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Tags special to notmuch

This page describes the tags that the notmuch lib, cli, and emacs ui recognize and treat specially, and whether these tags can be configured.

Tags special to lib

None of the tags recognized by the lib are configurable.

Synchronization between tags and maildir flags

The above tags are recognized by the lib, and synchronized with the corresponding maildir flags through the following lib function calls:

The cli calls the above functions if the maildir.synchronize_flags configuration option is enabled. Maildir flags are synchronized to tags in "notmuch new", and tags are synchronized to maildir flags in "notmuch tag" and "notmuch restore".

(*) The "deleted" tag is not synced to maildir T flag at the moment, but it may be in the future.

Automatic tags

The above tags are assigned to messages that have an attachment, or are signed or encrypted, when adding a message to the database through the lib function call:

The cli calls the above function in "notmuch new".

Tags special to cli

All of the tags recognized by the cli are configurable.

Default tags for new messages

These are the tags assigned to new message by default. The tags can be changed using the new.tags configuration option.

(*) The "new" tag is by no means special or default, but it is documented here as the typically used intermediate tag to use between "notmuch tag" and a post-new tagging script. See Initial Tagging.

Default excluded tags

These are the default tags used for excluding messages from search results. The tags can be changed using the search.exclude_tags configuration option.

Tags special to Emacs UI

All of the tags recognized by the emacs ui are configurable.

Reading mail

The elementary mail reading commands automatically remove the tag(s) specified by notmuch-show-mark-read-tags ("unread" by default) when visiting a message, and remove the tag(s) specified by notmuch-archive-tags ("inbox" by default) when archiving a message.


The tag(s) specified by notmuch-message-replied-tags ("replied" by default) are added to messages that are replied to, and "flagged" messages are highlighted through notmuch-search-line-faces by default.

(*) There are patches to tag, untag, and hide "deleted" tagged messages, but they have not been merged at the time of writing this.