Multiaccount sidebar in neomutt

mutt is an amazing terminal mail client. It is incredibly fast and customizable although it lacks certain features most people are used to get from their mailing software in 2020. It is however only sparsely developed which is why I use the great neomutt fork, which comes with a few common patches to simplify usage.

Last year the developers behind neomutt started to apply a greater amount of patches to the original mutt source code. While this brings many nice features including autocrypt and others it also “broke” an important feature/bug: the sidebar divider.

If you have not one but a few mail accounts you might want not want to just have a single list of all of your mail folders in your sidebar. Unfortunately, that is the default behaviour in neomutt, which makes it incredibly difficult to find the correct INBOX folder among the three or four equally named choices.

A mitigation, which worked until neomutt version neomutt-20191025 was the usage of dummy mailboxes, which were just named “==== gmail ====” and would serve as a divider between different accounts. Unfortunately in newer versions of neomutt these dummy mailboxes are not shown, since they are no valid maildir folders. This broke not only my config but seemingly the one of a few people (have a look at the corresponding issue on github).

Thankfully github user Austin-Ray did find a solution, which I found the most elegant, although it robs you of your INBOX folder. It is based on the named-mailboxes command and basically renames the INBOX folder so it can be used as a divider:

named-mailboxes "====== miterion ======" "+miterion/INBOX"
mailboxes ="miterion/Drafts"

In addition to that I added the following lines to my .muttrc

set sidebar_short_path
set sidebar_delim_chars="/"
set sidebar_folder_indent
set sidebar_indent_string="  "

This leads to an indented look on your sidebar:

The new sidebar