The most basic thing to do with a message is to read it. The way to do this in Rmail is to make the message current. The usual practice is to move sequentially through the file, since this is the order of receipt of messages. When you enter Rmail, you are positioned at the first message that you have not yet made current (that is, the first one that has the ‘unseen’ attribute; see Rmail Attributes). Move forward to see the other new messages; move backward to re-examine old messages.
n and p are the usual way of moving among messages in
Rmail. They move through the messages sequentially, but skip over
deleted messages, which is usually what you want to do. Their command
definitions are named
rmail-previous-undeleted-message. If you do not want to skip
deleted messages—for example, if you want to move to a message to
undelete it—use the variants M-n and M-p
numeric argument to any of these commands serves as a repeat
In Rmail, you can specify a numeric argument by typing just the digits. You don't need to type C-u first. You can also specify a negative argument by typing just -.
The M-s (
rmail-search) command is Rmail's version of
search. The usual incremental search command C-s works in Rmail,
but it searches only within the current message. The purpose of
M-s is to search for another message. It reads a regular
expression (see Regexps) nonincrementally, then searches starting at
the beginning of the following message for a match. It then selects
that message. If regexp is empty, M-s reuses the regexp
used the previous time.
To search backward in the file for another message, give M-s a negative argument. In Rmail you can do this with - M-s. This begins searching from the end of the previous message.
It is also possible to search for a message based on labels. See Rmail Labels.
The C-c C-n (
rmail-next-same-subject) command moves to
the next message with the same subject as the current one. A prefix
argument serves as a repeat count. With a negative argument, this
command moves backward, acting like C-c C-p
rmail-previous-same-subject). When comparing subjects, these
commands ignore the prefixes typically added to the subjects of
replies. These commands are useful for reading all of the messages
pertaining to the same subject, a.k.a. thread.
To move to a message specified by absolute message number, use j
rmail-show-message) with the message number as argument. With
no argument, j selects the first message. <
rmail-first-message) also selects the first message. >
rmail-last-message) selects the last message.