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R2E(1) General Commands Manual R2E(1)


r2e - receive RSS feeds by email


r2e [options] <command> [<args>]


r2e is a simple program which you can run in your crontab(5). It watches RSS feeds and sends you nicely formatted email message for each new item.

For a quick start with r2e try these steps:

r2e new
r2e add feedname http://feed.url/somewhere.rss
r2e run

The last command should eventually be put into your crontab if you want things be sent you automatically.


Print the rss2email help and exit.
Print the rss2email version and exit.
Print the versions of Python, the compiler used to compile Python, and packages used by rss2email.
The program configuration is read from $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/rss2mail.cfg by default (see also FILES and ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES below). Use this option to set a different configuration file.
Dynamic program data is read from $XDG_DATA_HOME/rss2mail.json by default (see also FILES and ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES below). Use this option to set a different data file.
Increment the logging verbosity.


Create a new feed database. If the <email> argument is given, it sets the default email address that mails are sent to.
Update the default target email address to <email>.
Subscribe to a feed. The <name> argument gives the feed a name for future manipulation. <url> is the URL of the feed. The optional <email> argument is the email address to send new items to, overriding the default address for this particular feed. Repeat for each feed you want to subscribe to.

The --only-new option fetches the feed at addition time without sending the entries, making subsequent run execution consider them as already having been sent. It should be used when one is only interested in entries that are not yet in the feed at the time of running add.
Scan the feeds and send emails for new items. This can be run in a cron job.

The --no-send option stops r2e from sending any email. This can be useful the first time you run it, as otherwise it would send an email for every available feed entry.

The --clean option reduces the database size by removing old entries. It forces a download of selected feeds or all feeds, and should only be used weekly or monthly.

If an <index> is specified, r2e will only download that feed. <index> can be either the feed name (as set by add) or the feed index (as shown by list).

List all the feeds in the database.
Pause feeds (disable fetching). The <index> option selects the feed(s) to pause (see run for possible values). If no <index> is given, all feeds are paused.
Unpause feeds (enable fetching).
Remove a feed (or feeds) from the database. The <index> option selects the feed(s) to delete (see run for possible values).
Forget dynamic feed data (e.g. to re-send old entries). The <index> option selects the feed(s) to reset (see run for possible values). If no <index> is given, all feeds are reset.
Import new feeds from OPML. <path> is the file from which the OPML data will be read. If <path> is not given r2e reads the data from stdin.
Export all feeds to OPML. <path> is the file to which the OPML data will be written. If <path> is not given r2e writes the data to stdout.


The program's behavior can be controlled via the $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/rss2email.cfg (see also FILES and ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES below). The file format is similar to a Microsoft Windows INI file. It is parsed by Python's ConfigParser class, so see the Python documentation at for format details.

The config file stores general configuration (applied to all feeds) in the [DEFAULT] section. The new command will create a configuration file for you, which you can edit as you see fit. The add command will add feed-specific sections. To override any a setting for all feeds, change the value in the [DEFAULT] section. To override a setting for a particular feed, add that setting to the feed-specific section. Here is an example overriding use-publisher-email and name-format for the feedname feed.

from = user@rss2email.invalid
force-from = False
use-publisher-email = False
name-format = {feed-title}: {author}

... verbose = warning [feed.feedname] url = http://feed.url/somewhere.rss use-publisher-email = True name-format = {author} ({feed.title})

You can configure the following items:


The email address messages are from by default
Transfer-Encoding. For local mailing it is safe and convenient to use 8bit.
True: Only use the 'from' address. False: Use the email address specified by the feed, when possible.
True: Use the publisher's email if you can't find the author's. False: Just use the 'from' email instead.
If empty, only use the feed email address rather than friendly name plus email address. Available attributes may include 'feed', 'feed-name', 'feed-url', 'feed-title', 'author', and 'publisher', but only 'feed', 'feed-name', and 'feed-url' are guaranteed.
Set this to default To email addresses.


Set an HTTP proxy (e.g. '')
Set the timeout (in seconds) for feed server response


True: Fetch, process, and email feeds. False: Don't fetch, process, or email feeds
True: Send a single, multi-entry email per feed per rss2email run. False: Send a single email per entry.
Message content-type for digests. Valid values are 'multipart/digest' and 'multipart/mixed'. The former is the default, but many mail user agents do not support it.
True: Generate Date header based on item's date, when possible. False: Generate Date header based on time sent.
A comma-delimited list of some combination of ('issued', 'created', 'modified', 'expired') expressing ordered list of preference in dates to use for the Date header of the email.
Set this to add bonus headers to all emails Example: bonus-header = 'Approved:'
True: Receive one email per post. False: Receive an email every time a post changes.
True: Receive one email per unique link url. False: Defer to trust-guid preference. Toggling this for existing feeds may result in duplicates, because the old entries will not be recorded under their new link-based ids.
To most correctly encode emails with international characters, we iterate through the list below and use the first character set that works.
User processing hooks. Note the space after the module name. Example: post-process = 'rss2email.post_process.downcase downcase_message'
User processing hooks for digest messages. If 'digest' is enabled, the usual 'post-process' hook gets to message the per-entry messages, but this hook is called with the full digest message before it is mailed. Example: digest-post-process = 'rss2email.post_process.downcase downcase_message'
The format for the Subject line. Available attributes are 'feed', 'feed-name', 'feed-url', 'feed-title'.

HTML conversion

True: Send text/html messages when possible. False: Convert HTML to plain text.
Optional CSS styling

html2text options

Use Unicode characters instead of their ascii psuedo-replacements
Put the links after each paragraph instead of at the end.
Use inline, rather than reference, formatting for images and links.
Wrap links according to body width.
Wrap long lines at position. Any negative value for no wrapping, 0 for 78 width (compatibility), or any positive width.


Select protocol from: sendmail, smtp, imap, maildir
Path to sendmail (or compatible)

SMTP configuration

Set to True to use SMTP AUTH
username for SMTP AUTH
password for SMTP AUTH
SMTP server
Connect to the SMTP server using SSL

IMAP configuration

set to True to use IMAP auth.
username for IMAP authentication
password for IMAP authentication
IMAP server
IMAP port
connect to the IMAP server using SSL
where we should store new messages

Maildir configuration

Path of maildir to write messages into
Mailbox within maildir-path to write messages into


String to use as HTTP User-Agent in web requests and as the User-Agent header in outgoing emails. If present, __VERSION__ and __URL__ are replaced with rss2email version number and webpage.
Verbosity (one of 'error', 'warning', 'info', or 'debug').


If this file exists, it is read to configure the program.
The database of feeds. Use r2e to add, remove, or modify feeds, do not edit it directly.


The environment variables used by r2e are all defined in the XDG Base Directory Specification, which aims to standardize locations for user-specific configuration and data files.

The preferred directory for configuration files. Defaults to $HOME/.config.
The preferred directory for data files. Defaults to $HOME/.local/share.
The preferred directory for lockfiles. Defaults to /tmp/rss2email-UID
A colon ':' separated, preference ordered list of base directories for configuration files in addition to $XDG_CONFIG_HOME. Defaults to /etc/xdg. If multiple configuration files are found in this path, they will all be read by the ConfigParser class (see also CONFIGURATION above).
A colon ':' separated, preference ordered list of base directories for data files. Defaults to /usr/local/share/:/usr/share/. Only the first matching file is used.


rss2email was started by Aaron Swartz, and is currently maintained by a group of people. For a more complete list of contributors, see the AUTHORS file in the rss2email distribution.


Report bugs by creating an issue at