notmuch-sexp-queries - s-expression syntax for notmuch queries


       notmuch subcommand --query=sexp [option ...]  -- '(and (to santa) (date


       Notmuch supports an alternative query syntax based on  S-expressions  .
       It  can  be selected with the command line --query=sexp or with the ap‐
       propriate option to the library function notmuch_query_create_with_syn-
       tax().   Support for this syntax is currently optional, you can test if
       your build of notmuch supports it with

          $ notmuch config get built_with.sexpr_query


       An s-expression is either an atom,  or  list  of  whitespace  delimited
       s-expressions inside parentheses. Atoms are either

       basic value
              A  basic  value  is an unquoted string containing no whitespace,
              double quotes, or parentheses.

       quoted string
              Double quotes (") delimit strings possibly containing whitespace
              or parentheses. These can contain double quote characters by es‐
              caping with backslash. E.g. "this is a quote \"".


       An s-expression query is either an atom, the empty list, or a  compound
       query  consisting  of  a  prefix atom (first element) defining a field,
       logical operation, or modifier, and 0 or more subqueries.

       *      "*" matches any non-empty string in the current field.

       ()     The empty list matches all messages

          Match all messages  containing  term,  possibly  after  stemming  or
          phrase  splitting.  For  discussion  of stemming in notmuch see not‐
          much-search-terms(7). Stemming only applies to unquoted terms (basic
          values)  in  s-expression queries.  For information on phrase split‐
          ting see FIELDS.

       ( field q_1 q_2 ... q_n )
              Restrict the queries q_1 to q_n to field, and combine  with  and
              (for most fields) or or. See FIELDS for more information.

       ( operator q_1 q_2 ... q_n )
              Combine  queries  q_1  to q_n. Currently supported operators are
              and, or, and not. (not q_1 ... q_n ) is equivalent to (and  (not
              q_1 ) ... (not q_n )).

       ( modifier q_1 q_2 ... q_n )
              Combine  queries q_1 to q_n, and reinterpret the result (e.g. as
              a regular expression).  See MODIFIERS for more information.

       (macro ( p_1 ... p_n ) body)
              Define saved query with parameter substitution.  The  syntax  is
              recognized  only  in saved s-expression queries (see squery.* in
              notmuch-config(1)). Parameter names in  body  must  be  prefixed
              with , to be expanded (see MACRO EXAMPLES).  Macros may refer to
              other macros, but only to their own parameters [1].


       Fields [2] correspond to attributes of mail messages. Some are inherent
       (and  immutable)  like  subject, while others tag and property are set‐
       table by the user.  Each concrete field in the table below is discussed
       further  under  "Search  prefixes"  in notmuch-search-terms(7). The row
       user refers to user defined fields, described in notmuch-config(1).

       Most fields are either phrase fields  [3]  (which  match  sequences  of
       words),  or  term fields [4] (which match exact strings). Phrase split‐
       ting breaks the term (basic value or quoted string) into words,  ignore
       punctuation.  Phrase  splitting  is  applied to terms in phrase (proba‐
       bilistic) fields. Both phrase splitting  and  stemming  apply  only  in
       phrase fields.

       Each  term or phrase field has an associated combining operator (and or
       or) used to combine the queries from each element of the  tail  of  the
       list.  This  is  generally  or for those fields where a message has one
       such attribute, and and otherwise.

       Term or phrase fields can contain arbitrarily complex queries  made  up
       from terms, operators, and modifiers, but not other fields.

  Fields with supported modifiers

             │field      │ combine │ type   │ expand │ wildcard │ regex │
             │none       │ and     │        │ no     │ yes      │ no    │
             │user       │ and     │ phrase │ no     │ yes      │ no    │
             │attachment │ and     │ phrase │ yes    │ yes      │ no    │
             │body       │ and     │ phrase │ no     │ no       │ no    │
             │date       │         │ range  │ no     │ no       │ no    │
             │folder     │ or      │ phrase │ yes    │ yes      │ yes   │
             │from       │ and     │ phrase │ yes    │ yes      │ yes   │
             │id         │ or      │ term   │ no     │ yes      │ yes   │
             │is         │ and     │ term   │ yes    │ yes      │ yes   │
             │lastmod    │         │ range  │ no     │ no       │ no    │
             │mid        │ or      │ term   │ no     │ yes      │ yes   │
             │mimetype   │ or      │ phrase │ yes    │ yes      │ no    │
             │path       │ or      │ term   │ no     │ yes      │ yes   │
             │property   │ and     │ term   │ yes    │ yes      │ yes   │
             │subject    │ and     │ phrase │ yes    │ yes      │ yes   │
             │tag        │ and     │ term   │ yes    │ yes      │ yes   │
             │thread     │ or      │ term   │ yes    │ yes      │ yes   │
             │to         │ and     │ phrase │ yes    │ yes      │ no    │


       Modifiers  refer  to  any prefixes (first elements of compound queries)
       that are neither operators nor fields.

       (infix atom )
              Interpret  atom  as   an   infix   notmuch   query   (see   not‐
              much-search-terms(7)). Not supported inside fields.

       (matching q_1 q_2 ... q_n ) (of q_1 q_2 ... q_n )
              Match  all messages have the same values of the current field as
              those matching all of q_1 ... q_n. Supported in most term [7] or
              phrase fields. Most commonly used in the thread field.

       (query atom )
              Expand  to  the saved query named by atom. See notmuch-config(1)
              for more. Note that the saved query  must  be  in  infix  syntax
              (notmuch-search-terms(7)). Not supported inside fields.

       (regex atom ) (rx atom )
              Interpret  atom  as a POSIX.2 regular expression (see regex(7)).
              This applies in term fields and a subset [5]  of  phrase  fields
              (see Fields with supported modifiers).

       (starts-with subword )
              Matches  any term starting with subword.  This applies in either
              phrase or term fields, or outside of fields  [6].  Note  that  a
              starts-with  query  cannot  be part of a phrase. The atom * is a
              synonym for (starts-with "").


       Wizard Match all messages containing the word "wizard", ignoring case.

       added  Match all messages containing "added", but also those containing
              "add", "additional", "Additional", "adds", etc... via stemming.

       (and Bob Marley)
              Match  messages  containing  words  "Bob" and "Marley", or their
              stems The words need not be adjacent.

       (not Bob Marley)
              Match messages containing neither "Bob" nor "Marley", nor  their

       "quick fox" quick-fox quick@fox
              Match  the phrase "quick" followed by "fox" in phrase fields (or
              outside a field). Match the literal string in a term field.

       (folder (of (id 1234@invalid)))
              Match any message in the same folder as the one with  Message-Id

       (id 1234@invalid blah@test)
              Matches Message-Id "1234@invalid" or Message-Id "blah@test"

       (and (infix date:2009-11-18..2009-11-18 ) (tag unread))
              Match messages in the given date range with tag unread.

       (starts-with prelim)
              Match any words starting with "prelim".

       (subject quick brown fox )
              Match   messages   whose  subject  contains  "quick"  (anywhere,
              stemmed) and the phrase "brown fox".

       (subject (starts-with prelim))
              Matches any word starting with "prelim", inside a  message  sub‐

       (subject (starts-wih quick) brown fox )
              Match  messages  whose  subject  contains "quick brown fox", but
              also "brown fox quicksand".

       (thread (of (id 1234@invalid)))
              Match any message in the same thread as the one with  Message-Id

       (thread (matching (from (to
              Match  any  (messages  in) a thread containing a message from "‐
    " and a (possibly distinct) message  to  "bob  at

       (to  (or (or (to
              Match  in  the  "To"  or  "Cc"  headers,  "",  "‐
    ",  and  also  ""  since it
              contains the adjacent triple "bob", "example", "com".

       (not (to *))
              Match messages with an empty or invalid 'To' and 'Cc' field.

       (List *)
              Match messages with a non-empty List-Id header, assuming config‐
              uration index.header.List=List-Id


       A macro that takes two parameters and applies different fields to them.

          $ notmuch config set squery.TagSubject '(macro (tagname subj) (and (tag ,tagname) (subject ,subj)))'
          $ notmuch search --query=sexp '(TagSubject inbox maildir)'

       Nested macros are allowed.

          $ notmuch config set squery.Inner '(macro (x) (subject ,x))'
          $ notmuch config set squery.Outer  '(macro (x y) (and (tag ,x) (Inner ,y)))'
          $ notmuch search --query=sexp '(Outer inbox maildir)'

       Parameters  can  be re-used to reduce boilerplate. Any field, including
       user defined fields is permitted within a macro.

          $ notmuch config set squery.About '(macro (name) (or (subject ,name) (List ,name)))'
          $ notmuch search --query=sexp '(About notmuch)'


       [1]  Technically macros impliment lazy evaluation  and  lexical  scope.
            There is one top level scope containing all macro definitions, but
            all parameter definitions are local to a given macro.

       [2]  a.k.a. prefixes

       [3]  a.k.a. probabilistic prefixes

       [4]  a.k.a. boolean prefixes

       [5]  Due to the implemention of phrase fields in Xapian, regex  queries
            could only match individual words.

       [6]  Due  the  the way body is implemented in notmuch, this modifier is
            not supported in the body field.

       [7]  Due to the way recursive path queries are implemented in  notmuch,
            this modifier is not supported in the path field.


       Carl Worth and many others


       2009-2021, Carl Worth and many others