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Linux in a Nutshell

This directory of Linux commands is from Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.

Click on any of the 687 commands below to get a description and list of available options. All links in the command summaries point to the online version of the book on Safari Bookshelf.

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mailto [options] [recipients]

Send mail with MIME types and text formatting. If no recipients are specified, mailto prompts for the names. This program has a very similar interface to that of the mail command, with two differences: it only sends mail, and it adds a number of text-formatting and MIME-handling features, described here. For features not covered here, see the mail command. mailto uses the metamail backend and relies on the mailcap configuration files.


-a charset

Specify an alternate character set.

-c name

Specify a name for the CC: field. Specify multiple names with a comma-separated list inside double quotes.

-s subj

Specify the Subject: field. Use double quotes if there are any spaces.

Text formatting

Mail formatting is handled with escape sequences that begin with the tilde (~) character. Those for text formatting are:


Turn bold text on or off.


Turn italic text on or off.

~jc, ~jl, ~jr

Set justification to center, left, or right, respectively.


Toggle whether to send a blind copy to yourself.


Hard line break (newline).

~>, ~<

Increase or decrease left margin.

~<R, ~>R

Increase or decrease right margin.


Quotation mode (indent and mark selection as excerpt).


Append ~/.signature as the signature for this message.

Including objects in mail

You can include a variety of objects in your messages, again using tilde escape sequences. To do so, enter ~*, and the program will prompt you for the type of data you wish to add. The available content types will vary from installation to installation.

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