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AIX Version 4.3 Commands Reference, Volume 5

show Command


Shows messages.


show [ +Folder ] [ -draft | Messages ] [ -header | -noheader ] [ -showproc CommandString | -noshowproc ]


The show command displays the contents of messages. If standard output is not a display, the show command lists each message with a one-line header and two separation lines. By default, the show command displays the current message in the current folder.

The show command invokes a listing program to create the list. The default listing program is /usr/bin/more. You can define your own default with the showproc: entry in your $HOME/.mh_profile file. If you set the showproc: entry to mhl, the show command calls an internal mhl routine instead of the mhl command. You can also specify the program to perform a listing in the CommandString parameter of the -showproc flag.

The show command passes any flags it does not recognize to the listing program. Thus, you can specify flags for the listing program, as well as for the show command.

If the Unseen-Sequence: entry is present in your $HOME/.mh_profile file and the entry is not empty, the show command removes each of the messages shown from each sequence named by the profile entry. If several messages are specified, the last message shown becomes the current message.


-draft Shows the UserMhDirectory/draft file if it exists.
+Folder Specifies a folder. The current folder is the default.
-header Displays a one-line description of the message being shown. The description includes the folder name and message number. If you show more than one message, this flag does not produce message headers. The -header flag is the default.
-help Lists the command syntax, available switches (toggles), and version information.
Note: For MH, the name of this flag must be fully spelled out.
Messages Specifies the messages to show. You can specify several messages, a range of messages, or a single message. Use the following references to specify messages:
Number Number of the message.
Sequence A group of messages specified by the user. Recognized values include:
all All messages in a folder.
cur or . (period) Current message. This is the default.
first First message in a folder.
last Last message in a folder.
next Message following the current message.
prev Message preceding the current message.
-noheader Prevents display of a one-line description of each message.
-noshowproc Uses the /usr/bin/cat command to perform the listing. This is the default.
-showproc CommandString Uses the specified command string to perform the listing.

Profile Entries

The following entries are entered in the UserMhDirectory/.mh_profile file:

Current-Folder: Sets the default current folder.
Path: Specifies the user's MH directory.
showproc: Specifies the program used to show messages.
Unseen-Sequence: Specifies the sequences used to keep track of the unseen messages.


  1. To display the contents of the current message in the current folder one screen at a time, enter:
    If the message continues for more than one screen, press the Enter key until you have read the entire message.
  2. To see the contents of all the messages in the current folder, enter:
    show all
    If the messages continue for more than one screen, press the Enter key until you have read all the messages.
  3. To see the contents of message 5 in the meetings folder, enter:
    show +meetings 5
  4. To see the contents of all the messages belonging to the weekly sequence in the meeting folder, enter:
    show +meeting weekly


$HOME/.mh_profile Specifies the MH user profile.
UserMhDirectory/draft Contains the current message draft.
/usr/bin/show Contains the show command.

Related Information

The mhl command, next command, pick command, prev command, scan command, sendmail command.

The .mh_alias file format, .mh_profile file format.

Mail Overview in AIX Version 4.3 System User's Guide: Communications and Networks.

Peek, Jerry. MH and xmh: E-mail for Users and Programmers. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly & Associates, 1992.

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