vacation(1)                       User Manuals                       vacation(1)

       vacation - reply to mail automatically

       vacation [ -I | -i ]
       vacation [ -j ] [ -h hostname ] [ -a alias ] [ -tN ] [ -r ] [ -?  ]

       vacation automatically replies to incoming mail.  The reply is contained
       in the file .vacation.msg in your home directory.  The vacation program
       run interactively will create and/or edit a .vacation.msg file in your
       home directory. The old .vacation.msg will be backed up to .vacation.old
       file.  Type vacation with no arguments.  (See USAGE below.)

       For example, the message created by vacation is:
              Subject: away from my mail
              From:  smith (via the vacation program)
              I will not be reading my mail for a while. Your
              mail regarding "$SUBJECT" will be
              read when I return.

       The .vacation.msg file should include a header with at least a `Subject:'
       line (it should not contain a `To:' line and need not contain a `From:'
       line, since these are generated automatically).

       The fields `From', `From:' and `Reply-To:' are evaluated in the following
       order: If there is a `Reply-To:', and the option -r is given, then its
       entry is accepted. Otherwise, the entry of the `From:' field is taken.
       Should this entry lack a complete domain address (e.g. user@site instead
       of user@site.domain), vacation evaluates the `From' field, converting the
       contained UUCP bang path into a domain style address. If this fails too,
       vacation gives up.

       If the string $SUBJECT appears in the .vacation.msg file, it is replaced
       with the subject of the original message when the reply is sent.

       No message is sent if the `To:' or the `Cc:' line does not list the user
       to whom the original message was sent or one of a number of aliases for
       them, if the initial From line includes one of the strings -request@,
       postmaster, uucp, mailer-daemon, mailer or -relay or if a `Precedence:
       bulk' or `Precedence: junk' or `Precedence: list' line is included in the
       header. The search for special senders is made case-independent.

       -I | -i
              Initialize the .vacation.db file and start vacation.

       If the -I flag is not specified, and a user argument is given, vacation
       reads the first line from the standard input (for a `From:' line, no
       colon).  If absent, it produces an error message.  The following options
       may be specified:

       -h hostname
              Force vacation to create emails from hostname rather than the
              default domain name.  This is for situations where you might be
              using it to respond to a virtual domain, for example.

       -a alias
              Indicate that alias is one of the valid aliases for the user
              running vacation, so that mail addressed to that alias generates a

       -j     Do not check whether the recipient appears in the `To:' or the
              `Cc:' line. Reply always.

       -tN    Change the interval between repeat replies to the same sender.  N
              is the number of days between replies. Default is one week.

       -r     If there is a `Reply-To:' header, send the automatic reply to the
              address given there.  Otherwise, use the `From:' entry.

       -?     issue short usage line.

       The vacation, create a .forward file in your home directory containing a
       line of the form:

              \username, "|/usr/bin/vacation username"

       where username is your login name. The original .forward will be backed
       up to .forward.old file.

       Then type in the command:

              vacation -I

       To stop vacation, remove the .forward file, or move it to a new name.

       If vacation is run with no arguments, it will create a new .vacation.msg
       file for you, using the editor specified by the VISUAL or EDITOR
       environment variable, or vi(1) if neither of those environment variables
       are set.  If a .forward file is not present in your home directory, it
       creates it for you, and automatically performs a `vacation -I' function,
       turning on vacation.


       A list of senders is kept in the file .vacation.db in your home

       vi(1), sendmail(8)

       vacation is Copyright (c) 1983 by Eric P. Allman, University of Berkeley,
       California, and Copyright (c) 1993 by Harald Milz ( Tiny
       patches 1998 by Mark Seuffert (

       Previously maintained by Sean Rima (, now
       maintained by Chris Samuel (chrissamuel at and
       Brian May (bmay at

3rd Berkeley Distribution          March 2000                        vacation(1)