To configure the mail settings in Evolution, go to Shortcuts -> Inbox. Then activate Tools -> Settings.

Configuring Accounts

Evolution is capable of fetching e-mail from multiple mail accounts. The account from which to send e-mail can be selected when composing a message. To edit a current account, select the account in Settings -> Mail Accounts and click Edit. To add a new account, click Add. The configuration assistant described in Section “Starting Evolution” opens. To delete an account, select it and click Delete.

To make an account the default account for sending e-mail, select the desired account then press Default. To disable fetching e-mail from an account, select the account then click Disable. A disabled account can still be used as the address for sending, but that account is not checked for incoming e-mail. If necessary, reactivate the account with Enable.

Mail Preferences

Use Mail Preferences to select or disable the quote highlight color or how long after opening a message is marked as read. Also make settings regarding how images in HTML mail messages are handled.

Creating Messages

To compose a new message, click New -> Mail Message. Replying to or forwarding a message opens the same message editor. Next to From, select from which account to send the message. In the recipient fields, enter an e-mail address or part of a name or address in your address book. If Evolution can match what you enter to something in the address book, a selection list is displayed. Click the desired contact or complete your input if none match. To select directly from the address book, click To or CC.

Evolution can send e-mail as plain text or HTML. To format HTML mail, select Format in the toolbar. To send attachments, select Attach or Insert -> Attachment....

To send your message, click Send. If not ready to send it immediately, make another selection under File. For example, save the message as a draft or send it later.

Encrypted E-Mail and Signatures

Evolution supports e-mail encryption with PGP. It can sign e-mail and check signed e-mail messages. To use these features, generate and manage keys with an external application, such as gpg or KGpg.

To sign an e-mail message before sending it, select Security -> PGP sign. When you click Send, a dialog prompts for the password of your secret key. Enter the password and exit the dialog with OK to send the signed e-mail. To sign other e-mail messages in the course of this session without needing to “unlock” the secret key repeatedly, activate Remember this password for the remainder of this session.

When you receive signed e-mail from other users, a small padlock icon appears at the end of the message. If you click this symbol, Evolution starts an external program (gpg) to check the signature. If the signature is valid, a green check mark appears next to the padlock symbol. If the signature is invalid, a broken padlock appears.

The encryption and decryption of e-mail is just as easy. After composing the e-mail message, go to Security -> PGP encrypt and send the e-mail message. When you receive encrypted messages, a dialog opens to ask for the password of your secret key. Enter the passphrase to decrypt the e-mail message.


It is often convenient to sort e-mail messages into a variety of folders. To view your folder tree, select View -> Folder Bar. If accessing mail over IMAP, the IMAP folders are also shown in this folder bar. For POP and most other formats, your folders are stored locally, sorted under Local Folders. Your Contacts, Calendar, and Tasks are also treated as folders in this view, but should not be used for storing e-mail.

Several folders are included by default. Inbox is where new messages fetched from a server are initially placed. Sent is used for saving copies of sent e-mail messages. Outbox is temporary storage for e-mail that has not yet been sent. It is useful if working offline or if the outgoing mail server is temporarily unreachable. Drafts is used for saving unfinished e-mail messages. The Trash folder is intended for temporary storage of deleted items. The folder can be emptied automatically by activating the respective option under Tools -> Settings -> Mail Preferences.

New folders can be created under Local Folders or as subfolders of existing folders. Create as complex a folder hierarchy as desired. To create a new folder while in the Inbox view, select File -> Folder -> New Folder. In the following dialog, enter a name for the new folder. Leave the Folder Type as Mail for a new mail storage folder. Use the mouse to determine the parent folder under which to place the new folder. Exit the dialog with OK.

To move a message into a folder, select the message to move. Right-click to open the context menu. Select Move to Folder... and, in the dialog that opens, the destination folder. Click OK to move the message. The message header in the original folder is shown with a line through it, meaning it is marked for deletion in that folder. The message is stored in the new folder. Messages can be copied in a similar manner.

Manually moving a number of messages into different folders can be time-consuming. Filters can be used to automate this procedure.


Evolution offers a number of options for filtering e-mail. Filters can be used to move a message into a specific folder or to delete a message. Messages can also be moved directly to the trash with a filter. There are two options for creating a new filter: creating a filter from scratch or creating a filter based on a message to filter. The latter is extremely useful for filtering messages sent to a mailing list.

Setting up a Filter

Select Tools -> Filters. This dialog lists your existing filters, which can be edited or deleted. Click Add to create a new filter.

Figure 16.2. Setting up a Filter

Setting up a Filter

Enter a name for the new filter in Rule Name. Select the criteria to use for the filter. Options include sender, recipients, source account, subject, date, and status. The drop-box showing Contains provides a variety of options, such as contains, is, and is not. Select the appropriate condition. Enter the text for which to search. Click Add criterion to add more filter criteria. Use Execute actions to determine if all or only some of the criteria must be met to apply the filter.

In the lower part of the window, determine the action to take when the filter criteria are met. Messages can, for example, be moved or copied to a folder or assigned a special color. When moving or copying, select the destination folder by clicking. In the folder list that appears, select the folder. Use New to create a new folder. Click OK when the correct folder is selected. When finished creating the filter, click OK.

Creating a Filter from a Message

Select the message on which to base the filter. Right-click and select Create Rule From Message. Select the desired filter option. This opens the filter creation dialog with the correct criteria already selected. Add additional criteria if desired. Select the appropriate filter action. Click OK when finished.

Applying Filters

Filters are applied in the order listed in the dialog under Tools -> Filters. Change the order by highlighting a filter and clicking Up or Down. Click OK to close the filter dialog when finished.

Filters are applied to all new mail messages. They are not applied to mail already in your folders. To apply filters to messages already received, select the desired messages then select Actions -> Apply Filters.

Virtual Folders

VFolders are a unique feature of Evolution. A VFolder is a virtual folder that displays messages based on search or filter criteria. Rather than moving the messages into a folder, messages shown in a virtual folder remain in their original folder. Actions are applied to the message in the original folder.

VFolders are a useful means of reading new mail in one place after it has been sorted into a number of different directories with filters. For example, a VFolder could be created to search all your folders for unread e-mail.

To create a new virtual folder, select Tools -> Virtual Folder Editor.... In the dialog, click Add. Like filters, virtual folders can also be created from e-mail messages. Right-click the e-mail message, select Create Rule from Message, and define the desired criteria.

Enter a Rule Name. For the new mail example mentioned above, set the criterion to Status is not Read. Set the sources as desired. Other VFolder searches can be set similarly. Click OK when finished. This returns to the virtual folder list. The order can be changed if desired. Click OK to close it.

The new VFolder is in the folder list under VFolders. You can read, answer, and delete e-mail with the VFolder. However, deleting the message deletes it from the real folder in which it is stored, not just the VFolder.