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Wed, Dec 14, 2005 12:58 am

Read Receipt For Messages Sent With Pine

I needed to know if a Microsoft Outlook user had read time critical email I was about to send from Pine, which is the email client I normally use. After a Google search and a little experimentation, I found that adding the facility to Pine to request read receipts that Outlook will understand is fairly simple.

When a user sends a message from Microsoft Outlook requesting a read receipt when the message is read, Outlook adds the header "Disposition-Notification-To:" to the message. You can add the same header to an outgoing email message from Pine. To do so, take the following steps (these steps were tested on Pine 4.44, but should work for other versions as well):

  1. From Pine's main menu, hit "S" for "Setup".
  2. Hit "C" for "Config".
  3. You can either use the cursor keys to move down through the configuration items to find "customized-hdrs" or you can hit "W" for "WhereIs" and search for "cutomized-hders" to find it more quickly.
  4. Hit "A" for "Add Value" and add Disposition-Notification-To:. If you already have another custom header, the new header will be inserted before it in the custom headers list (see Changing Pine "From" Address for adding a custom header to allow you to modify your "From" address). If you don't specify an email address after Disposition-Notitication-To:, then you can choose whether a particular message goes out with a read-receipt requested when you compose a message.
  5. After adding header, hit "E" to exit Setup.
  6. When asked to accept changes, answer "Y", which will return you to Pine's main menu.

Now you compose a message the way you normally would, but hit Ctrl-R while the cursor is in one of the message header fields, e.g. the "To" or "Subject" field, to get "Rich Headers". Before, I modified my personal Pine configuration settings, I would see the following "Rich Headers".

From    : John Doe <>
To      :
Cc      :
Bcc     :
Fcc     : sent-mail
Lcc     :
Subject :
----- Message Text -----

But with the "Disposition-Notification-To:" header added, I now see the following:

From    : John Doe <>
To      :
Cc      :
Bcc     :
Fcc     : sent-mail
Lcc     :
Subject :
----- Message Text -----

In the "Disposit:" field I can then type the address I want to receive the read receipt, e.g. I can then finish composing my message and send it as I normally would. When the Outlook user receives the message, he will be prompted as to whether he wishes to send the read receipt. If he chooses "yes" in Outlook, I will get a read receipt and know the time he read the message. If you don't need a read receipt for a particular message, you simply omit putting an email address in the "Disposit:" field.


  1. Using Elm, Berkeley mail, or Pine, how do I know if my message has been delivered?
  2. Delivery and Read Receipts

[/network/email/clients/pine] permanent link

Wed, Mar 30, 2005 10:07 pm

Changing Pine "From" Address

If you use Pine as your email client and wish to change the "from" address it places in outgoing email, follow these instructions.

[/network/email/clients/pine] permanent link

Mon, Nov 15, 2004 11:29 pm

Configuring Pine to Display Message Headers

Pine will show you the "Date", "From", "To", and "Subject" of a message in addition to the message's contents. But you may wish to view the full message headers to see the "Message-ID" or the "Received" headers. The Received headers allow you to view the path of a message from an originating system to your mail server. They are useful in determining if a message actually came from the purported orginator, since spammers and worms often use fake "From" addresses.

Pine allows you to display the full message headers using the "H" command. But, if you hit "H" and you see the message "[Command "h" not defined for this screen. Use ? for help]", then the command hasn't been enabled. To enable the comand so that you can use "H" to toggle the display of full message headers, take the following steps.

  1. At Pine's main menu, which is shown below, hit the "S" key for "Setup".

      PINE 4.33   MAIN MENU                         Folder: INBOX  3,280 Messages
              ?     HELP               -  Get help using Pine
              C     COMPOSE MESSAGE    -  Compose and send a message
              I     MESSAGE INDEX      -  View messages in current folder
              L     FOLDER LIST        -  Select a folder to view
              A     ADDRESS BOOK       -  Update address book
              S     SETUP              -  Configure Pine Options
              Q     QUIT               -  Leave the Pine program
       Copyright 1989-2001.  PINE is a trademark of the University of Washington.
    ? Help                     P PrevCmd                 R RelNotes
    O OTHER CMDS > [ListFldrs] N NextCmd                 K KBLock

  2. At the next menu, shown below, hit the "C" key to configure Pine.

    This is the Setup screen for Pine. Choose from the following commands:
    (E) Exit Setup:
        This puts you back at the Main Menu.
    (P) Printer:
        Allows you to set a default printer and to define custom
        print commands.
    (N) Newpassword:
        Change your password.
    (C) Config:
        Allows you to set many features which are not turned on by default.
        You may also set the values of many options with that command.
    (S) Signature:
        Enter or edit a custom signature which will
        be included with each new message you send.

  3. Scroll down through the list that appears using the cursor keys on your keyboard (or you can move up and down the list with "n" for "next" or "p" for "previous") until you find "enable-full-header-cmd" under "Advanced Command Preferences". When you've found it, hit "x" to set the value ("x" toggles values off and on). Then hit "E" to exit setup. When prompted "Commit changes ("Yes" replaces settings, "No" abandons changes)?", hit "y" to save your changes. Now when you view a message, you can just hit the "h" key to toggle the display of a message's headers on and off.

    [/network/email/clients/pine] permanent link

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