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Email::MIME - easy MIME message handling


version 1.954


Wait! Before you read this, maybe you just need Email::Stuffer, which is a much easier-to-use tool for building simple email messages that might have attachments or both plain text and HTML. If that doesn't do it for you, then by all means keep reading.

  use Email::MIME;
  my $parsed = Email::MIME->new($message);

  my @parts = $parsed->parts; # These will be Email::MIME objects, too.
  my $decoded = $parsed->body;
  my $non_decoded = $parsed->body_raw;

  my $content_type = $parsed->content_type;


  use Email::MIME;
  use IO::All;

  # multipart message
  my @parts = (
          attributes => {
              filename     => "report.pdf",
              content_type => "application/pdf",
              encoding     => "quoted-printable",
              name         => "2004-financials.pdf",
          body => io( "2004-financials.pdf" )->binary->all,
          attributes => {
              content_type => "text/plain",
              disposition  => "attachment",
              charset      => "US-ASCII",
          body_str => "Hello there!",

  my $email = Email::MIME->create(
      header_str => [
          From => '',
          To => [ '', 'Name <>' ],
          Cc => Email::Address::XS->new("Display Name \N{U+1F600}", ''),
      parts      => [ @parts ],

  # nesting parts
        Email::MIME->create( parts => [ @parts ] ),

  # standard modifications
  $email->header_str_set( 'X-PoweredBy' => 'RT v3.0'      );
  $email->header_str_set( To            => rcpts()        );
  $email->header_str_set( Cc            => aux_rcpts()    );
  $email->header_str_set( Bcc           => sekrit_rcpts() );

  # more advanced
  $_->encoding_set( 'base64' ) for $email->parts;

  # Quick multipart creation
  my $email = Email::MIME->create(
      header_str => [
          From => 'my@address',
          To   => 'your@address',
      parts => [
          q[This is part one],
          q[This is part two],
          q[These could be binary too],

  print $email->as_string;


This is an extension of the Email::Simple module, to handle MIME encoded messages. It takes a message as a string, splits it up into its constituent parts, and allows you access to various parts of the message. Headers are decoded from MIME encoding.


This library should run on perls released even a long time ago. It should work on any version of perl released in the last five years.

Although it may work on older versions of perl, no guarantee is made that the minimum required version will not be increased. The version may be increased for any reason, and there is no promise that patches will be accepted to lower the minimum required perl.


Please see Email::Simple for the base set of methods. It won't take very long. Added to that, you have:


  my $single = Email::MIME->create(
    header_str => [ ... ],
    body_str   => '...',
    attributes => { ... },

  my $multi = Email::MIME->create(
    header_str => [ ... ],
    parts      => [ ... ],
    attributes => { ... },

This method creates a new MIME part. The header_str parameter is a list of headers pairs to include in the message. The value for each pair is expected to be a text string that will be MIME-encoded as needed. Alternatively it can be an object with as_mime_string method which implements conversion of that object to MIME-encoded string. That object method is called with two named input parameters: charset and header_name_length. It should return MIME-encoded representation of the object. As of 2017-07-25, the header-value-as-object code is very young, and may yet change.

In case header name is registered in %Email::MIME::Header::header_to_class_map hash then registered class is used for conversion from Unicode string to 8bit MIME encoding. Value can be either string or array reference to strings. Object is constructed via method from_string with string value (or values in case of array reference) and converted to MIME-encoded string via as_mime_string method.

A similar header parameter can be provided in addition to or instead of header_str. Its values will be used verbatim.

attributes is a hash of MIME attributes to assign to the part, and may override portions of the header set in the header parameter. The hash keys correspond directly to methods for modifying a message. The allowed keys are: content_type, charset, name, format, boundary, encoding, disposition, and filename. They will be mapped to "$attr\_set" for message modification.

The parts parameter is a list reference containing Email::MIME objects. Elements of the parts list can also be a non-reference string of data. In that case, an Email::MIME object will be created for you. Simple checks will determine if the part is binary or not, and all parts created in this fashion are encoded with base64, just in case.

If body is given instead of parts, it specifies the body to be used for a flat (subpart-less) MIME message. It is assumed to be a sequence of octets.

If body_str is given instead of body or parts, it is assumed to be a character string to be used as the body. If you provide a body_str parameter, you must provide charset and encoding attributes.


  $email->content_type_set( 'text/html' );

Change the content type. All Content-Type header attributes will remain intact.





  $email->charset_set( 'UTF-8' );
  $email->name_set( 'some_filename.txt' );
  $email->format_set( 'flowed' );
  $email->boundary_set( undef ); # remove the boundary

These four methods modify common Content-Type attributes. If set to undef, the attribute is removed. All other Content-Type header information is preserved when modifying an attribute.




Gets/sets the current encode_check setting (default: FB_CROAK). This is the parameter passed to "decode" in Encode and "encode" in Encode when body_str(), body_str_set(), and create() are called.

With the default setting, Email::MIME may crash if the claimed charset of a body does not match its contents (for example - utf8 data in a text/plain; charset=us-ascii message).

With an encode_check of 0, the unrecognized bytes will instead be replaced with the REPLACEMENT CHARACTER (U+0FFFD), and may end up as either that or question marks (?).

See "Handling Malformed Data" in Encode for more information.


  $email->encoding_set( 'base64' );
  $email->encoding_set( 'quoted-printable' );
  $email->encoding_set( '8bit' );

Convert the message body and alter the Content-Transfer-Encoding header using this method. Your message body, the output of the body() method, will remain the same. The raw body, output with the body_raw() method, will be changed to reflect the new encoding.


  $email->body_set( $unencoded_body_string );

This method will encode the new body you send using the encoding specified in the Content-Transfer-Encoding header, then set the body to the new encoded body.



This method behaves like body_set, but assumes that the given value is a Unicode string that should be encoded into the message's charset before being set.

The charset must already be set, either manually (via the attributes argument to create or charset_set) or through the Content-Type of a parsed message. If the charset can't be determined, an exception is thrown.


  $email->disposition_set( 'attachment' );

Alter the Content-Disposition of a message. All header attributes will remain intact.


  $email->filename_set( 'boo.pdf' );

Sets the filename attribute in the Content-Disposition header. All other header information is preserved when setting this attribute.


  $email->parts_set( \@new_parts );

Replaces the parts for an object. Accepts a reference to a list of Email::MIME objects, representing the new parts. If this message was originally a single part, the Content-Type header will be changed to multipart/mixed, and given a new boundary attribute.


  $email->parts_add( \@more_parts );

Adds MIME parts onto the current MIME part. This is a simple extension of parts_set to make our lives easier. It accepts an array reference of additional parts.


  $email->walk_parts(sub {
      my ($part) = @_;
      return if $part->subparts; # multipart

      if ( $part->content_type =~ m[text/html]i ) {
          my $body = $part->body;
          $body =~ s/<link [^>]+>//; # simple filter example
          $part->body_set( $body );

Walks through all the MIME parts in a message and applies a callback to each. Accepts a code reference as its only argument. The code reference will be passed a single argument, the current MIME part within the top-level MIME object. All changes will be applied in place.

Achtung! Beware this method! In Email::MIME, it means the same as header_str, but on an Email::Simple object, it means header_raw. Unless you always know what kind of object you have, you could get one of two significantly different behaviors.

Try to use either header_str or header_raw as appropriate.


  $email->header_str_set($header_name => @value_strings);

This behaves like header_raw_set, but expects Unicode (character) strings as the values to set, rather than pre-encoded byte strings. It will encode them as MIME encoded-words if they contain any control or 8-bit characters.

Alternatively, values can be objects with as_mime_string method. Same as in method create.


  my @pairs = $email->header_str_pairs;

This method behaves like header_raw_pairs, returning a list of field name/value pairs, but the values have been decoded to character strings, when possible.


  my $first_obj = $email->header_as_obj($field);
  my $nth_obj   = $email->header_as_obj($field, $index);
  my @all_objs  = $email->header_as_obj($field);

  my $nth_obj_of_class  = $email->header_as_obj($field, $index, $class);
  my @all_objs_of_class = $email->header_as_obj($field, undef, $class);

This method returns an object representation of the header value. It instances new object via method from_mime_string of specified class. Input argument for that class method is list of the raw MIME-encoded values. If class argument is not specified then class name is taken from the hash %Email::MIME::Header::header_to_class_map via key field. Use class method Email::MIME::Header->set_class_for_header($class, $field) for adding new mapping.


This returns a list of Email::MIME objects reflecting the parts of the message. If it's a single-part message, you get the original object back.

In scalar context, this method returns the number of parts.

This is a stupid method. Don't use it.


This returns a list of Email::MIME objects reflecting the parts of the message. If it's a single-part message, this method returns an empty list.

In scalar context, this method returns the number of subparts.


This decodes and returns the body of the object as a byte string. For top-level objects in multi-part messages, this is highly likely to be something like "This is a multi-part message in MIME format."


This decodes both the Content-Transfer-Encoding layer of the body (like the body method) as well as the charset encoding of the body (unlike the body method), returning a Unicode string.

If the charset is known, it is used. If there is no charset but the content type is either text/plain or text/html, us-ascii is assumed. Otherwise, an exception is thrown.


This returns the body of the object, but doesn't decode the transfer encoding.


This method is called before the Email::MIME::Encodings decode method, to decode the body of non-binary messages (or binary messages, if the force_decode_hook method returns true). By default, this method does nothing, but subclasses may define behavior.

This method could be used to implement the decryption of content in secure email, for example.


This is a shortcut for access to the content type header.


This provides the suggested filename for the attachment part. Normally it will return the filename from the headers, but if filename is passed a true parameter, it will generate an appropriate "stable" filename if one is not found in the MIME headers.


  my $filename = Email::MIME->invent_filename($content_type);

This routine is used by filename to generate filenames for attached files. It will attempt to choose a reasonable extension, falling back to dat.


  my $description = $email->debug_structure;

This method returns a string that describes the structure of the MIME entity. For example:

  + multipart/alternative; boundary="=_NextPart_2"; charset="BIG-5"
    + text/plain
    + text/html


The variable $Email::MIME::MAX_DEPTH is the maximum depth of parts that will be processed. It defaults to 10, already higher than legitimate mail is ever likely to be. This value may go up over time as the parser is improved.

The variable $Email::MIME::MAX_PARTS is the maximum number of parts that will be processed. It defaults to 100, already higher than legitimate mail is ever likely to be. This value may go up over time as the parser is improved or as research suggests that our starting position was wrong.

Increasing either of these variables risks significant consumption of memory. Test before changing things.




This module was generously sponsored by Best Practical (, Pete Sergeant, and


  • Ricardo SIGNES <>

  • Casey West <>

  • Simon Cozens <>


  • Alex Vandiver <>

  • Anirvan Chatterjee <>

  • Arthur Axel 'fREW' Schmidt <>

  • Brian Cassidy <>

  • Damian Lukowski <>

  • Dan Book <>

  • David Steinbrunner <>

  • Dotan Dimet <>

  • dxdc <>

  • Eric Wong <>

  • Geraint Edwards <>

  • ivulfson <>

  • Jesse Luehrs <>

  • Kurt Anderson <>

  • Lance A. Brown <>

  • Matthew Horsfall <>

  • memememomo <>

  • Michael McClimon <>

  • Mishrakk <>

  • Pali <>

  • Ricardo Signes <>

  • Ricardo Signes <>

  • Shawn Sorichetti <>

  • Tomohiro Hosaka <>


This software is copyright (c) 2004 by Simon Cozens and Casey West.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.