Opera Mail Tutorial

Advanced tips and solutions

The list below contains topics with advanced tips, information to help you solve problems, and ways to find more help for Opera Mail.

Select the arrow to view each topic below, or select the Expand All button to view all topics at once.


IMAP organizes your email messages on the mail server. Regardless of where you are when you look at your email, you will see the same messages organized the same way, even if you use different computers.

Setting up an IMAP account

Before attempting to set up an IMAP account, make sure the email service you are using supports it. Then follow the procedure for POP and select IMAP instead of POP when asked. Do not set up an email account to use both POP and IMAP simultaneously as this is likely to cause problems. Therefore, use either POP or IMAP for each account.

Using IMAP

When your IMAP folder has been set up, and all messages are downloaded to your computer, your IMAP folder tree appears in the "Mail" panel under "Mail for...".

The INBOX folder is the default folder for incoming messages and cannot be deleted. Click it to read your messages. Reading and sending messages over IMAP is similar to working with POP.

Maintaining IMAP folders

Go to Mail > IMAP folders to customize your IMAP folder tree. Click the checkboxes to select which IMAP folders you want to access from your computer.

Note that when you delete an IMAP folder from the mail server, all messages in that folder will be lost.

To move a message from one IMAP folder to another, drag the message from the message view and drop it in the new folder.


Account options are the same as for POP, with these additions:

  • You can set the path to your IMAP root folder (if indicated by service provider)
  • You can choose a folder on the IMAP server where you store messages sent from your IMAP account

Note: To take full advantage of IMAP capabilities, you should be connected to the Internet.

Exporting messages

If you want to export your email messages from Opera for use with a clean Opera install or a different email client, the easiest way is to make sure all incoming message types are displayed in the Received view. Then rightCtrl-clicking it and selecting Export. Opera will then export all the messages in the selected view to a single, compressed file that is convenient for import.

Note that any view in the mail panel can be exported individually. This includes sent messages and drafts.

Create message templates

You can use Opera's notes feature to create message templates. Open the Notes panel and create a folder to store your templates. Add a new note and add the template for your message as the note text. Whenever you want to use this template, either select the note in the Notes panel and double-click it, or right-click a message composition window, and pick the template from the Insert note sub-menu.

Thanks to Mark Schenk for this idea.

You can also create message templates using drafts:

  1. Open a message composition window and create the message template. The draft is automatically saved in the Drafts view.
  2. Create a new custom label to store your templates.
  3. Check Hide messages from other views in the label properties.
  4. Select OK to save your changes.
  5. Drag the message template from Drafts view to Templates view.
  6. To use the template, select it from the created label and compose your message.

Thanks to MarcFou for this idea.

Use Opera Mail offline

For IMAP messages, you need to download the full message content first. To do this:

  1. Select Mail and Chat Accounts.
  2. Highlight your IMAP account and select Edit .
  3. Select Incoming and check Download message body when checking .
  4. Select OK . When the system checks for messages, both bodies and headers are retrieved and you can read them later when you're offline.

To read and compose messages offline:

  1. Select Settings > Work offline to avoid Opera connecting to the Internet unless explicitly told to do so. While offline, replies and sent messages remain queued in the Outbox view.
  2. When you are next online in Opera, select Check/Send in the Mail panel, then select Send queued to send replies and retrieve messages.

Change authentication settings

Opera protects your username and password as they are sent to your mail or news server, by supporting a variety of authentication schemes. To help you easily configure your account, Opera Mail automatically tries to find the most secure authentication method your server supports. Unfortunately, this does not always work. If you are receiving authentication errors, try choosing a different authentication method for the server in the account's server properties. The authentication methods are listed in order of security, with the most secure at the top.

Authenticatation for the incoming server is set to "Auto" by default. When the Auto setting us used, the server attempts to use the most secure authentication method available first and, if it fails, tries the next most secure method until one succeeds. Authentication for the outgoing server is enabled by default, and set to "Auto". These authentication settings only control encryption of your username and password. TLS or SSL encrypts mail data, if available. Not all servers support all methods of authentication. To change these settings, see the Edit account topic.

Opera supports:

  • CRAM-MD5, APOP, login, and plaintext authentication for POP accounts
  • CRAM-MD5 and plaintext authentication for IMAP and NNTP accounts
  • CRAM-MD5, login, and plaintext authentication for SMTP accounts.

We are always interested in improving the automatic authentication negotiation. If you run into problems that are solved by changing to another authentication method, please file a bug report (including a log of client server communication) or visit one of the relevant discussions forums.

Outgoing Opera Mail problems

Relay denied error

One of the most common problems users experience when sending email is a “relay access denied” error. Many ISPs are trying to fight spam by making it more difficult for spammers to send their emails. Outgoing mail (SMTP) servers are often configured to only allow outgoing mail from users it recognizes through a process called "SMTP authenication". If you receive a “relay access denied” error, your outgoing mail server probably requires SMTP authenication to send emails. See the above troubleshooting tip for instructions to enable SMTP authentication.

Disable SMTP authentication

Some SMTP servers do not support authentication. If you get an error message from the server when sending mail, try disabling SMTP authentication. To disable SMTP authentication, follow the steps below.

  1. Select Mail and Chat Accounts.
  2. Highlight the relevant account and select Edit.
  3. Select the Servers tab.
  4. In the Authentication field, select None from the drop-down menu.

Enable logging

You can log the communcication between Opera Mail and the email server. If you are filing a bug report and add this log as a text file, it makes it easier for us to investigate the problem.

To activate logging for incoming mail, IMAP or NNTP (news), follow these steps:

  1. Find the location of the accounts.ini file in your mail directory by selecting Help > About Opera and close Opera.
  2. Open the accounts.ini file in a text editor.
  3. For the account in question, find the line marked with "Incoming Log File=".
  4. Enter a path and filename, for example: Incoming Log File=C:\incoming-log.txt.
  5. Save the file and start Opera.
  6. Try to check your mail.

To activate logging for outgoing mail, follow the steps below:

  1. For the account in question, find the line marked with "Outgoing Log File=".
  2. Enter a path and filename, for example: Outgoing Log File=C:\outgoing-log.txt.
  3. Save the file and start Opera.
  4. Try to send mail.

It is a good idea to disable logging again after the relevant information is gathered. Simply leave the "Outgoing Log File=" and "Incoming Log file=" options empty.

Send queued messages after checking email

As an additional step to fight spam, many ISPs require you to check for new email before being able to send messages. Opera allows you to do this by queuing email, then sending it when checking for new messages. To enable this:

  1. Select Mail and Chat Accounts.
  2. Select the relevant account.
  3. Select the Outgoing tab.
  4. Check Queue messages and Send queued email after checking email.

Customize the message reply/follow-up text

You can change the reply/follow-up text attribution line shown at the top of email replies and newsgroup follow-ups. An example of this is "On Wednesday, October 27, 2004, Joe Bloggs <joeb@example.org> wrote:" Use the accounts.ini setting and for email accounts, use the "Reply=" setting, while for news accounts, use "Followup=". The following is a list and description of the available parameters:

Email related:
%n – Name
%e – Email address
%f – Name & email address
Time related:
%a – Abbreviated weekday name
%A – Full weekday name
%b – Abbreviated month name
%B – Full month name
%c – Date and time representation appropriate for locale
%d – Day of month as decimal number (01 - 31)
%H – Hour in 24-hour format (00 - 23)
%I – Hour in 12-hour format (01 - 12)
%j – Day of year as decimal number (001 - 366)
%m – Month as decimal number (01 - 12)
%M – Minute as decimal number (00 - 59)
%p – Current local A.M./P.M. indicator for 12-hour clock
%S – Second as decimal number (00 - 59)
%U – Week of year as decimal number, with Sunday as first day of week (00 - 53)
%w – Weekday as decimal number, with Sunday as first day of week (0 - 6)
%W – Week of year as decimal number, with Monday as first day of week (00 - 53)
%x – Date representation for current locale
%X – Time representation for current locale
%y – Year without century, as decimal number (00 - 99)
%Y – Year with century, as decimal number
%z – Time-zone name
%Z – Time-zone abbreviation
%g – newsgroups
%% – %
\n – newline (that is, move the text following these characters to a new line)
Direct access to headers
%:Headername: (e.g. "Using %:useragent:, %n wrote:")

Syntax of the Message-ID header

The syntax for the message-ID header sent by Opera is described below:

  • It will always start with "op".
  • The next 6 characters are a semi-base36 representation of the time_t returned from ::time() (seconds since 19700101 000000UTC).
  • The next two characters are semi-base36 of either the 10 least significant bits of the milliseconds time of day (for Windows) or a 10-bit random value (all other platforms).
  • The next 6 characters are semi-base36 of either the most significant 4 bytes of a 16-byte MD5 checksum of the From address or a random 32-bit value (if for some reason From is missing).
  • The contents of the Personalization account setting.
  • "@"
  • The contents of the IDNA-version of the "FQDN" account setting.

In short:

<op[seconds since 1970][millisecond|random][md5 of From:|random][personalization]@[idna-fqdn]>

(Semi-base36 is a function that will take modulo-36 of a number and convert this to a character where 'a'=0...'z'=25...'0'=26...'9'=35, and add it to the left of the already calculated string. The number is then divided by 36, and the function loops until it has given the wanted number of characters.)

Personalize the message-ID header

There are two settings that allow you to customize your message-ID header:

This setting is initially empty. You can add a short identifying string (such as "suoc" for "SomeUserOperaCom") to help to identify your messages.
Initially set to your outgoing email (SMTP) server for email accounts and your news (NNTP) server for news accounts, this must be a domain name that actually exists. Many news and email servers will reject messages that do not have at least one “.”, or they will simply append their own FQDN.

Using these settings, you can easily create a label to catch all messages that you have posted to a newsgroup and any replies to those messages (as long as the replier's newsreader correctly cites your message) by labeling for any messages that contain "Personalization@FQDN" in any header. For instance, if Personalization is set to “suoc” and "FQDN" is set to "news.opera.com", create a label for “suoc@news.opera.com”.

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