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I occasionally receive html messages and I would like to see whether text has been formatted or colored by the sender. I can simply navigate to the attachment list and open the text/html MIME type attachment with a web browser; however, for the sake of simplicity, I would prefer for the html to be rendered as formatted text within the pager. To do this, I have enabled html rendering by w3m with the following line in my .muttrc file:

auto_view text/html.

Additionally, I have added to my config file lines such as the following to highlight text that the sender may have designated as important:

color bold brightred default.

I expect that any text that was formatted as bold by the sender will appear as brightred in the pager. However, this formatting is not actually applied. Instead, I see only plaintext preceded by the statement:

[-- Autoview using /usr/bin/w3m -I 'ISO-8859-1' -dump -T text/html ''/tmp/mutt.html'' --].

What am I doing wrong? How do I enable display of html-formatted messages within pager?

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The in-mutt color settings are for the built-in pager only - mutt has no control over w3m colors. You'll have to find a way to configure w3m to display colors the way you want in addition to mutt. – jw013 Jul 31 '12 at 2:30
@jw013: Even if I remove the w3m invocation (auto_view text/html), the bold text from an html email is not formatted brightred (as per my example). Instead, the bold text is flanked by asterisks. What do I need to do to enable coloring for the built-in pager. Thanks. – user001 Jul 31 '12 at 3:15
AFAIK, Mutt doesn't have the ability to render HTML. I'm not sure where the asterisks you are seeing come from, but I don't think it's related to the color setting of the built-in pager. – jw013 Jul 31 '12 at 3:19
@jw013: I suppose I misunderstood the color object foreground background syntax from §3.9 of the mutt documentation. I interpreted bold objects/patterns as being html-defined, but I now suppose these are defined as bold in some other manner (how?). Many thanks. – user001 Jul 31 '12 at 3:34
Just did some testing: bold works with the (letter, ^H, letter) sequence described in section 5.2. – jw013 Jul 31 '12 at 22:11

Mutt does not parse HTML. If you turn off HTML viewing, you won't see HTML content. Many mailers generate MIME multipart messages, with the same text present twice: once as an HTML part (text/html), and once as a text part (text/plain). The text part is mostly or completely devoid of formatting; some mail programs generate ASCII representations of emphasis *like* *this*.

The bold color setting is used by Mutt's built-in parser for text/enriched. Few programs send text/enriched content, so you're probably seeing a plain text part, with no formatting.

If you turn on automatic HTML viewing, then mutt isn't doing the displaying. W3m handles the formatting, and it always displays bold as bold.

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