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Sympa provides several templates to generate variable texts in system messages, web interface and list configuration.


Sympa adopted Template Toolkit as of version 4.2. Below is an example of template file content:

[%# welcome.tt2 ~%]
From: [% fromlist %]
Subject: [%|qencode%][%|loc(]Welcome to list %1[%END%][%END%]

[%|loc(,]Welcome to list %1@%2[%END%]
[%|loc(]Your subscription email is %1[%END%]

[% TRY %]
[% INSERT "info" %]
[% CATCH %]
[% END %]

[%|loc%]The list homepage:[%END%] [% 'info' | url_abs([]) %]

Variable items and control directives are enclosed in the delimiters [%%], and will be replaced with appropriate texts at run time. See the User Manual to know details about syntax.

Custom filter directives

Sympa also implements some custom filter directives. For example, with the loc filter directive, the text:

[%|loc%]A text[%END%]

will be replaced with localized phrase of A text using translation catalogs (see also “Internationalization”).

See “Filters” in Sympa::Template(3) on custom filter directives provided by Sympa.

Attached message in mail template

Some mail templates may include another mail messages as attachments, i.e. the MIME parts with message/rfc822 type. For example, below is an excerpt from mail_tt2/digest.tt2 for digest (MIME format) messages:

Content-Type: multipart/digest; boundary="[% boundary2 %]"
Mime-Version: 1.0

This is a multi-part message in MIME format...

[% FOREACH m = msg_list -%]
--[% boundary2 %]
Content-Type: message/rfc822
Content-Disposition: inline
X-Sympa-Attach: yes

[%# message inserted here #%]

[% END %]
--[% boundary2 %]--


If a part with X-Sympa-Attach pseudo-header field appears, its body will be replaced with a message, discarding original body. This way, messages may be attached with their contents not being altered.

Line wrapping in mail templates

By default, text body of mail template (except attached part described in above) is wrapped. X-Sympa-NoWrap pseudo-header field prevents line wrapping.


Mail and web template files

Mail template files are used to generate system messages sent by Sympa. To find a mail template file, Sympa searches following directories in order:

Web template files are used to generate content of pages shown by web interface. To find a web template file, Sympa searches following directories in order:

For example, mail_tt2/modindex.tt2 file is used to send content of moderation spool as the result of MODINDEX mail command. On the other hand, web_tt2/modindex.tt2 file is used to generate the page to list messages waiting for moderation.

See also “Location” in “Configuration hierarchy” about location of template files and how to customize them.

Mail and web templates may also be customized according to language contexts: See “Defining language-specific templates” in “Internationalization”.

List creation templates

List creation templates may contain config.tt2 and comment.tt2 files. config.tt2 will be used to generate config file during list creation. See “Typical list profile” in “List creation”.

Family feature may generate more list configuration files using template. See “Using family for details.

To know how to generate template files using template, see also “Custom tag delimiters”.

Archive template

mhonarc_rc.tt2 is used to generate message archives available on web interface. It may be customized by each mail domain and/or each list: See “Location in “Configuration hierarchy”.

Custom tag delimiters are used in this file.


  • On Sympa 6.2.60 or earlier, the name of this file was mhonarc-ressources.tt2 (take care of spelling), and the variable tag delimiters were used.

Template file for mail aliases

list_aliases.tt2 is used by alias manager of Sympa to generate mail aliases so that message delivery agent (MDA) will be able to recognize list addresses. It may be customized by each mail domain: See “Location in “Configuration hierarchy”.

Other uses

(Work in progress)

Custom tag delimiters

In some cases, a template have to generate another template. To avoid breaking template syntax, custom tag delimiters are useful.


To include a setting in the list creation template:

custom_subject [% %]:[% list.sequence %]

use custom tag delimiters in config.tt2 as below:


[% TAGS <+ +> %]
custom_subject [% %]:[% list.sequence %]
<+ TAGS [% %] +>


By the first TAGS directive, special meaning of “[% ... %]” is dropped. Then by the second TAGS, its meaning is restored.

Template plugins

You can extend syntax of template by writing Perl module. See “Template plugins”.

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