I am trying to figure out gnus and bbdb. I am able to read messages using gnus, but now I want to add contacts from the mail message into bbdb. I have read that ':' should display a prompt and allow me to do this, but that doesn't work.

Any suggestions on what I am missing?

My init file has the following configuration:

(require 'bbdb)
(bbdb-initialize 'gnus 'message)
  • Side note: the (require 'bbdb) shouldn't be needed if BBDB is installed properly.
    – Stefan
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


Probably you already got BBDB working with Gnus, but since this article appeared in my search results when I had the same issue, I thought I would post my findings here.

The answer here got things working for me: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/22174756/insert-current-entry-into-bbdb

Here is my bbdb configuration:

;; contact list
(use-package bbdb
  :ensure t)

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; bbdb config from https://stackoverflow.com/questions/22174756/insert-current-entry-into-bbdb ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
(require 'bbdb)

;; initialization
(bbdb-initialize 'gnus 'message)
(bbdb-mua-auto-update-init 'gnus 'message)

;; size of the bbdb popup
(setq bbdb-pop-up-window-size 0.15)
(setq bbdb-mua-pop-up-window-size 0.15)

;; What do we do when invoking bbdb interactively
(setq bbdb-mua-update-interactive-p '(query . create))

;; Make sure we look at every address in a message and not only the
;; first one
(setq bbdb-message-all-addresses t)

;; use ; on a message to invoke bbdb interactively
   (lambda ()
     (define-key gnus-summary-mode-map (kbd ";") 'bbdb-mua-edit-field)))
     (bbdb-initialize 'gnus 'message)
     (add-hook 'gnus-startup-hook 'bbdb-insinuate-gnus)
     (setq bbdb-user-mail-names
     (regexp-opt '("[email protected]"
                   "[email protected]"
                   "[email protected]")))
     (setq bbdb-complete-name-allow-cycling t)
;; no popup buffers
;;(setq bbdb-use-pop-up nil)

  ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; end of bbdb integration ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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