I'm using mutt with mutt-patched to manage 5 different Gmail accounts. For each of this accounts, I have INBOX as a mailbox with the mailboxes +INBOX configuration statement for each one. Then, I have 5 different uglies INBOX options to choose in my left column.

Is there a way to rename that mailboxes screen names to get visually information about, for example, wich account belongs each one?


2 Answers 2


I've been some researching, with some help from a friend, and that's what we have found out.

It's possible to change the list of mailboxes (pressing "c" plus "?", for instance), but I think at the moment there is no easy way (but maybe there is a not-so-easy way) to change the names in the folder browser (I suppose that would change mutt-patched tree). From the mutt wiki FAQ about display:

How do I change the format/ display of the list of mailboxes/ folders (or any menu)? The default display of mailbox folders includes a lot more information than sometimes needed. It is "N permissions owner group size date name" but you might prefer something shorter like "N size date name". You need to adjust the $folder_format variable to configure the look of the display of available inboxes (browser), look it up in the manual.txt. In general, you customize views with the *_format set of variables, there are some of them.

set folder_format="%2C %t %N %8s %d %f"  # what I settled on

Here you can find the variables you can use to format it.

Can I personalize/ shortcut the display of or label the folder names in the folder browser? No. :-)

Either try your luck with /RemoteFolder hints for shortening pathnames via $folder, or name the folders as needed (for sorting or saving typing).

And in the mutt wiki FAQ about RemoteFolder says:

How can I save typing long IMAP-pathnames? If you have just 1 IMAP account and/or don't need the $folder variable to access local folders or use "~" to do so, then you can store the common path of a single IMAP-server in $folder and use "+" or "=" as a shortcut (see MuttGuide/Folders).

You can specify mailboxes to have more than 1 listed in the mailbox folder-browse mode (change folder, hit '?' twice to find the key to toggle "mailboxes view"). You can use $folder to save typing when specifying them (note to reset it at the end to a sane local value):

set folder=imap://AAA.tld
mailboxes +folder1 +folder2 ...
set folder=imap://BBB.tld
mailboxes +folder1 +folder2 ...
set folder=~/Mail

Or use macros in the different menus and contexts (changing or saving folders), especially if you have more than 1.

With hooks you can change $folder dynamically, get creative.

But I haven't had success, maybe somebody...

Another possibility, maybe would be with the @alias shortcut.

And, what seems to me to be the most definitive answer, there is a new enhancement ticket asking for, exactly, aliases for mailboxes. This ticket, even has an attachment that seems to fix the problem, but I haven't tested it (maybe I'll, but at the moment I haven't the time).




Since mutt 1.14 (released on 2020-05-02) You can choose label for mailbox specified by mailboxes command.



mailboxes [ [ -poll | -nopoll ] [ -label label | -nolabel ] mailbox ] [...]

The -label argument can be used to specify an alternative label to print in the sidebar or mailbox browser instead of the mailbox path. A label may be removed via the -nolabel argument. If unspecified, an existing mailbox label will be unchanged.


mailboxes -label account_name-INBOX +INBOX

or define fake mailbox before Your INBOX:

mailboxes -label ACCOUNT_NAME /path/to/fake/mailbox
mailboxes +INBOX


Neomutt since version 2019-10-25 has named-mailboxes command


named-mailboxes description mailbox { description mailbox ...}


named-mailboxes account_name-INBOX +INBOX

or define fake mailbox before Your INBOX:

named-mailboxes ACCOUNT_NAME /path/to/fake/mailbox
mailboxes +INBOX


  • tips for fake mailboxes - mailbox can be mbox, maildir dirname/{cur,new,tmp} or symlink to /dev/null.
  • I believe neomutt will adopt mutt's mailboxes options -(no)poll and -(no)label soon.

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