computer image

Technology Tip of the Month

June, 1997: Forwarding Mail

by Deborah Healey

Forward mailIt's school leaving time in the US, and students often have questions about what will happen to their email once they're gone. (This tip will be useful for teachers who move from one place to another, too.) The exact mechanism of forwarding mail will depend on the school and mail system being used, but this month's tip will cover the procedure on one of the most common types of systems: a Unix system where students can use Pine, Elm, or Unix Mail. There's a brief note about how to forward in CC:Mail, too.

If you're not sure if your mail is on a Unix system, ask your computer center. This tip will also only work for those who can do more than just mail on the system-- you will need to be able to save a file in your directory for this to work.

bounceThe following steps assume you are using Pine as the mail system; a few variations follow this description. It also assumes you have an email address to forward your mail to, and that you aren't immediately removed from the system once you leave. Most postmasters will give at least a month's grace before sending messages back to the sender with the dreaded bounce.

  1. Log onto your system. You should see a % prompt.
  2. Type pico .forward (and press Return).
    Notice that there is a period in front of the word forward--it's important.
  3. You'll see a blank screen that looks just like the message space in Pine. Pico is the word-processor used in Pine, so it's no surprise. Now you'll type the address that the mail is to be forwarded from, then the address to forward it to, separated by a comma:
      Oldaddress, newaddress
    For example, I can forward mail from a mailbox I don't use much at to a mailbox I use much more at by typing:
  4. Save the file with Control-X (make sure the name is .forward). That's it!

If you are using Elm or Unix Mail, you will probably need to use a program called vi to create your message. Make sure you get instructions before venturing into vi land, as it is among the most obscure of Unix tools. An alternative is to create the simple file in a word-processor, save it as plain text (that's important!), then upload it to your directory on the server using a program like Fetch or FTP. It should be at the same level as your mail file.

For those using CCMail, life is even easier. You'll pull down the Create menu to Out of Office Rule, select Forward, then type in the address to forward the mail to. You can select Always or a specific period of time. It's one of the few things I like about CC:Mail.

See Other tech tips

If you have questions, comments, or for more information, contact Deborah Healey, dhealey AT uoregon DOT edu
Last updated 26 June, 2009