I'm experimenting with mutt (actually neomutt) and would like to take advantage of org-mode features while composing mail.

I have mutt configured so that I compose my messages in emacs. I'd like to open these messages in org-mode. Is this possible?

Mutt seems to open a tmp file /tmp/neomutt-whoami-xxxxxxxxxxxx. Maybe there is a way to write a hook so that files of the form /tmp/neomutt-whoami* are always opened in org-mode?

2 Answers 2


For your specific case:

 'auto-mode-alist '("\\`/tmp/neomutt-whoami" . org-mode))

The initial \\` in front of /tmp/... is necessary to avoid matching paths such as /foobar/tmp/neomutt-whoami-xxxx.

Briefly, auto-mode-alist is a list of the form:


where the REGEXPs are to match the full file name and path (imagined to begin with a ` and end with a ') and the MODEFUNCTIONs are functions to be executed if a match is found. Emacs's inbuilt help (C-h v RET auto-mode-alist RETdescribe-variable auto-mode-alist) will give you a more extensive description (and find its current value).

Even more details can be found with M-x elisp-index-search RET auto-mode-alist and M-x emacs-index-search RET auto-mode-alist (searching the Emacs info manuals).


How are you going to send the messages? Org-mode does not have any facilities for that. You probably want to compose them in message-mode but have some org-mode facilities available (e.g. tables). If that is the case, look into orgtbl-mode, a minor mode that allows you to manipulate org-tables in other modes, and orgstruct-mode or orgstruct++-mode (see their doc strings for information) - although I'm under the impression that the latter two are deprecated and are going to disappear (but I'm not at all sure about that: I just remember a conversation on the mailing list, but my memory is not what it used to be. I'll fix this answer if my memory is indeed playing tricks on me).

  • Presumably sending is handled by mutt , upon closing of the external editor (emacs or emacsclient in this case). OTOH, using message-mode for better handling of quotes and the like, is still a good idea.
    – aplaice
    Jan 28, 2018 at 8:34

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