Configuration File

Customization of tag filters takes place in afew’s config file in ~/.config/afew/config.

NotMuch Config

afew tries to adapt to the new tag that notmuch sets on new email, but has mostly been developed and used against the new tag. To use that, make sure that ~/.notmuch-config contains:


Filter Configuration

You can modify filters, and define your own versions of the base Filter that allow you to tag messages in a similar way to the notmuch tag command, using the config file. The default config file is:


See the Filters page for the details of those filters and the custom arguments they accept.

You can add filters based on the base filter as well. These can be customised by specifying settings beneath them. The standard settings, which apply to all filters, are:

text that will be displayed while running this filter if the verbosity is high enough.
the query to use against the messages, specified in standard notmuch format. Note that you don’t need to specify the new tag - afew will add that when run with the –new flag.
the tags to add or remove for messages that match the query. Tags to add are preceded by a + and tags to remove are preceded by a -. Multiple tags are separated by semicolons.
if the message has one of these tags, don’t add tags to it. Tags are separated by semicolons.

So to add the deer tag to any message to or from you could do:

query = ''
tags = +deer
message = Wild animals ahoy

You can also (in combination with the InboxFilter) have email skip the Inbox by removing the new tag before you get to the InboxFilter:

query = from''
tags = -new;+boss
message = Message from above

Full Sample Config

Showing some sample configs is the easiest way to understand. The notmuch initial tagging page shows a sample config:

# immediately archive all messages from "me"
notmuch tag -new -- tag:new and

# delete all messages from a spammer:
notmuch tag +deleted -- tag:new and

# tag all message from notmuch mailing list
notmuch tag +notmuch -- tag:new and

# finally, retag all "new" messages "inbox" and "unread"
notmuch tag +inbox +unread -new -- tag:new

The (roughly) equivalent set up in afew would be:


message = Delete all messages from spammer
query =
tags = +deleted;-new

message = Tag all messages from the notmuch mailing list
query =
tags = +notmuch


Not that the queries do not generally include tag:new because this is implied when afew is run with the –new flag.

The differences between them is that

  • the ArchiveSentMailsFilter will add the sent tag, as well as archiving the email. And it will not archive email that has been sent to one of your own addresses.
  • the InboxFilter does not add the unread tag. But most mail clients will manage the unread status directly in maildir.

More Filter Examples

Here are a few more example filters from github dotfiles:

query = ''
tags = +sicsa
message = sicsa

query = ' OR from:GT Silber OR'
tags = +soc;+foo
message = foosoc

query = 'folder:gmail/G+'
tags = +G+
message = gmail spam

# skip inbox
query = ' AND (subject:emacs OR subject:elisp OR "(defun" OR "(setq" OR PATCH)'
tags = -new
message = notmuch emacs stuff