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⚠️ Project archived. Have a look at himalaya, its successor.

📫 Iris.vim

Simple mail client for Vim, inspired by (Neo)Mutt and Alpine.


Table of contents


(Neo)Mutt and Alpine are very good terminal mail clients, but they lack of Vim mappings. You can emulate, but it requires a lot of time, patience and configuration. Why trying to emulate, when you can have it in Vim? VimL and Python are strong enough to do so. The aim of Iris is to provide a simple mail client that:

  • Allows you to manage your mails inside Vim
  • Does not slow down neither Vim nor your workflow (async+lazy)
  • Is built on the top of a robust Python IMAP client to avoid implementing IMAP protocol logic


You need either Neovim or Vim8+ with:

  • Python3 support enabled :echo has("python3")
  • Job enabled :echo has("job")
  • Channel enabled :echo has("channel")


For eg. with vim-plug:

Plug "soywod/iris.vim"


Before using Iris, you need to configure it:

Identity (required)

let g:iris_name  = "My name"
let g:iris_mail = "[email protected]"

IMAP (required)

let g:iris_imap_host  = ""
let g:iris_imap_port  = 993
let g:iris_imap_login = "Your IMAP login" "Default to g:iris_mail

SMTP (required)

let g:iris_smtp_host  = "" "Default to g:iris_imap_host
let g:iris_smtp_port  = 587
let g:iris_smtp_login = "Your IMAP login" "Default to g:iris_mail


On startup, Iris always asks for your IMAP and SMTP passwords. To avoid this, you can save your password in a file and encrypt it via GPG:

gpg --encrypt --sign --armor --output myfile.gpg myfile
let g:iris_imap_passwd_filepath = "/path/to/imap.gpg"
let g:iris_smtp_passwd_filepath = "/path/to/smtp.gpg"

Note: iris_imap_passwd_filepath & iris_smtp_password_filepath must be absolute paths. For example the path ~/passwords/imap.gpg would not work because of the ~.

If you want to use something else than GPG, you can set up your custom command. For eg., with the MacOSX security tool:

let g:iris_imap_passwd_show_cmd = "security find-internet-password -gs IMAP_KEY -w"
let g:iris_smtp_passwd_show_cmd = "security find-internet-password -gs SMTP_KEY -w"

Idle mode

On startup, Iris spawns two Python jobs: one for the API, one for the idle mode. The last one allows you to receive notifications on new mails. You can disable this option or change the default timeout (every 15s):

let g:iris_idle_enabled = 1
let g:iris_idle_timeout = 15


By default, Iris fetches your last 50 mails:

let g:iris_emails_chunk_size = 50

Note: the pagination is based on message sequences which is not necessary consecutive. It makes the pagination less accurate (doesn't fetch always the same amount of mails) but more performant.


let g:iris_download_dir = "~/Downloads"


Email list

Function Default keybind Override
Preview (text) <Enter> nmap <cr> <plug>(iris-preview-text-email)
Preview (html) gp (for go preview) nmap gp <plug>(iris-preview-html-email)
Download attachments ga (for go attachments) nmap ga <plug>(iris-download-attachments)
New mail gn (for go new) nmap gn <plug>(iris-new-email)
Previous page <Ctrl+b> (for page backward) nmap <c-b> <plug>(iris-prev-page-emails)
Next page <Ctrl+f> (for page forward) nmap <c-f> <plug>(iris-next-page-emails)
Change folder gf (for go folder) nmap gf <plug>(iris-change-folder)

Email text preview

Function Default keybind Override
Reply gr (for go reply) nmap gr <plug>(iris-reply-email)
Reply all gR (for go reply all) nmap gR <plug>(iris-reply-all-email)
Forward gf (for go forward) nmap gf <plug>(iris-forward-email)

Email composition

Iris is based on the builtin mail.vim filetype and syntax. An email should contains a list of headers followed by the message:

To: [email protected].com
Subject: Welcome

Hello world!
Function Default keybind Override
Save draft :w
Send gs (for go send) nmap gs <plug>(iris-send-email)


By default, Iris will display a basic prompt to select your folders:


Iris supports those fuzzy finders:

Note: Iris will use the first fuzzy finder available automatically.


Flags appears in the first column of the email list view. There is 5 different flags:

  • N if it's a new email
  • R if it has been replied
  • F if it has been flagged
  • D if it's a draft
  • @ if it contains an attachment


In order to autocomplete addresses, Iris keeps a .contacts file that contains emails of your contacts. It's updated each time you send a new email (only the To header is used). You can extract existing addresses from all your emails:


Note: the completion may need to be triggered manually via <C-x><C-u>, see :h i_CTRL-X_CTRL-U.


Git commit messages follow the Angular Convention, but contain only a subject.

Use imperative, present tense: “change” not “changed” nor “changes”
Don't capitalize first letter
No dot (.) at the end

Code should be as clean as possible, variables and functions use the snake case convention. A line should never contain more than 80 characters.

Tests should be added for each new functionality. Be sure to run tests before proposing a pull request.


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