero completion code if all has gone well. Most
975non-zero codes are treated by Exim as indicating a failure of the pipe. This is
976treated as a delivery failure, causing the message to be returned to its
977sender. However, there are some completion codes that are treated as temporary
978errors. The message remains on Exim's spool disk, and the delivery is tried
979again later, though it will ultimately time out if the delivery failures go on
980too long. The completion codes to which this applies can be specified by the
981system administrator; the default values are 73 and 75.
983The pipe command should not normally write anything to its standard output or
984standard error file descriptors. If it does, whatever is written is normally
985returned to the sender of the message as a delivery error, though this action
986can be varied by the system administrator.
990.section "Mail commands" "SECTmail"
991There are two commands that cause the creation of a new mail message, neither
992of which count as a significant delivery unless the command is preceded by the
993word &"seen"& (see section &<<SECTsigdel>>&). This is a powerful facility, but
994it should be used with care, because of the danger of creating infinite
995sequences of messages. The system administrator can forbid the use of these
996commands altogether.
998To help prevent runaway message sequences, these commands have no effect when
999the incoming message is a bounce (delivery error) message, and messages sent by
1000this means are treated as if they were reporting delivery errors. Thus, they
1001should never themselves cause a bounce message to be returned. The basic
1002mail-sending command is
1004&`mail [to `&<&'address-list'&>&`]`&
1005&` [cc `&<&'address-list'&>&`]`&
1006&` [bcc `&<&'address-list'&>&`]`&
1007&` [from `&<&'address'&>&`]`&
1008&` [reply_to `&<&'address'&>&`]`&
1009&` [subject `&<&'text'&>&`]`&
1010&` [extra_headers `&<&'text'&>&`]`&
1011&` [text `&<&'text'&>&`]`&
1012&` [[expand] file `&<&'filename'&>&`]`&
1013&` [return message]`&
1014&` [log `&<&'log file name'&>&`]`&
1015&` [once `&<&'note file name'&>&`]`&
1016&` [once_repeat `&<&'time interval'&>&`]`&
1018&`e.g. mail text "Your message about $h_subject: has been received"`&
1020Each <&'address-list'&> can contain a number of addresses, separated by commas,
1021in the format of a &'To:'& or &'Cc:'& header line. In fact, the text you supply
1022here is copied exactly into the appropriate header line. It may contain
1023additional information as well as email addresses. For example:
1025mail to "Julius Caesar <jc@rome.example>, \
1026 <ma@rome.example> (Mark A.)"
1028Similarly, the texts supplied for &%from%& and &%reply_to%& are copied into
1029their respective header lines.
1031As a convenience for use in one common case, there is also a command called
1032&(vacation)&. It behaves in the same way as &(mail)&, except that the defaults
1033for the &%subject%&, &%file%&, &%log%&, &%once%&, and &%once_repeat%& options
1036subject "On vacation"
1037expand file .vacation.msg
1038log .vacation.log
1039once .vacation
1040once_repeat 7d
1042respectively. These are the same file names and repeat period used by the
1043traditional Unix &(vacation)& command. The defaults can be overridden by
1044explicit settings, but if a file name is given its contents are expanded only
1045if explicitly requested.
1047&*Warning*&: The &(vacation)& command should always be used conditionally,
1048subject to at least the &(personal)& condition (see section &<<SECTpersonal>>&
1049below) so as not to send automatic replies to non-personal messages from
1050mailing lists or elsewhere. Sending an automatic response to a mailing list or
1051a mailing list manager is an Internet Sin.
1053For both commands, the key/value argument pairs can appear in any order. At
1054least one of &%text%& or &%file%& must appear (except with &(vacation)&, where
1055there is a default for &%file%&); if both are present, the text string appears
1056first in the message. If &%expand%& precedes &%file%&, each line of the file is
1057subject to string expansion before it is included in the message.
1059Several lines of text can be supplied to &%text%& by including the escape
1060sequence &"\n"& in the string wherever a newline is required. If the command is
1061output during filter file testing, newlines in the text are shown as &"\n"&.
1063Note that the keyword for creating a &'Reply-To:'& header is &%reply_to%&,
1064because Exim keywords may contain underscores, but not hyphens. If the &%from%&
1065keyword is present and the given address does not match the user who owns the
1066forward file, Exim normally adds a &'Sender:'& header to the message, though it
1067can be configured not to do this.
1069The &%extra_headers%& keyword allows you to add custom header lines to the
1070message. The text supplied must be one or more syntactically valid RFC 2822
1071header lines. You can use &"\n"& within quoted text to specify newlines between
1072headers, and also to define continued header lines. For example:
1074extra_headers "h1: first\nh2: second\n continued\nh3: third"
1076No newline should appear at the end of the final header line.
1078If no &%to%& argument appears, the message is sent to the address in the
1079&$reply_address$& variable (see section &<<SECTfilterstringexpansion>>& above).
1080An &'In-Reply-To:'& header is automatically included in the created message,
1081giving a reference to the message identification of the incoming message.
1083If &%return message%& is specified, the incoming message that caused the filter
1084file to be run is added to the end of the message, subject to a maximum size
1087If a log file is specified, a line is added to it for each message sent.
1089If a &%once%& file is specified, it is used to hold a database for remembering
1090who has received a message, and no more than one message is ever sent to any
1091particular address, unless &%once_repeat%& is set. This specifies a time
1092interval after which another copy of the message is sent. The interval is
1093specified as a sequence of numbers, each followed by the initial letter of one
1094of &"seconds"&, &"minutes"&, &"hours"&, &"days"&, or &"weeks"&. For example,
1096once_repeat 5d4h
1098causes a new message to be sent if at least 5 days and 4 hours have elapsed
1099since the last one was sent. There must be no white space in a time interval.
1101Commonly, the file name specified for &%once%& is used as the base name for
1102direct-access (DBM) file operations. There are a number of different DBM
1103libraries in existence. Some operating systems provide one as a default, but
1104even in this case a different one may have been used when building Exim. With
1105some DBM libraries, specifying &%once%& results in two files being created,
1106with the suffixes &_.dir_& and &_.pag_& being added to the given name. With
1107some others a single file with the suffix &_.db_& is used, or the name is used
1110Using a DBM file for implementing the &%once%& feature means that the file
1111grows as large as necessary. This is not usually a problem, but some system
1112administrators want to put a limit on it. The facility can be configured not to
1113use a DBM file, but instead, to use a regular file with a maximum size. The
1114data in such a file is searched sequentially, and if the file fills up, the
1115oldest entry is deleted to make way for a new one. This means that some
1116correspondents may receive a second copy of the message after an unpredictable
1117interval. Consult your local information to see if your system is configured
1118this way.
1120More than one &(mail)& or &(vacation)& command may be obeyed in a single filter
1121run; they are all honoured, even when they are to the same recipient.
1125.section "Logging commands" "SECTlog"
1126A log can be kept of actions taken by a filter file. This facility is normally
1127available in conventional configurations, but there are some situations where
1128it might not be. Also, the system administrator may choose to disable it. Check
1129your local information if in doubt.
1131Logging takes place while the filter file is being interpreted. It does not
1132queue up for later like the delivery commands. The reason for this is so that a
1133log file need be opened only once for several write operations. There are two
1134commands, neither of which constitutes a significant delivery. The first
1135defines a file to which logging output is subsequently written:
1137&` logfile `&<&'file name'&>
1138&`e.g. logfile $home/filter.log`&
1140The file name must be fully qualified. You can use &$home$&, as in this
1141example, to refer to your home directory. The file name may optionally be
1142followed by a mode for the file, which is used if the file has to be created.
1143For example,
1145logfile $home/filter.log 0644
1147The number is interpreted as octal, even if it does not begin with a zero.
1148The default for the mode is 600. It is suggested that the &(logfile)& command
1149normally appear as the first command in a filter file. Once a log file has
1150been obeyed, the &(logwrite)& command can be used to write to it:
1152&` logwrite "`&<&'some text string'&>&`"`&
1153&`e.g. logwrite "$tod_log $message_id processed"`&
1155It is possible to have more than one &(logfile)& command, to specify writing to
1156different log files in different circumstances. Writing takes place at the end
1157of the file, and a newline character is added to the end of each string if
1158there isn't one already there. Newlines can be put in the middle of the string
1159by using the &"\n"& escape sequence. Lines from simultaneous deliveries may get
1160interleaved in the file, as there is no interlocking, so you should plan your
1161logging with this in mind. However, data should not get lost.
1165.section "The finish command" "SECTfinish"
1166The command &(finish)&, which has no arguments, causes Exim to stop
1167interpreting the filter file. This is not a significant action unless preceded
1168by &"seen"&. A filter file containing only &"seen finish"& is a black hole.
1171.section "The testprint command" "SECTtestprint"
1172It is sometimes helpful to be able to print out the values of variables when
1173testing filter files. The command
1175&` testprint `&<&'text'&>
1176&`e.g. testprint "home=$home reply_address=$reply_address"`&
1178does nothing when mail is being delivered. However, when the filtering code is
1179being tested by means of the &%-bf%& option (see section &<<SECTtesting>>&
1180above), the value of the string is written to the standard output.
1183.section "The fail command" "SECTfail"
1184When Exim's filtering facilities are being used as a system filter, the
1185&(fail)& command is available, to force delivery failure. Because this command
1186is normally usable only by the system administrator, and not enabled for use by
1187ordinary users, it is described in more detail in the main Exim specification
1188rather than in this document.
1191.section "The freeze command" "SECTfreeze"
1192When Exim's filtering facilities are being used as a system filter, the
1193&(freeze)& command is available, to freeze a message on the queue. Because this
1194command is normally usable only by the system administrator, and not enabled
1195for use by ordinary users, it is described in more detail in the main Exim
1196specification rather than in this document.
1200.section "The headers command" "SECTheaders"
1201The &(headers)& command can be used to change the target character set that is
1202used when translating the contents of encoded header lines for insertion by the
1203&$header_$& mechanism (see section &<<SECTheadervariables>>& above). The
1204default can be set in the Exim configuration; if not specified, ISO-8859-1 is
1205used. The only currently supported format for the &(headers)& command in user
1206filters is as in this example:
1208headers charset "UTF-8"
1210That is, &(headers)& is followed by the word &"charset"& and then the name of a
1211character set. This particular example would be useful if you wanted to compare
1212the contents of a header to a UTF-8 string.
1214In system filter files, the &(headers)& command can be used to add or remove
1215header lines from the message. These features are described in the main Exim
1220.section "Obeying commands conditionally" "SECTif"
1221Most of the power of filtering comes from the ability to test conditions and
1222obey different commands depending on the outcome. The &(if)& command is used to
1223specify conditional execution, and its general form is
1225&`if `&<&'condition'&>
1226&`then `&<&'commands'&>
1227&`elif `&<&'condition'&>
1228&`then `&<&'commands'&>
1229&`else `&<&'commands'&>
1232There may be any number of &(elif)& and &(then)& sections (including none) and
1233the &(else)& section is also optional. Any number of commands, including nested
1234&(if)& commands, may appear in any of the <&'commands'&> sections.
1236Conditions can be combined by using the words &(and)& and &(or)&, and round
1237brackets (parentheses) can be used to specify how several conditions are to
1238combine. Without brackets, &(and)& is more binding than &(or)&. For example:
1241$h_subject: contains "Make money" or
1242$h_precedence: is "junk" or
1243($h_sender: matches ^\\d{8}@ and not personal) or
1244$message_body contains "this is not spam"
1246seen finish
1249A condition can be preceded by &(not)& to negate it, and there are also some
1250negative forms of condition that are more English-like.
1254.section "String testing conditions"
1255There are a number of conditions that operate on text strings, using the words
1256&"begins"&, &"ends"&, &"is"&, &"contains"& and &"matches"&. If you want to
1257apply the same test to more than one header line, you can easily concatenate
1258them into a single string for testing, as in this example:
1260if "$h_to:, $h_cc:" contains me@domain.example then ...
1262If a string-testing condition name is written in lower case, the testing
1263of letters is done without regard to case; if it is written in upper case
1264(for example, &"CONTAINS"&), the case of letters is taken into account.
1267&` `&<&'text1'&>&` begins `&<&'text2'&>
1268&` `&<&'text1'&>&` does not begin `&<&'text2'&>
1269&`e.g. $header_from: begins "Friend@"`&
1272A &"begins"& test checks for the presence of the second string at the start of
1273the first, both strings having been expanded.
1276&` `&<&'text1'&>&` ends `&<&'text2'&>
1277&` `&<&'text1'&>&` does not end `&<&'text2'&>
1278&`e.g. $header_from: ends ""`&
1281An &"ends"& test checks for the presence of the second string at the end of
1282the first, both strings having been expanded.
1285&` `&<&'text1'&>&` is `&<&'text2'&>
1286&` `&<&'text1'&>&` is not `&<&'text2'&>
1287&`e.g. $local_part_suffix is "-foo"`&
1290An &"is"& test does an exact match between the strings, having first expanded
1291both strings.
1294&` `&<&'text1'&>&` contains `&<&'text2'&>
1295&` `&<&'text1'&>&` does not contain `&<&'text2'&>
1296&`e.g. $header_subject: contains "evolution"`&
1299A &"contains"& test does a partial string match, having expanded both strings.
1302&` `&<&'text1'&>&` matches `&<&'text2'&>
1303&` `&<&'text1'&>&` does not match `&<&'text2'&>
1304&`e.g. $sender_address matches "(bill|john)@"`&
1307For a &"matches"& test, after expansion of both strings, the second one is
1308interpreted as a regular expression. Exim uses the PCRE regular expression
1309library, which provides regular expressions that are compatible with Perl.
1311The match succeeds if the regular expression matches any part of the first
1312string. If you want a regular expression to match only at the start or end of
1313the subject string, you must encode that requirement explicitly, using the
1314&`^`& or &`$`& metacharacters. The above example, which is not so constrained,
1315matches all these addresses:
1322To match only the first two, you could use this:
1324if $sender_address matches "^(bill|john)@" then ...
1326Care must be taken if you need a backslash in a regular expression, because
1327backslashes are interpreted as escape characters both by the string expansion
1328code and by Exim's normal processing of strings in quotes. For example, if you
1329want to test the sender address for a domain ending in &'.com'& the regular
1330expression is
1334The backslash and dollar sign in that expression have to be escaped when used
1335in a filter command, as otherwise they would be interpreted by the expansion
1336code. Thus, what you actually write is
1338if $sender_address matches \\.com\$
1340An alternative way of handling this is to make use of the &`\N`& expansion
1341flag for suppressing expansion:
1343if $sender_address matches \N\.com$\N
1345Everything between the two occurrences of &`\N`& is copied without change by
1346the string expander (and in fact you do not need the final one, because it is
1347at the end of the string). If the regular expression is given in quotes
1348(mandatory only if it contains white space) you have to write either
1350if $sender_address matches "\\\\.com\\$"
1354if $sender_address matches "\\N\\.com$\\N"
1357If the regular expression contains bracketed sub-expressions, numeric
1358variable substitutions such as &$1$& can be used in the subsequent actions
1359after a successful match. If the match fails, the values of the numeric
1360variables remain unchanged. Previous values are not restored after &(endif)&.
1361In other words, only one set of values is ever available. If the condition
1362contains several sub-conditions connected by &(and)& or &(or)&, it is the
1363strings extracted from the last successful match that are available in
1364subsequent actions. Numeric variables from any one sub-condition are also
1365available for use in subsequent sub-conditions, because string expansion of a
1366condition occurs just before it is tested.
1369.section "Numeric testing conditions"
1370The following conditions are available for performing numerical tests:
1373&` `&<&'number1'&>&` is above `&<&'number2'&>
1374&` `&<&'number1'&>&` is not above `&<&'number2'&>
1375&` `&<&'number1'&>&` is below `&<&'number2'&>
1376&` `&<&'number1'&>&` is not below `&<&'number2'&>
1377&`e.g. $message_size is not above 10k`&
1380The <&'number'&> arguments must expand to strings of digits, optionally
1381followed by one of the letters K or M (upper case or lower case) which cause
1382multiplication by 1024 and 1024x1024 respectively.
1385.section "Testing for significant deliveries"
1386You can use the &(delivered)& condition to test whether or not any previously
1387obeyed filter commands have set up a significant delivery. For example:
1389if not delivered then save mail/anomalous endif
1391&"Delivered"& is perhaps a poor choice of name for this condition, because the
1392message has not actually been delivered; rather, a delivery has been set up for
1393later processing.
1396.section "Testing for error messages"
1397The condition &(error_message)& is true if the incoming message is a bounce
1398(mail delivery error) message. Putting the command
1400if error_message then finish endif
1402at the head of your filter file is a useful insurance against things going
1403wrong in such a way that you cannot receive delivery error reports. &*Note*&:
1404&(error_message)& is a condition, not an expansion variable, and therefore is
1405not preceded by &`$`&.
1408.section "Testing a list of addresses"
1409There is a facility for looping through a list of addresses and applying a
1410condition to each of them. It takes the form
1412&`foranyaddress `&<&'string'&>&` (`&<&'condition'&>&`)`&
1414where <&'string'&> is interpreted as a list of RFC 2822 addresses, as in a
1415typical header line, and <&'condition'&> is any valid filter condition or
1416combination of conditions. The &"group"& syntax that is defined for certain
1417header lines that contain addresses is supported.
1419The parentheses surrounding the condition are mandatory, to delimit it from
1420possible further sub-conditions of the enclosing &(if)& command. Within the
1421condition, the expansion variable &$thisaddress$& is set to the non-comment
1422portion of each of the addresses in the string in turn. For example, if the
1423string is
1425B.Simpson <bart@sfld.example>, lisa@sfld.example (his sister)
1427then &$thisaddress$& would take on the values &`bart@sfld.example`& and
1428&`lisa@sfld.example`& in turn.
1430If there are no valid addresses in the list, the whole condition is false. If
1431the internal condition is true for any one address, the overall condition is
1432true and the loop ends. If the internal condition is false for all addresses in
1433the list, the overall condition is false. This example tests for the presence
1434of an eight-digit local part in any address in a &'To:'& header:
1436if foranyaddress $h_to: ( $thisaddress matches ^\\d{8}@ ) then ...
1438When the overall condition is true, the value of &$thisaddress$& in the
1439commands that follow &(then)& is the last value it took on inside the loop. At
1440the end of the &(if)& command, the value of &$thisaddress$& is reset to what it
1441was before. It is best to avoid the use of multiple occurrences of
1442&(foranyaddress)&, nested or otherwise, in a single &(if)& command, if the
1443value of &$thisaddress$& is to be used afterwards, because it isn't always
1444clear what the value will be. Nested &(if)& commands should be used instead.
1446Header lines can be joined together if a check is to be applied to more than
1447one of them. For example:
1449if foranyaddress $h_to:,$h_cc: ....
1451This scans through the addresses in both the &'To:'& and the &'Cc:'& headers.
1454.section "Testing for personal mail" "SECTpersonal"
1455A common requirement is to distinguish between incoming personal mail and mail
1456from a mailing list, or from a robot or other automatic process (for example, a
1457bounce message). In particular, this test is normally required for &"vacation
1460The &(personal)& condition checks that the message is not a bounce message and
1461that the current user's email address appears in the &'To:'& header. It also
1462checks that the sender is not the current user or one of a number of common
1463daemons, and that there are no header lines starting &'List-'& in the message.
1464Finally, it checks the content of the &'Precedence:'& header line, if there is
1467You should always use the &(personal)& condition when generating automatic
1468responses. This example shows the use of &(personal)& in a filter file that is
1469sending out vacation messages:
1471if personal then
1472mail to $reply_address
1473subject "I am on holiday"
1474file $home/vacation/message
1475once $home/vacation/once
1476once_repeat 10d
1479It is tempting, when writing commands like the above, to quote the original
1480subject in the reply. For example:
1482subject "Re: $h_subject:"
1484There is a danger in doing this, however. It may allow a third party to
1485subscribe you to an opt-in mailing list, provided that the list accepts bounce
1486messages as subscription confirmations. (Messages sent from filters are always
1487sent as bounce messages.) Well-managed lists require a non-bounce message to
1488confirm a subscription, so the danger is relatively small.
1490If prefixes or suffixes are in use for local parts &-- something which depends
1491on the configuration of Exim (see section &<<SECTmbox>>& below) &-- the tests
1492for the current user are done with the full address (including the prefix and
1493suffix, if any) as well as with the prefix and suffix removed. If the system is
1494configured to rewrite local parts of mail addresses, for example, to rewrite
1495&`dag46`& as &`Dirk.Gently`&, the rewritten form of the address is also used in
1496the tests.
1500.section "Alias addresses for the personal condition"
1501It is quite common for people who have mail accounts on a number of different
1502systems to forward all their mail to one system, and in this case a check for
1503personal mail should test all their various mail addresses. To allow for this,
1504the &(personal)& condition keyword can be followed by
1506&`alias `&<&'address'&>
1508any number of times, for example:
1510if personal alias smith@else.where.example
1511 alias
1512then ...
1514The alias addresses are treated as alternatives to the current user's email
1515address when testing the contents of header lines.
1518.section "Details of the personal condition"
1519The basic &(personal)& test is roughly equivalent to the following:
1521not error_message and
1522$message_headers does not contain "\nList-Id:" and
1523$message_headers does not contain "\nList-Help:" and
1524$message_headers does not contain "\nList-Subscribe:" and
1525$message_headers does not contain "\nList-Unsubscribe:" and
1526$message_headers does not contain "\nList-Post:" and
1527$message_headers does not contain "\nList-Owner:" and
1528$message_headers does not contain "\nList-Archive:" and
1530"${if def h_auto-submitted:{present}{absent}}" is "absent" or
1531$header_auto-submitted: is "no"
1532) and
1533$header_precedence: does not contain "bulk" and
1534$header_precedence: does not contain "list" and
1535$header_precedence: does not contain "junk" and
1536foranyaddress $header_to:
1537( $thisaddress contains "$local_part$domain" ) and
1538not foranyaddress $header_from:
1540$thisaddress contains "$local_partdomain" or
1541$thisaddress contains "server" or
1542$thisaddress contains "daemon" or
1543$thisaddress contains "root" or
1544$thisaddress contains "listserv" or
1545$thisaddress contains "majordomo" or
1546$thisaddress contains "-request" or
1547$thisaddress matches "^owner-[^]+"
1550The variable &$local_part$& contains the local part of the mail address of
1551the user whose filter file is being run &-- it is normally your login id. The
1552&$domain$& variable contains the mail domain. As explained above, if aliases
1553or rewriting are defined, or if prefixes or suffixes are in use, the tests for
1554the current user are also done with alternative addresses.
1559.section "Testing delivery status"
1560There are two conditions that are intended mainly for use in system filter
1561files, but which are available in users' filter files as well. The condition
1562&(first_delivery)& is true if this is the first process that is attempting to
1563deliver the message, and false otherwise. This indicator is not reset until the
1564first delivery process successfully terminates; if there is a crash or a power
1565failure (for example), the next delivery attempt is also a &"first delivery"&.
1567In a user filter file &(first_delivery)& will be false if there was previously
1568an error in the filter, or if a delivery for the user failed owing to, for
1569example, a quota error, or if forwarding to a remote address was deferred for
1570some reason.
1572The condition &(manually_thawed)& is true if the message was &"frozen"& for
1573some reason, and was subsequently released by the system administrator. It is
1574unlikely to be of use in users' filter files.
1577.section "Multiple personal mailboxes" "SECTmbox"
1578The system administrator can configure Exim so that users can set up variants
1579on their email addresses and handle them separately. Consult your system
1580administrator or local documentation to see if this facility is enabled on your
1581system, and if so, what the details are.
1583The facility involves the use of a prefix or a suffix on an email address. For
1584example, all mail addressed to &'lg303-'&<&'something'&> would be the property
1585of user &'lg303'&, who could determine how it was to be handled, depending on
1586the value of <&'something'&>.
1588There are two possible ways in which this can be set up. The first possibility
1589is the use of multiple &_.forward_& files. In this case, mail to &'lg303-foo'&,
1590for example, is handled by looking for a file called &_.forward-foo_& in
1591&'lg303'&'s home directory. If such a file does not exist, delivery fails
1592and the message is returned to its sender.
1594The alternative approach is to pass all messages through a single &_.forward_&
1595file, which must be a filter file so that it can distinguish between the
1596different cases by referencing the variables &$local_part_prefix$& or
1597&$local_part_suffix$&, as in the final example in section &<<SECTex>>& below.
1599It is possible to configure Exim to support both schemes at once. In this case,
1600a specific &_.forward-foo_& file is first sought; if it is not found, the basic
1601&_.forward_& file is used.
1603The &(personal)& test (see section &<<SECTpersonal>>&) includes prefixes and
1604suffixes in its checking.
1608.section "Ignoring delivery errors"
1609As was explained above, filtering just sets up addresses for delivery &-- no
1610deliveries are actually done while a filter file is active. If any of the
1611generated addresses subsequently suffers a delivery failure, an error message
1612is generated in the normal way. However, if a filter command that sets up a
1613delivery is preceded by the word &"noerror"&, errors for that delivery,
1614and any deliveries consequent on it (that is, from alias, forwarding, or
1615filter files it invokes) are ignored.
1619.section "Examples of Exim filter commands" "SECTex"
1620Simple forwarding:
1623# Exim filter
1624deliver baggins@rivendell.middle-earth.example
1627Vacation handling using traditional means, assuming that the &_.vacation.msg_&
1628and other files have been set up in your home directory:
1631# Exim filter
1632unseen pipe "/usr/ucb/vacation \"$local_part\""
1635Vacation handling inside Exim, having first created a file called
1636&_.vacation.msg_& in your home directory:
1639# Exim filter
1640if personal then vacation endif
1643File some messages by subject:
1646# Exim filter
1647if $header_subject: contains "empire" or
1648$header_subject: contains "foundation"
1650save $home/mail/f+e
1654Save all non-urgent messages by weekday:
1657# Exim filter
1658if $header_subject: does not contain "urgent" and
1659$tod_full matches "^(...),"
1661save $home/mail/$1
1665Throw away all mail from one site, except from postmaster:
1668# Exim filter
1669if $reply_address contains "" and
1670$reply_address does not contain "postmaster@"
1672seen finish
1676Handle multiple personal mailboxes:
1679# Exim filter
1680if $local_part_suffix is "-foo"
1682save $home/mail/foo
1683elif $local_part_suffix is "-bar"
1685save $home/mail/bar