Composing ask From: address and arbitrary keys in PGP

Ryan Smith GTC at
Thu Aug 1 05:00:26 UTC 2019

On 2019-07-26 19:30, Kevin J. McCarthy wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 26, 2019 at 05:12:08AM +0000, GTC at wrote:
>>1. When composing messages, mutt ask To: or recipient adress and Subject: and then go to editor. How to make mutt ask for From: or sender address only and then go to editor?
> Mutt doesn't have an option for that.  Custom From headers can be
> controlled by folder-hook, reply-hook, send-hook, or even macros;
> typically via setting my_hdr.  $edit_headers is also useful.
> See <> for a (somewhat
> terse) overview of message composition.

As these compose flow suggests, the hooks setting custom header or
my_hdr only work for reply messages, not compose new messages because
my_hdr is set before getting into the editor.  

Because mutt does not ask which email address or identity I use as From:
section, hooks does not know it either and hence will not generate
different headers based on different identities or email addresses
(From: address not To:)

Hooks only work if it knows emails address before getting into editor.

Therefore, maybe mutt should add such a feature, which is very important
for multiple identities or email addresses.

If it ask To: and Subject:, why not ask From:? If people do not want it
and prefer to get into editor directly, they can also turn it off.

>>2. In PGP, mutt has crypt_opportunistic_encrypt to select keys based on To: address to the recipient. But PGP also need From: address or sender's key to encrypt messages
> Encrypting to self is controlled by $pgp_self_encrypt and $pgp_default_key.
>>, sign messages
> The signing key is also controlled by $pgp_default_key, and can be
> overridden by $pgp_sign_as or the compose <pgp-menu> "sign (a)s"
> option.

This works smoothly for one email account or one identity, (people can
set default or one pgp_self_encrypt) but not multiple identities or
email accounts where people do not want default PGP key, but provide me
a list of my own keys to choose from based on From: to encrypt.

In website,, the
instructions are also very short and only for one email accounts.

It is probably a good idea to provide instructions on multiple accounts
and multiple PGP keys. If we know how to do it in multiple email
accounts, we naturally know how to do it in one account.


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