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Mutt: limit or search by date

mutt rocks; I cannot say this often enough. You spend so much time dealing with email. If there is one task where it really pays off to train your brain to remember some shortcuts to never have to touch the mouse, and to benefit from enormous possibilities of customization, email must be it.

Still, here’s one of the things I don’t do often enough to remember properly, so I keep messing this up. You need to pay attention to the spaces. Say you are looking for mail sent less than a week ago. The following will not work:

~d < 1w

Use this instead:

~d <1w

Also, remember mutt uses the "AND" operator by default, so do not add & or && to combine searches using AND. Instead, just string them together. Say you want to see all mail to, from, or cc a specific address group, sent in the last seven days, do l for limit, or / for search, followed by:

%L groupname ~d <1w


It seems you cannot, by the way, combine the relational < or > searches with an absolute date. You can, however, add an error margin to an absolute date, usually achieving what you want to do. The error margin can be before (-), after (+), or both, using *. Like this:

Up to one month before date:

~d 30/10/08-1m

Up to five days after this date of the current year:

~d 04/05+5d

One week before and after date:

~d 27/02/2009*1w

More info here.

2 Responses to “Mutt: limit or search by date”

  1. Bob Says:

    Yes! Mutt does rock, thanks for the info.

  2. Benjamin Burdge Says:

    You have noted very interesting details ! ps decent site. “There is no vice so simple but assumes some mark of virtue on his outward parts.” by Mary Bertone.