Message Folders

Folder Setup Example

KMail's default folders.


Message Folders are used to organize your email messages. When you first start KMail the Local Folders containing inbox, outbox, sent-mail, trash, drafts and templates folders are created. Each of these folders has a special function.


Where KMail by default puts your new messages when you tell it to check your mail.


IMAP accounts will not use this inbox. The IMAP inbox is located on the IMAP server.


Where messages are put while they are waiting to be delivered. You must not just drag and drop messages here to send them; use the Send icon in the composer window instead.


By default, a copy of every message you send is saved in this folder.


By default, all messages that you have designated as trash are moved into this folder.


Contains messages you started to write but then saved to this folder with MessageSave as Draft.


This folder holds your templates created via MessageSave as Template from the composer window. Please see New Composer Templates for details.


Creating and Using Folders

Organize your emails (e.g. mailing lists, bills and receipts, etc.) by creating new folders. To create a new folder, select FolderAdd Folder..., or Add Folder... from the right mouse button context menu. A dialog will pop up. Enter the name of the new folder in the text box. You can fully customize each folder (i.e. views, replies, etc.) by selecting the folder you wish to modify in the folders pane and then choosing Folder Properties from the right mouse button context menu. See Properties of Folders for details.

To move messages from one folder into another, select the message(s) you want to move and press the M key or select MessageMove Message To... >. A list of folders will appear; select the folder into which you wish to move the message from that list. Messages can also be moved by dragging them from the Message list to a folder in the Folder list, or by using a context menu invoked with the right mouse button.

If you have folders that are frequently accessed, you can add them to your favorite folders pane (above the list of folders). Add them with the right mouse button context menu option Add to Favorite Folders.

You can create a virtual folder with search parameters by going to ToolsFind Messages..., or by using keyboard shortcut S. Enter your search parameters into the dialog. Name your search with the Search folder name: textbox, e.g. emails with the word Blog. Click the Search button. Now select the Open Search Folder button. A results folder will open, positioned at the bottom of the Folder pane. (By default, each new search is named "Last Search". You can save particular search parameters by assigning a special name as described above.)

Creating filters to automatically move messages to specified folders is a great way to organize messages by mailing list, sender, subject etc. Please see Filters for details.

If you receive emails from a trusted source (e.g. a Blog you signed up for) that is formatted in HTML and you would like to enable HTML view for those emails only, you can create a new folder, set up a filter to place all email from the Blog in the new folder, select the folder, and then choose FolderMessage Default Format >Prefer HTML to Plain Text.


Some common folder actions are

FolderMove All Messages to Trash

Move all the messages in the selected folder to the trash folder.

FolderArchive Folder

Create an archive of the folder. See Archive Folder for details.

FolderDelete Folder

Remove a folder with all its messages and sub-folders.

FolderRemove Duplicate Messages

Search the currently selected folder for duplicates and delete them.


Folder Properties

Folder Properties Example

The Folder Properties Dialog


The Properties of Folder dialog lets you specify its properties. Note that some properties are only available for the folders you create and not for default folders like inbox etc. The six default folders cannot be renamed.

General tab

If you want to rename a folder, change the entry in the Name: field.

Act on new/unread mail in this folder is enabled by default on new folders. It enables notifications about new mail that arrives in the folder. Uncheck this option on folders like SPAM and trash for which you do not desire notifications.

Check Keep replies in this folder if you want replies to these messages to be stored in this folder rather than in the default configured sent-mail folder.

Check Hide this folder in the folder selection dialog if you do not want this folder to be shown in folder selection dialogs, such as the Jump to Folder and Move Message to dialogs.

New folders use the default identity. If you wish to associate a folder with a different identity, uncheck Use default identity and select a different one from the Sender identity drop down menu. See Identities configuration for information on Identities. Replies to messages that were sent directly to you will still default to the message's To address if a matching identity is found.

View tab

The Use custom icons option lets you choose icons that are different from the defaults in the folder list.

With the Show column drop down list you can set the visible columns in the header pane to Default, Sender, or Receiver. This may be useful if you use a custom folder to save some of your own sent messages.

In the Message List section you can select and configure an Aggregation and Theme for this folder that differs from the default configured in KMails settings. For more details see the Message List tab on the Appearance page.

The Message Default Format section lets you choose between plain and HTML displays for messages in this folder.

Retrieval tab

If you have an account that does not receive much mail and you don't want KMail to query the server too often, you can uncheck Use options from parent folder or account to set a longer interval in the Automatically synchronize after: spin box.

In Retrieval Options you can change the Always retrieve full messages option to Retrieve message bodies on demand if you have a slow connection. You can also set how long the message will be retained locally via the spin box.

Templates tab

On this tab you can define folder-specific templates for your custom folders. For more details see the Standard Templates tab on the Composer page.

Expiry tab

You can set up automatic cleanup or deletion of emails. Check the box if you would like to automatically expire read or unread messages respectively. Set the number of days in the spin box. If you do not want to delete the messages permanently, you can assign a folder to keep them in via the Move expired messages to: text box / folder selection dialog. Once you have reviewed the messages and want to delete them permanently, you can go to the folder expiry options of the folder you chose to move them to and set the option Delete expired messages permanently, then click the Save Settings and Expire Now button.


Messages that are deleted cannot be restored, so be careful with this setting.


Mailing List tab

If you are going to use the folder for a mailing list open the Mailing List Folder Properties dialog with FolderMailing List Management from the menu. Then you should check Folder holds a mailing list to associate this folder with the mailing list. Next you should click on Detect Automatically. KMail will then try to guess some information about the mailing list from the currently selected message. If KMail could not determine some addresses then you can add the missing information manually. To do this first select the Address type for which you want to add an address. You can choose among five options.

Post to List

This address is used for sending messages to the mailing list. This is usually an email address.

Subscribe to List

This address is used for subscribing to the mailing list. This can be an email address or the address of a web page.

Unsubscribe From List

This address is used for unsubscribing from the mailing list. This can be an email address or the address of a web page.

List Archives

This is the address of the archive of the mailing list. This is usually the address of a web page.

List Help

This address is used for requesting help for this mailing list. This is usually an email address.

After selecting the appropriate Address type, enter the email address or the address of the web page and then click on Add. With Remove you can remove addresses.

When all the addresses have been added, you can execute an action, e.g. go to the list archives, by selecting the appropriate Address type and then clicking on Invoke Handler. If there is an email address and an address of a web page for the desired action, you will have to select the Preferred handler prior to clicking on Invoke Handler. Select KMail if you want to send a message to the email address and select Browser if you want to go to the web page.

You can also send a new message to the mailing list via MessageNew Message to Mailing-List... (instead of Invoke Handler).

Shortcut tab

You can define a keyboard shortcut to access the folder.

Maintenance tab

This tab shows an overview about the folder type and its size, the number of read and unread messages in the folder and allows you to enable text indexing.

Quota tab (IMAP only)

This tab will show you how much space has been allocated to your IMAP account by the server, and also how much of the allocated space you are currently using.

Access Control tab (IMAP only)

Here you can manage the access control lists (ACLs) of IMAP folders.


The IMAP server must have user level ACL configured and enabled for this tab to be visible.

The currently active ACL is shown in the list. It consists of pairs of User Ids and the Permissions granted to users identified by that User Id. [1] ACLs are settable per-folder.


As with everything else when using disconnected IMAP, you need to sync with the server for the changes to be transferred to the server.

IMAP ACLs define a lot of fine-grained permissions that you can grant or deny other users. For the sake of clarity, KMail will present them as the following five categories that you can choose from (see Table 3.1, “ACL Rights Summary” for the details if you already know IMAP ACLs).


Grants the users identified by User Id no rights at all. This is also the default for users not explicitly (or implicitly, as a group) listed in the ACL. These users will not see this folder in the list of IMAP folders presented to them by their mail clients.


Grants the users identified by User Id reading rights for this folder. This also includes the ability for their mail clients to mark mails as read and store this information on the server. [2]

These users will see this folder in the list of IMAP folders presented to them by their mail clients.

Use this to create a shared folder that others can read, but not modify.

If you were the editor of a company's news letter, you could create a folder for the purpose of distributing the news letter, grant everyone reading rights, and save the letter to this folder instead of sending it out by email to a catch-all address.


(also known as Post)

Grants the users identified by User Id reading (see above) and posting rights for this folder.

Use this to create a shared folder that others can read and post messages to, but cannot otherwise modify.

If you wanted to create a company-wide discussion forum, instead of using a web-based form or a separate company-private usenet server, you could create a bunch of folders (one per topic), and grant everyone reading and posting rights. Instead of posting to an NNTP server or writing their messages into a web form, people would just write emails and store them in the folder suiting the topic of the message.


Grants the users identified by User Id reading, posting (see above), and writing rights for this folder.

The right to write to a folder includes deleting of messages, creating subfolders, and storing other attributes than read/unread on the server (e.g. answered).

Use this to create a shared folder that everyone has (almost, see All) the same rights for.

In the Append example, you could assign write rights to a group of people acting as moderators, who would then be able to remove off-topic posts, and create sub-topic folders for high-traffic folders.


Grants the users identified by User Id reading, posting, writing (see above), as well as administration rights, i.e. the right to modify the ACL of this folder.

This is the default set of rights for the owner of a folder.

Table 3.1, “ACL Rights Summary” summarizes the IMAP ACL rights associated with each permission level.

Table 3.1. ACL Rights Summary

ACL rightNoneReadAppendWriteAll
Lookup xxxx
Read xxxx
Store Seen xxxx
Insert  xxx
Post  xxx
Write Flags   xx
Create   xx
Delete   xx
Administer    x

[1] Note that a single User Id might refer to more than one user. Depending on the IMAP server and its configuration, there may be User Ids that correspond to groups of users, anonymous users, or any user. Consult the manual of your specific IMAP server implementation for more information.

[2] Every user has their own list of read mail, so none of your unread mails will suddenly be marked as read just because someone else has already read them.