In Thunderbird, I have the following folder structure:

  • IMAP
    • INBOX
    • Archives
      • 2014
  • Local
    • Archives
      • 2012
      • 2013
      • 2014

When I am in the IMAP inbox, I can press a and it will move it into IMAP/Archives/$YEAR, which I use to archive all messages that do not require any more action. Since the IMAP space is limited, I drag the IMAP/Archives/2014 emails into the Local/Archives/2014 folder once in a while.

With mutt, I would do the same thing: Moving emails out of the IMAP inbox into a local yearly archive file, just like I have with Thunderbird now.

How could I do this?

1 Answer 1


I think this isn't possible with mutt's integrated features. From my experience, even IMAP itself is rather a kludge with mutt. If it would be acceptable to you, I'd suggest syncing your IMAP folders into a .maildir on local disk; from my experience this makes efficiently handling mail with mutt a lot easier and your archiving problem would get feasible »fly by«.

I've made positive experience using offlineimap (although I switched to mu4e after using mutt for aprox. 10 years, since at some time I didn't get mutt to do a rather complex setup with multiple accounts, etc. in a convenient way without either segfaulting cause its config got too complex or not doing what I want).

  • Wouldn't this mean that all emails are taken offline right away? With my current workflow, the inbox is still synchronous with my phone. Mar 17, 2014 at 13:23
  • No, the name offlineimap is rather misleading here: offlineimap syncronizes your remote and local mailbox. Mar 17, 2014 at 13:27
  • Okay, so mutt ↔ maildir ↔ offlineimap ↔ IMAP server ↔ phone? I would then still have to do something to move emails to another maildir that is local only. Mar 17, 2014 at 13:38
  • Yes, but with a synchronized local maildir you just can move the messages out of this to another local location and offlineimap cares about expunging them from your IMAP space on next sync. For moving from your local 'sync'-maildir to another one you could use the usual mutt operations (like tagging and saving with S). Mar 17, 2014 at 13:43
  • 1
    Would you please tell us the reasons you're basing your recommendation on, thus it's not only opinion? I'd be very interested (really!). Jul 17, 2014 at 16:08

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