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AIX Version 4.3 Commands Reference, Volume 2

forw Command


Forwards messages.


forw +Folder ] [ -draftfolder +Folder -nodraftfolder ] [ Message ] [ -draftmessage Message ] [ -digest Name-issue Number ] [-volume Number ] ] [ -form FormFile ] [ -editor Editor -noedit ] [ -whatnowproc Program -nowhatnowproc ] [-filterFile] [ -annotate -inplace -noinplace ] | -noannotate ] [ -format -noformat


The forw command starts an interface for forwarding messages. By default, the forw command interface:

To complete editing of the UserMhDirectory/draft file, press the Ctrl-D sequence. The forw command appends the current message from the current folder to the draft file. If you want to append more than one message, use the Messages parameter.

Note: A line of dashes or a blank line must be left between the header and the body of the message for the message to be identified when it is sent.

Upon exiting the editor, the forw command starts the What Now? prompt. Press the Enter key to see a list of the available whatnow subcommands. These subcommands enable you to continue to edit the message, list the message, direct the disposition of the message, or end the processing of the forw command.

The forw command allows you to change the format of the forwarded message with the -form flag. By default, the command uses the default message format located in your UserMhDirectory/forwcomps file. If you have not defined your own forwcomps file, the /etc/mh/forwcomps file is used.

Use the -annotate flag to annotate the original message with forwarding information. To ensure annotation, send the forwarded note before exiting the forw command interface.

Note: The -annotate flag is not preserved over multiple executions of the forw command on the same draft.


-annotate Annotates the forwarded messages with the lines:
Forwarded: Date
Forwarded: Addresses

Use the -inplace flag to force annotation in place. This preserves links to the annotated message.

-digest Name Uses the digest facility to create a new issue for the digest specified by the Name variable. The forw command expands the format strings in the components file (using the same format string mechanism used by the repl command) and composes the draft using the standard digest encapsulation algorithm. After the draft has been composed, the forw command writes out the volume and issue entries for the digest and starts the editor.

Unless you specify the -form flag, the forw command uses the format in the UserMhDirectory/digestcomps file. If this file does not exist, the command uses the default specified in the /etc/mh/digestcomps file.

-draftfolder +Folder Places the draft message in the specified folder. If you do not specify this flag, the forw command selects a default draft folder according to the information supplied in the Message Handler (MH) profiles. If +Folder is not specified, the Current-Folder is assumed. You can define a default draft folder in the $HOME/.mh_profile file.
Note: If -draftfolder +Folder is followed by a Message parameter, it is the same as specifying the -draftmessage flag.
-draftmessage Message Identifies a draft message. If you specify -draftfolder without the -draftmessage flag, then the default message is new .
-editor Editor Specifies the initial editor for preparing the message.
-filter File Reformats each message being forwarded and places the reformatted message in the draft message. The -filter flag accepts formats used by the mhl command.
+Folder Specifies the folder that contains the messages you want to forward. If a folder is not specified, Current-Folder is assumed.
-form FormFile Displays the forw command output in the format specified by the FormFile variable. The forw command treats each line in the specified file as a format string. If the -digest flag is also specified, the forw command uses the form specified by the File variable as the format of the digest. If the -form flag is not specified when the -digest flag is used, the digest filter file becomes the form default.
-format Using the mhl command and a default format file, reformats each message being forwarded and places the reformatted message in the draft message. If the UserMhDirectory/mhl.forward file exists, it contains the default format. Otherwise, the /etc/mh/mhl.forward file contains the default format.
-help Lists the command syntax, available switches (toggles), and version information.
Note: For MH, the name of this flag must be fully spelled out.
-inplace Forces annotation to be done in place to preserve links to the annotated message.
-issue Number Specifies the issue number of the digest. The default issue number is one greater than the current value of the DigestName-issue-list entry in the UserMhDirectory/context file.
Message Specifies a message. You can specify several messages, a range of messages, or a single message. Use the following references when specifying messages:
Number Number of the message.
Sequence A group of messages specified by the user. Recognized values include:
all All messages in the folder.
cur or . (period) Current message. This is the default.
first First message in a folder.
last Last message in a folder.
new New message that is created.
next Message following the current message.
prev Message preceding the current message

The default message is the current message in the current folder. When you specify several messages, the first message forwarded becomes the current message. When you specify a folder, that folder becomes the current folder.

-noannotate Prevents annotation of the original message. This flag is the default.
-nodraftfolder Places the draft in the UserMhDirectory/draft file.
-noedit Suppresses the initial edit.
-noformat Prevents reformatting of the messages being forwarded. This flag is the default.
-noinplace Prevents annotation in place. This flag is the default.
-nowhatnowproc Prevents interactive processing of the forw command. With this flag, no editing occurs.
-volume Number Specifies the volume number of the digest. The default volume number is the current value of the DigestName -volume-list entry in the UserMhDirectory/context file.
-whatnowproc Program Starts the specified program to guide you through the forwarding tasks.
Note: If you specify the whatnow command for Program, the forw command starts an internal whatnow procedure instead of a program with the file name whatnow.

Profile Entries

The following entries are entered in the UserMhDirectory/.mh_profile file:

Current-Folder: Sets the default current folder.
Draft-Folder: Sets the default folder for drafts.
Editor: Sets the default editor.
fileproc: Specifies the program used to refile messages.
mhlproc: Specifies the program used to filter messages being forwarded.
Msg-Protect: Sets the protection level for the new message files.
Path: Specifies the UserMhDirectory.
whatnowproc: Specifies the program used to prompt What now? questions.


  1. To forward the current message to another person, enter:
    The system prompts you to enter information in the header fields. To skip a field, press the Enter key. You must enter information in the To: field. The system responds with:
    ---------Enter initial text
    Enter the text you want displayed before the text of the forwarded message, and press the Ctrl-D key sequence. The text of the forwarded message is displayed, and you are prompted with What now? Enter send after the What now? prompt to forward the message.
  2. To forward message 5 from the inbox folder, enter:
    forw +inbox 5


/etc/mh/digestcomps Defines the MH default message form when the -digest flag is specified.
/etc/mh/mhl.forward Contains the default MH message filter.
UserMhDirectory/digestcomps Specifies a user's default message form when the -digest flag is specified. (If it exists, it overrides the MH default message filter.)
UserMhDirectory/forwcomps Contains a user's default message form.
UserMhDirectory/mhl.forward Contains a user's default message filter. (If it exists, it overrides the MH default message filter.)
/usr/bin/forw Contains the executable form of the forw command.
$HOME/.mh_profile Contains the file that customizes MH for an individual user.
UserMhDirectory/draft Contains the draft created for editing messages.
/etc/mh/forwcomps Defines components for the messages created by the forw command.

Related Information

The anno command, comp command, dist command, mhl command, repl command, whatnow command.

The mh_alias file format, mh_profile file format.

Mail Overview in AIX Version 4.3 System User's Guide: Communications and Networks.

Peek, Jerry. MH and xmh: E-mail for Users and Programmers. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1992.

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