How do I get it to do what I want it to do?

ZFilter takes all it's cues from a "rules" file. The rules file is made up of statements that follow this general format:

If (something is true) some action to take.

3.1 Rules

Each of those statements is called a "Rule". There are two acceptable formats for each rule-

if (*some expression*) *some action*
if *some expression* then *some action*

One requires parentheses, one requires the word "then". Choose whatever form most appeals to you, but this author prefers the parenthesized form. If you use the second format, if you have the word "then" somewhere in the expression or as an action, the statement may not work correctly. With the parenthesized format, the spaces are optional between parts, with the second, the spaces are required. The second format is really for programmers who came from a BASIC environment and can't handle the real world of C++ and Unix.

3.2. Expressions

An expression is (for our purposes) the statement that is being evaluated for "truthfulness". It represents the situation that you want in order for the actions you want to be performed. For example, in the real-life statement

"If it's not raining and the car will start, go to the store."

The "expression" part is "... not raining and the car will start ..." and of course "... go to the store." is the "action" part of the statement because it represents what you want to do if the expresion is true.

An expression can be in several parts. A multi-part expression would look like this:
sub-expression AND/OR sub-expression AND/OR sub-expression .....
The real world example above has two sub-expressions: "not raining" and "the car will start". It might have three or more, like this:
"If it's not raining and the car will start or you can take a bus, go to the store."

With ZFilter, you separate the sub-expressions with "|" and "&". (or "||" and "&&" if you come from a programming background and it makes you feel better. ZFilter doesn't do bitwise comparisons, so "|" and "||" mean the same thing, ditto for "&" and "&&"). "|" means "OR" and "&" means (you guessed it!) "AND". SO... if you want to tell ZFilter the same expression above (assuming it knows english), you would tell it:
if ( ! raining & car will start | can take bus ) go to the store

The "!" means "not", and will be covered later on.

Each actual expression can follow one of two formats:

and two special cases:
[ ! ] always
[ ! ] never

DON'T use the square brackets. They are there to remind you that the "!" is optional. You may place an exclamation point at the beginning of an expression to reverse the sense of it. SO...
! bob = 3
which normally means "When the variable 'bob' is equal to 3", with the exclamation mark means "Whenever the variable 'bob' is NOT 3". and the statement
! foo
which means (without the exclamation mark) "When the variable 'foo' exists", now means "When the variable 'foo' does NOT exist." "always" is always true. ! always means "never", not "sometimes". "never" is never true. ! never means "always".

Without parentheses, an expression evaluates like this:

if (((sub-expression1) & sub-expression2) & sub-expression3) then... essentially, sub-expressions that come later or last are more "important" than ones that come before. If you have trouble with the idea of using parentheses to make yourself clear, just put the most important parts of your rules last and you should do OK.

SO... Our statement before,
if ( ! raining & car will start | can take bus ) go to the store

works out like this, assuming it's raining and the car won't start, but the bus is available:

! raining ... is False. It is raining.
... car will start ...Also false. It won't.
... bus is availableTrue! The bus is available.

((( false ) & false ) | true) representing the three sub-expressions.
(( false & false ) | true) not raining and car will start (both false)
(( false ) | true) neither is true, so that sub-expression
is false.
( false | true ) combination of previous two and "bus
is available"
True. End result is true.

End result: We go to the store! Why? Look at it this way:

something & somethingis true ONLY if both "somethings" are true.
something | somethingis true if either or both somethings are true.

If you need more help, the "&" and "|" parts work this way:
But suppose we meant to say "don't go to the store if it is raining, if it isn't raining, go if either the car will start or the bus is available."
We can do that one of two ways. First, without parentheses:
if ( car will start | bus is available & !raining ) go to store.

Will be true if you can get one vehicle to work and it is not raining. With parentheses we can use the old expression, just changed a bit:
if ( !raining & (car will start | bus is available) ) go to store.

If you honestly don't know how to use parentheses to separate parts of a statement you want evaluated first, then I'm sorry, but I don't have time or space to explain them to you. Consult a high-school kid who's at least in trig or so. They should have it down by now.

3.3. Variables

A variable (for our purposes) is a name attached to an unknown value. The name can be decided arbitrarily, but usually is intended to help the programmer or reader remember why they are using it. For example we can create a variable called "bob" and someone else can assign it the value "3". Later, we can test to see what it is with a statement like this:

if ( bob = 3 ) do this...
if ( bob = 2 ) do this...
if ( bob < 2 ) do this...
if ( bob > 3 ) do this...

So we don't really know what bob is, but we can do different things depending on what it is.

The variables used in ZFilter don't usually have just numbers in them. "sender" is usually a variable that is the e-mail address of the person who just sent you a letter (like "date" usually has the date the letter was sent to you (like Tue 13 Jul 1996).

ZFilter reads it's variables from the header of the message. For a complete list of all the stuff that should be in a message header, go read the RFC's. If you look at a header, you'll see lots of lines that look like this:

From: Jane Schmoe (
Date: Tue 18 Jul 1996 12:22:03 +1 GMT

and ZFilter will take everything _before_ the ":" and call it the variable name, and everything after the ":" and call it the variable's value. The above two lines would create two variables-
'from' would contain the value 'Jane Schmoe....' and 'date' would contain 'Tue 18 ... GMT'

In general, you're likely to have these variables from every e-mail message:

from who the sender would like you to think the message came
to hopefully your e-mail address, but can be the address
originally used before a cc: or Bcc:
subject what the sender thought the message was about
date (special case) usually the date the message was sent.

Some messages will have extra variables like these:

sender like 'from'
reply-towhere to direct replies to
precedencethe class of message (like 'bulk' for large mailings)
errors-towhere to report errors
x-mailersometimes the program used to send the message

In addition, ZFilter tries to be helpful by giving you these:

date Normally, a full date: "Tue 18 Jul 1996 11:23:02 +1 GMT"
indicating date, time and relation to GMT. ZFilter
breaks the date down into two variables:
'date' (Tue 18 Jul 1996) and 'time' (11:23:02).
time see 'date'
when The original, unbroken date
name The personal name of the sender (if defined)
email The sender's preferred e-mail address
content The entire contents of the letter
header The entire header of the message
real_senderZFilter's "best guess" as to where the message came from.
sender Equivalent to 'real_sender' when the variable 'sender'
is not explicitly stated in the message.
lines The number of lines in the letter contents
words The number of words in the letter contents
chars The number of characters in the letter contents
size The size (in kilobytes, rounded up) of the letter
signatureyour ".signature" file.
chain A special one, Zfilter tries to guess if the incoming
message might be a chain letter. It counts the number
of times it appears to have been forwarded, and if
it has been forwarded more than a user-defined number
of times, it sets the "chain" variable. Otherwise the
variable doesn't exist.
See the Zfilter Setup part of the manual for more info
on setting the threshold for chain letter alarms.
unique Another special one. This variable is set if the content
of the message is unique to your inbox. If the message
is something you have in your inbox already, even if
the headers of the message are different, this variable
will not exist. Also see the UNIQUE command.
empty This variable is set if the content of the message is
made up only of whitespace (i.e. if there is nothing in
the message but spaces)
ip This variable is set if the hostname of the sender's
address can be resolved to it's IP address. See the
miscellanious section for more on how this is done and
special cases.

And there are a few internal ones that you probably shouldn't change:

inbox Where the mailer thinks your in-box is.
base_dirA "reference point" for all your files.
log_fileThe file ZFilter writes it's logs to.
mail_subjThe subject ZFilter uses when sending mail.
fwd_mail_subjThe subject ZFilter uses when forwarding mail.

You may define your own variables using the 'set' command for a variable that doesn't exist. (using set on a variable that _does_ exist will change the value of it to whatever you set it to.)

All these variables are 'temporary' variables; that is, they change every time a letter comes in. Even variables created with 'set' are temporary, and are reset every letter. ZFilter also supports permanent variables that don't change or lose their values between letters. These are ideal for counters to count the number of messages that meet criteria and referring to them in form letters (ie "This is your 10th letter to me...") You can create permanent variables with 'create', 'pinc' and 'pdec'. In addition, there are a number of permanent variables that are kept by ZFilter: sec, min, hour, day, mon, year. Representing the number of messages received as of the current second, minute, hour, day, month and year respectively. To perform xxxx action for the first message of the year, you can say:
if ( year = 1 ) xxxx

3.4. Operators

Operators test for a relationship between a variable and a value. This is an expression straight out of algebra 101:
x > 5
there you're asking whether x is greater than 5. If you didn't know that you probably shouldn't be reading this. Go back to high school. In that expression, though, the ">" is the operator.
ZFilter supports the standard math operators for testing values: = (equal to)
< (less than)
> (greater than)
<= (less than or equal to)
>= (greater than or equal to)
as well as:
!= (not equal to)
and the two word-search functions:
? (case insensitive search)
# (case sensitive search)

The last two may need some explanation. An example should suffice: from ? "bozoland"
means "is the word 'bozoland' found anywhere in the variable 'from'? This would be true if from was "" or "". from # "bozoland"
would only work if "bozoland" (all in lowercase letters) was in the 'from'.
Now we can look at expressions again. An expression has one of two forms:
(!) variable
(!) variable relationship value

It's "value" that we need to spend a little bit of time on. Value can be one of three things. Text, a number, or another variable. This is how ZFilter differentiates them all:

If it's "text" (like when you're using ? or # to search for something in a text-variable, or when you want to see if a text-variable is or isn't a certain word or phrase) the text needs to be _quoted_. That is, it needs to have quotes (") around it. For example, if I want to see if the phrase "have a nice day" appears anywhere in the letter I'm looking at, I would use:

if( content ? "have a nice day" ) do_some_action

It MUST have quotes. Trust me.
If the "value" part is a number, just type it in. Don't use quotes unless you want it treated as text. That's usually a bad idea. So, to see if the message has more than 50 lines, you would use:

if( lines > 50 ) do_some_action

Lastly, if the value is another variable, type it in without quotes again. So, if you want to see if the variable "lines" is smaller than the variable "words", (assuming there is a variable called "words"), you would use:
if( lines < words ) do_some_action

Or to see if the text in the "from" variable is contained anywhere else in the message body, you could use:

if( content ? from ) do_some_action

I think figuring this part out will probably be the only tricky part for new Unix users. Pros should get this one in no time. ;)

3.5. Actions

Actions are evaluated when the expression has been determined to be true. So, for the statement

if ( from ? "bozoland" ) canned bozoland_acknowledgement

if the expression "from ? bozoland" turns out to be true for the message currently being evaluated, (that is, if the message you just received had the word "bozoland" somewhere in the from field) then the action "canned bozoland_acknowledgement" would be taken.

Multiple actions on the same line are possible, but must be separated by semi-colons (;). Actions may also be placed on the next lines before the next "if" statement. Therefore, these are all different ways to do the same set of actions:


if ( from ? "bozoland" ) canned ack; forward; stop


if ( from ? "bozoland" ) canned ack


if ( from ? "bozoland" ) canned ack
forward; stop

And so on...

NOTE: Some commands take several arguments. To have several words (separated by spaces) considered as one argument, you must put them in quotation marks. For example, the "replace" command replaces one set of text with another set of text. To replace every occurence of

the text "aabbccd" with "bbaaddc" in a variable, you would use: 'replace variable aabbccd bbaaddc'. To replace "once upon a time" with "a long time ago in a land far, far away" (since you want to replace multiple words) you must use this:
'replace "once upon a time" "a long time ago in a land far, far away"' (the two arguments are quoted). For convenience, some commands which often take multiple words as an argument don't require this. Wherever the "Usage:" line says "value", quotation marks are optional for whatever you use for "value". For example, since addheader's usage line says "addheader variable value",
addheader subject The latest subject
is a perfectly acceptable equivalent to
addheader subject "The latest subject"
(Note that if you wanted "subject" to be "the subject", it must still be quoted like this: addheader "the subject" The latest subject )

TIP: Whenever ZFilter sees a word beginning with "?" that isn't inside a pair of quotes (for example ?what, but not "?what" or "now ?what"), it replaces the word with the variable that comes after the "?". So... if you say "page Message from ?sender", you would get a page that looked something like this; "Message from". This even works on commands; if the subject was, for some reason, "page", you could say "?subject Incoming Mail", and ZFilter would act as if you'd said "page Incoming Mail".

3.5.1 Meta-Actions

There are currently three so-called "Meta-actions". These actions modify the behavior of other actions. The two commands "AT" and "AFTER" can delay the execution of their action until a certain, specified time. Each of these meta-actions only modify the action they precede. For example, if you say:

after 12:00 canned hi_noon; canned time_now;

the action "canned hi_noon" will take place after 12:00pm. The action "canned time_now" will take effect immediately, possibly taking effect before the "canned hi_noon" action. Only the action specified in the "AFTER" or "AT" meta-action will be delayed. The rest of the rules file and the other actions will all take effect normally. The "DURING" meta- action will only execute the action specified if the time is currently between the two times given. If you said:

during 12:00 14:00 canned good_timing

the action "good_timing" would only be taken if the time was currently between 12:00pm and 2:00pm. If the time was 5:00pm or 11:55am, the command would be ignored. Here are the ways you can specify the time for the AT, AFTER and DURING meta-actions:

zz at zz seconds past the current hour and minute
xx:yy at the time xx:yy:00
xx:yy:zz at the time xx:yy:zz

Preceding the time with a "+" will make the time relative to the current time:

+zz zz seconds after the message is received
+xx:yy xx hours and yy minutes after the message is received
+xx:yy:zzxx hours, yy minutes and zz seconds after the message is rec'd.

For example, saying "after 12:00 page Mail!" will page you on or after 12:00pm. Saying "after +12:00 page Mail!" will page you 12 hours after the mail is received. Saying "after 12 page Mail!" will page you after the 12th second had elapsed in the current minute.

You do not need to enter the xx/yy/zz if it is zero. For example, "+0:05" (after five minutes) is the equivalent of "+:5".
All times are in 24-hour format (military time). Don't say "1:00pm", instead say "13:00".

That said, here are a list of all the actions and how to use them.

Action list:


As an action, this is a synonym for "comment".
Usage:# value
Example:# T-I-M-B-E-R !!


Adds the variable and value to the header of the message you have
just received. This can be used prior to forwarding or saving.
It is not reccomended that you use Addheader for common variables
like Sender or From... It acts as it's name suggests: it _Adds_
the header line. If there was a prior variable with the same name,
now you will have two. Use Setheader instead.
Usage:addheader variable value
Example:addheader X-Came-From Bob's House O' Email


Adds the sender of the message to the given list.
Read the section on lists for more info. Addresses can be removed
from the command line, or with the action "remlist"
Usage:addlist listname
Example:addlist boating


Runs a action any time after a certain, specified time. For example,
if you said "after 12:00 page You have mail!", you would receive the
page at 12:00 if it was earlier than 12:00 when you received the message,
or immediately if it was later than 12:00 when you received the message.
For valid ways to specify the time, see the section on Meta-Actions
Usage:after time action
Example:after +1:00:00 canned leave_me_alone


A synonym for "page".
Usage:annoy value
Example:annoy You have spam!


Runs a specified command at the time given. If the time given has already
passed, wait till the next day. For valid ways to specify the time, see
the section on Meta-Actions. NOTE: if you specify a relative time (a time
preceded by a '+'), this command will be functionally equivalent to the AFTER
Usage:at time action
Example:at 12:00 bounce


A synonym for "page".
Usage:biff value
Example:biff Incoming spam!


Forwards the message to another e-mail address, or multiple e-mail
addresses (separated by commas, no spaces). The message is then
marked to be deleted. Using Bounce and Leave is the equivalent of the
forward command.
Usage:bounce address,address2,address3....


Canned sends a "canned" response (i.e. a form letter) to the sender of
the current message. For more on preparing a canned response and how to
use them, see a later section.
Usage:canned filename
Example:canned standard_acknowledgement


Make a comment in the log file (and to wherever you have redirected logs
if you're doing that). Useful only for making comments to yourself.
Usage:comment value
Example:comment Hope this works...


Create explicitly makes a permanent variable. See the discussion on
variables for more information. Variables created with "Create", "Pinc"
and "Pdec" maintain their values through different mail messages. Specify
a value for the new variable. "Create"d variables can be made non-permanent
with "zap".
Usage:create variable_name value
Example:create bob 1


Decrement a variable by 1. (i.e. subtract 1). Obviously, this only makes
sense for variables that are numbers. If a variable is set to "2" it will
become "1". If it's "1" it will become "0" and so on. The opposite of DEC
is "inc". DECing a variable that does not exist will create one and give
it the value "-1". Like INC, "dec" won't create permanent variables, pdec
will, though.
Usage:dec variable_name
Example:dec bob


Delete removes the message, preventing it from appearing in your inbox.
A delete command will be negated if it is followed by a "leave" or "ignore"
command. If "delete" follows a "leave" or "ignore" command, it will cancel
THEM and the message will be deleted.


Checks all of the hosts the message has passed through against a DNS-based
black-hole list. Sites are typically placed in such a list after they
been shown to send spam, or to support spammers. Since this checks all
hosts in the 'Received' lines, you should be able to trap messages even if
they come to your site indirectly. Specify the host names of the black holes
you wish to check separated by commas, followed by the action you want to
take if the mail has come through a black-holed site. If no action is
specified, the default action is to delete the message.
Usage:dnsbl hostname,hostname... action
Example:dnsbl, delete


Run an internal perl routine with the arguments specified. You may
either run a ZFilter routine (not reccomended. All the routines you
can safely use are accessible via other commands. Only use one if you
know what you're doing) or you may run a routine previously loaded by
Usage:do routine arguments...
Example:do secret_routine aaa bbb ccc


Run a command only if the current time is between the two specified times
If the time is outside them, either earlier than the first time or later
than the second time, the command will be ignored.
Usage:during start-time end-time action
Example:during 12:00 14:00 canned good_timing


Runs another program. The output of the program is captured by the
variable "result" and can be used in later expressions.
Usage:execute command_name
Example:execute bin/ls


A synonym for "xmessage".
Usage:feed program program_arguments...
Example:feed /bin/cat


Forwards the mail to the given addresses and the message is left in
your inbox (unless there was a prior command to delete it). Using
Forward and Leave after each other sets the message to be sent to your
inbox. Using Forward and Delete is the equivalent to using the Bounce
Usage:forward address,address2,address3....


A synonym for "load".
Usage:get filename


Save the message to your inbox. This command is usually used for clarity,
since the message is saved to your inbox by default anyway. If you follow
a "delete" command with an "ignore" or "leave" command, the delete command
will be canceled, and the message will be left in your inbox. If you
follow an "Ignore" command or "Leave" command with "delete", the message
will be deleted anyway.


Increment a variable by 1. Obviously, this only makes sense for variables
that are numbers. If the variable is "1" it will go to "2". If it's "2"
it will go to "3" and so on. The opposite of "inc" is "dec". INCing a
variable that does not exist will create one and give it the value "1".
"Inc" won't create permanent variables (but "Pinc" will).
Usage:inc variable
Example:inc bob


A synonym for "keepheader" (below)
Usage:keep variable1 variable2 ...
Example:keep subject from


Strips the message header of everything but the variables you
specify. Good for saving space in your inbox, or for trimming the
headers before you "post" the message. A "keepheader" with no
arguments at all will zap the entire header. Keepheader doesn't
affect existing variables.
Usage:keepheader variable1 variable2
Example:keep subject from


A synonym for "Ignore"


Load in a perl library. This can be a standard one, like
or you may load in any of your own. ZFilter uses "require" to load
the library. There are no consistency checks performed on your library
before doing this. If there is any problem loading the library, require
will cause the program to immediately abort, without saving whatever
message it is currently processing. Use extreme caution with this
Usage:load filename
Example:load /var/www/


Like "canned", lets you mail a canned response file to a user (a
combination of forward & canned in a sense). Note that it mails the
same canned response file to the same user every time.
Usage:mail canned_file email_address
Example:mail acknowledgement


Mails the message to everyone on the list given. Senders can be
added to a list with "addlist" and deleted with "remlist" or via
the command line for both adding and deleting.
Usage:maillist listname
Example:maillist boating


Mails the output of the last program that was run to the eMail address
Usage:mailresult email_address


The mode to leave files in when you're done saving to them. (this
is modified by the umask, which defaults to 0). Mode is by default
0700. Prefix the mode with 0 to make it octal, 0x to make it hex.
Usage:mode permissions
Example:mode 0700


"Tags" the message as coming from a name you specify. This is for
people who send you a message, but haven't specified their full name
so that all you see is their e-mail address. This command has purely
aesthetic effects. It only affects mail readers that look to see
if a real name is on the "From" line, like PINE and ELM. It will
change an e-mail entry that looks like this:
N 3 12 Bingobob's subject
to this:
N 3 Dr. Bingobob 12 Bingobob's subject
It will also change the existing name if there is one to whatever you
specify. It doesn't affect anything else. Even the "Name" variable,
which contains the real name of the sender (if there is one) isn't
changed, so if you want it to be changed, you'll have to set it with
the "set" command.
Usage:name value
Example:name Dr. Bingobob


Assembler-speak for "No-Operation". This command does nothing, and
ignores any arguments that come after it.


Tries to send a message to you if you're logged on to the same system
that is getting mail. If you are on multiple times, it will try to
send the page to all of the sessions. Like any command, you may refer
to variables by putting a "?" in front of them.
Usage:page value
Example:page Mail from ?sender about ?subject


A synonym for "xcontent".
Usage:pass program program_arguments...
Example:pass /bin/cat


Like "dec", but creates a permanent variable if one doesn't exist.
Usage:pdec variable_name
Example:pdec bob


Like "inc", but creates a permanent variable if one doesn't exist.
Usage:pinc variable_name
Example:pinc bob


Runs another program (like Execute) and "pipes" the current message to
it. This is wonderful for running the message to other programs that are
expecting e-mail, like "mail", the old "filter", "vacation", etc..
despite the fact that you can usually do what you want with ZFilter.
Usage:pipe command_name
Example:pipe /bin/filter


Runs another program and "pipes" the current message to it (like Pipe)
but only sends the content of the message, not the message headers.
This is good for text-filters, unix commands expecting standard text and
other programs along those lines. Like execute and pipe, whatever the
command prints to the screen is stored in the variable "result".
Usage:pipecontent command_name
Example:pipecontent /bin/cat


Tries to post the message to the newsgroup specified. It removes
extraneous header information, adds Keyword and Summary lines (it
tries to make the Keyword line by stripping prepositions, pronouns and
articles from the subject line) if they aren't in the message and posts
it via Inews. If Inews isn't configured correctly or you have specified
it as being in the wrong place, the posting will fail and whatever you
tried to post will disappear into the great void. Separate multiple
newsgroups you wish to post to with commas, no spaces.
Usage:post group1,group2,group3,...
Example:post alt.test,


Reads another rules file and takes actions from it if they apply to the
current message. When done reading the other rules file, processing
returns to the command immediately following the "process" command. You
could theoretically have two rules file each set to process each other.
That would lock up ZFilter until the combined internal pressures of
stack overflow and out-of-control demands on swap space would explode
with enough force to knock the earth out of it's orbit and send it
hurtling into the sun. If we're lucky. We might just as easily knock
the earth the _other_ way out of orbit so we'd get farther away from the
sun until we all slowly froze to death. Either way, don't try it.
Usage:process rules_file
Example:process secondary.rules


A synonym for "mode".
Usage:protect permissions
Example:protect 0700


A synonym for "xheader".
Usage:purify program program_arguments...
Example:purify /bin/cat


Adds "> " to the beginning of every line of the variable given. For
example, if the variable "foo" looked like this:
Greetings from the world of foo.
Have a nice day.
doing "quote foo" would turn it into:
> Greetings from the world of foo.
> Have a nice day.
Usage:quote variable
Example:quote foo


A synonym for "dnsbl".
Usage:rbl hostname,hostname... action
Example:rbl save junkmail


Removes the variable from the header of the message received. This
can be used prior to a forward or save if you want to remove private or
extraneous information. Use Keep for better stripping of everything
except what you want.
Usage:remheader variable1 variable2 variable3 ....
Example:remheader from sender to cc


Removes the sender from the mailing list given. Senders can be added
via the command line, or with the command "addlist". More information
is available under the section about "lists"
Usage:remlist listname
Example:remlist boating


Replace every occurence of the first element with the second one in
the given variable. For example, if you said
"replace var aaa bbb", every time "aaa" appeared in the variable "var",
it would be replaced with "bbb". This differs from "xlate" which will
only replace one letter or character, but works with ranges of letters.
Saying "xlate var aaa bbb" will replace every letter "a" with the letter
"b". You may only have one-word text for now.
Usage:replace variable_name text1 text2
Example:replace var fred bob


A synonym for "load".
Usage:require library_name


A synonym for "mailresult".
Usage:result email_address


A synonym for "mailresult".
Usage:result email_address


Resync re-synchronizes the message headers and content with the
variables in memory. Useful if you've modified the header for
some reason (especially through a command like xheader) and need
to re-set the variables. Variables are re-read from the message
headers as if this were a new message.


Save appends the message to a file just as the "savecopy" command does.
It then removes it from your inbox. This is used as a way to keep your
inbox clear of potential junk mail, but allows you to review it later.
Usage:save filename
Example:save Mail/bob


Savecopy appends the message to a file, usually a message folder such
as those used by PINE and ELM.
Usage:savecopy filename
Example:savecopy Mail/bob


Saveover clears the message folder before saving the current message to
it. Good for keeping the latest status update in it's own folder and
deleting the old one when a new one comes in.
Usage:saveover filename
Example:saveover Mail/bob


Set a variable to the value specified. If you "set" a variable that
doesn't exist, a new one will be created with the value specified. You
may only create one-word variables, although you may separate multiple
words with an underscore (_) for readability. So don't use "new mail",
use "new_mail" instead.
PROGRAMMER TYPES: Don't use quotes around the arguments to set unless you
want them in the actual value.
Usage:set variable value
Example:set mail_subj HamsterMan's new mail system


Sets the header variable of the message received to the value specified.
If one doesn't exist, it will be created. This can be used prior to a
forward or save. If the variable exists already it will be replaced, so
if you simply want your header to appear as well (like Received-by lines)
you must use Addheader instead
Usage:setheader variable value
Example:set From The Incredible Dr. Bozo


Stop processing the rule file. Normally, ZFilter will continue reading the
rule file to see if other expressions are true, and taking actions on the
ones that are. Stop will immediately stop processing with whatever has been
done so far. Note that it stops *immediately* and other commands, even ones
on the same line, are ignored.


A synonym for "xlate". See below.
Usage:tr variable range1 range2


A synonym for "xlate". See below.
Usage:translate variable range1 range2


Set the process umask for people who know what umasks are. To specify
an octal number, prefix the number with "0", to specify a hex number,
prefix the number with "0x". 0700 is octal, 0x700 is hex.
Usage:umask mask
Example:umask 0077


Save the message to the folder only if the message content is not
already in the folder. In all other respects, this command acts like
the "savecopy" command. This is useful if someone is mail-bombing you
with the same message over and over. This command ignores message
headers, and only looks to see if the incoming message content is unique
to the folder specified (because some mail-bomb programs have header that
changes with time). As a shortcut, the variable "unique" is set if the
incoming message is unique to your inbox so you do not need to check it.
Usage:unique folder_name Examples: unique Mail/incoming


A synonym for "saveover".
Usage:write folder_name
Example:write Mail/newfolder


Passes the contents of the message to the program you specify. Takes
the output of the program as the new message body.
Usage:xcontent program program_arguments...
Example:xcontent /bin/cat new.msg.body


Passes the header to the program you specify. Takes the output of
the program as the new header. NOTE: variables are NOT changed after this
action. You must use "resync" to re-synchronize the variables and the
Usage:xheader program program_arguments...
Example:xheader /bin/cat replace.msg


Translates all occurences of one set of characters in a variable to a
different set. Xlate takes two sets of characters. Each is a list.
If Xlate sees, for example, the sixth letter in set 1, it will be replaced
by the sixth letter in set 2. For example, you may say
"xlate var 1234 5678". Xlate would look through the variable "var", and
replace all 1s with 5s, all 2s with 6s and so on. You may specify a
range of characters with "-". This would be another way to do the same
thing as above: "xlate var 1-4 5-8". This turns all uppercase letters
into lowercase ones: "xlate var A-Z a-z". Alternatively, you may separate
the two ranges with a "/".
Usage:xlate var range1 range2 xlate var range1/range2
Example:xlate var A-Z a-z xlate var A-Z/a-z


Passes the message to the program you specify. Takes the output of
the program as the new message. As with Xheader, variables are NOT
changed after this action. You must use "resync" to re-synchronize the
variables and the header.
Usage:xmessage program program_arguments...
Example:xmessage /bin/cat replace.mesg


Make a variable non-permanent. The variable will still retain it's value
for the duration of the message being processed, but will not be defined as
anything for the next message. Use "set variable 0" to delete the variable
for the present.
Usage:zap variable_name
Example:zap bob

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