Columbia MM
MM Manual


You can arrange to have all mail to your address be sent on to another address. That other address could be another one that you use, or it could be another person whom you would like to handle your mail for you. You can start and stop the forwarding whenever you want, so you could forward temporarily while on vacation, as well as for a longer time.


Use the route command to redirect all incoming mail to another address. Type route and the address.

In this example, the user xyz4 routes all mail to the user id abc9.

MM>route abc9
Mail for xyz4 will be forwarded to abc9

Once you have issued a route command, it will appear that you never get any mail, since any that arrives will be remailed immediately to the address you gave in the route command.

To cancel the forwarding, give a route command with no address. Here the user xyz4 cancels forwarding.

Mail forwarding for xyz4 removed.


The address given with the route command must be a valid address. Some of the special forms allowed with MM cannot be used: do not use *filename, @filename, a mail alias you created with define, or a dot (period) to mean yourself. You can use short local addresses (as shown above), or full addresses (userid@host), or system mail aliases.

The routing is kept in a file named .forward which is created when you give a route command with an address, and removed when you give a route command with no address. You can also create the file with an editor, and remove it with the UNIX shell command rm, if you like. The file may contain one or more items, separated by commas, each item being either a valid address or a pipe (|) followed by the name of a program in double quotes (the program would process the mail as input).


You might want to forward to yourself, if you want to make incoming mail go to you and someone else. Suppose you are working closely with another person and you want all mail addressed to you to go to both of you. If you just route to your colleague, you won't see the mail yourself; you have to route to both of you.

To include yourself in a route command, put a backslash in front of your own user id. The backslash prevents the mail from looping (actually, the mail system should prevent a loop, but you may not get the mail). If your id is xyz4, and you want all mail to go to you and abc9, type the command like this:

MM>route abc9, \xyz4
Mail for xyz4 will be forwarded to abc9, \xyz4


You can forward to a program that will process the mail. One such program is vacation, to send automatic replies while you are away; another is deliver, to sort incoming mail into different files. Check what is available on your system, and read the manual page about what to put into your .forward file; or write your own program if you like.

The .forward file will not directly write mail to files. If you want your incoming mail forwarded or sorted into one or more files, you must forward the mail to a program that does what you want. Doing so may be more complicated than you think it is.


You can force mail to go to an address, ignoring forwarding, by typing two backslashes in front of the address, like \\def6. You probably would not want to do this, since the person at that address probably never checks for mail.


MM has a command called forward that you can use to send someone else a copy of one or more message you have received. Therefore, any discussion of forwarding is somewhat ambiguous.

[ Columbia MM Manual ]