Mail::Internet - manipulate Internet format (RFC 822) mail messages


    use Mail::Internet;


This package provides a class object which can be used for reading, creating, manipulating and writing a message with RFC822 compliant headers.

If you start writing a new application, you may want to use the the Mail::Box manpage set of packages (requires perl 5.6.1), which has more features and handles modern messages much better. See


new ( [ ARG ], [ OPTIONS ] )

ARG is optional and may be either a file descriptor (reference to a GLOB) or a reference to an array. If given the new object will be initialized with headers and body either from the array of read from the file descriptor.

OPTIONS is a list of options given in the form of key-value pairs, just like a hash table. Valid options are


The value of this option should be a Mail::Header object. If given then Mail::Internet will not attempt to read a mail header from ARG, if it was specified.


The value of this option should be a reference to an array which contains the lines for the body of the message. Each line should be terminated with \n (LF). If Body is given then Mail::Internet will not attempt to read the body from ARG (even if it is specified).

The Mail::Header options Modify, MailFrom and FoldLength may also be given.


body ( [ BODY ] )

Returns the body of the message. This is a reference to an array. Each entry in the array represents a single line in the message.

If BODY is given, it can be a reference to an array or an array, then the body will be replaced. If a reference is passed, it is used directly and not copied, so any subsequent changes to the array will change the contents of the body.

print_header ( [ FILEHANDLE ] )
print_body ( [ FILEHANDLE ] )
print ( [ FILEHANDLE ] )

Print the header, body or whole message to file descriptor FILEHANDLE. $fd should be a reference to a GLOB. If FILEHANDLE is not given the output will be sent to STDOUT.

    $mail->print( \*STDOUT );  # Print message to STDOUT
as_string ()

Returns the message as a single string.

as_mbox_string ( [ ALREADY_ESCAPED ] )

Returns the message as a string in mbox format. ALREADY_ESCAPED, if given and true, indicates that ->escape_from has already been called on this object.

head ()

Returns the Mail::Header object which holds the headers for the current message


The following methods are more a utility type than a manipulation type of method.

remove_sig ( [ NLINES ] )

Attempts to remove a users signature from the body of a message. It does this by looking for a line equal to '-- ' within the last NLINES of the message. If found then that line and all lines after it will be removed. If NLINES is not given a default value of 10 will be used. This would be of most use in auto-reply scripts.

tidy_body ()

Removes all leading and trailing lines from the body that only contain white spaces.

reply ()

Create a new object with header initialised for a reply to the current object. And the body will be a copy of the current message indented.

add_signature ( [ FILE ] )

Append a signature to the message. FILE is a file which contains the signature, if not given then the file ``$ENV{HOME}/.signature'' will be checked for.

send ( [ type [ args.. ]] )

Send a Mail::Internet message using Mail::Mailer. Type and args are passed on to Mail::Mailer

smtpsend ( [ OPTIONS ] )

Send a Mail::Internet message via SMTP, requires Net::SMTP

The return value will be a list of email addresses that the message was sent to. If the message was not sent the list will be empty.

Options are passed as key-value pairs. Current options are


Name of the SMTP server to connect to, or a Net::SMTP object to use

If Host is not given then the SMTP host is found by attempting connections first to hosts specified in $ENV{SMTPHOSTS}, a colon separated list, then mailhost and localhost.


The e-mail address which is used as sender. By default, the mailaddress() method provides the address of the sender.


Send the email to the given addresses, each can be either a string or a reference to a list of email addresses. If none of To, <Cc> or Bcc are given then the addresses are extracted from the message being sent.


Send a HELO (or EHLO) command to the server with the given name.


Port number to connect to on remote host


Debug value to pass to Net::SMPT, see <Net::SMTP>

nntppost ( [ OPTIONS ] )

Post an article via NNTP, requires Net::NNTP.

Options are passed as key-value pairs. Current options are


Name of NNTP server to connect to, or a Net::NNTP object to use.


Port number to connect to on remote host


Debug value to pass to Net::NNTP, see <Net::NNTP>

escape_from ()

It can cause problems with some applications if a message contains a line starting with `From ', in particular when attempting to split a folder. This method inserts a leading `'> on anyline that matches the regular expression /^*From/>

unescape_from ()

This method will remove the escaping added by escape_from


the Mail::Header manpage the Mail::Address manpage


Graham Barr. Maintained by Mark Overmeer <>


Copyright (c) 2002-2003 Mark Overmeer, 1995-2001 Graham Barr. All rights reserved. This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.