JIRA Advanced Mail Handler

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An extension of the default email handler that allows users to define a new issue's project, type, priority, reporter, components, etc... in the email message.


JIRA Advanced Mail Handler




4.0 (23 Sep 2013)

Product Versions

JIRA 6.1.7

Current Maintainer

Brice Copy, CERN


Daniele Raffo, CERN (Creator), Roberto Manicardi, Gustavo Fernandes Nalle, Drake Philbrook, David Leinbach, Rafal Niesler (CERN)



Plugin Exchange Page






Issue Tracking

NONE YET - ATLASSIAN kindly kicked us out

Source Tracking

JMH project at GitHub


Plugin JAR advanced-mail-handler-4.0.jar

Old Versions

advanced-mail-handler-3.5.jar advanced-mail-handler-3.3.jar advanced-mail-handler-3.0.zip advanced-mail-handler-3.2.zip

Description and Features

The JIRA Advanced Mail Handler is an extension of the standard JIRA email handler; it allows users to define many fields of the newly created issue (reporter, project key, type, priority, affected components, etc.) directly in the body of the email message. Hence, one of its notable features is that you do not need to repeat the whole process (opening a mail account on your mailserver, creating a mail account in JIRA, associate a handler service to the mail account and configure it) for each project you have in your JIRA installation; you just do the process once, setting a global mail account and handler service that will receive messages for all projects.


This tool was developed exclusively for CERN needs, and was not intended to be used by anyone else. In the best open source spirit, knowing it might be useful for others, I made it available to the community. Hence it is available "as is" under BSD license, with no guarantees whatsoever; you are welcome to download and use it, however, neither CERN nor the author (I) guarantees any support.

This software is not under active development, so no bugfix or new feature are planned for release. But if you are interested in helping out with the whole project feel free to contact me.


You don't need to compile the source code yourself unless of course you want to customize it. The code has been written for the JDK 1.6 and utilizes Maven for the build: use the command mvn clean package to generate (in the target directory) the file emailhandler-4.0.jar.


Simply upload the JAR to your production instance (Administration > Manage add-ons > Upload add-on).


Once the Handler is installed, you need to configure and activate it. This is done similarly as for the standard handler, as described in http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/docs/latest/issue_creation_email.html http://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA040/Creating+Issues+and+Comments+from+Email: please read that page first, here I leave out some details and I describe only the steps that differ.
The procedure is as follows:

  • Go to Administration > System > Mail > Incoming Mail;
  • Add a POP/IMAP mail server, for instance issues@yourcompany.com.
  • Add a new Mail Handler, enter:
    • Name - name of the mail handler;
    • Server - mail server to use (the one created in the previous step);
    • Delay - how often handler will check mail server for new mail;
    • Handler - instance of mail handler to use (select Advanced Create Or Comment Handler).
  • Click Next and enter handler parameters (comma-separated string) as follows:
    • The project parameter is the key of the default project. An issue is assigned to this default project if the user did not specify any project key, or specified an inexistent project key, in the email message. This parameter is optional, but I recommend to set it.
    • The issuetype parameter is a number specifying the default issue type, and the association between numbers and issue types are explained in http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/docs/latest/issue_creation_email.html#handler_params
      http://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRA040/Creating+Issues+and+Comments+from+Email#CreatingIssuesandCommentsfromEmail-HandlerParameters. An issue is assigned to this default type if the user did not specify the issue type in the email message. This parameter is mandatory.
    • The jiraemail parameter must be set to the address of the IMAP account, in our example issues@yourcompany.com. This parameter is mandatory.
    • If an alternate email address for jiraemail exists (for instance in the LDAP database of your company), the jiraalias parameter can be set to this alternate address. This parameter is optional.
    • The optional component parameter allows you to assign all incoming issues to a specific project component, if no component was specified explicitly in the email. You must use the exact component name as value for this parameter.
    • The other parameters are the same as the ones defined for the default handler.
  • Click Add to activate mail handler.


To comment an already existing issue, the usage is the same as the default handler: just mention the issue number in the Subject: of the email message. The body of the email will become the comment on the issue. You can also send attachments with your email, which will become attachments on the issue (if attachments have been enabled in JIRA).

On the other hand, the Advanced Mail Handler allows you to define several fields when creating an issue. This is done by adding one or more tags in the text of the Subject: header, in the format #TAG-NAME=tag-value or #TAG-NAME=tag-value1,tag-value2,tag-value3.... The tag must not contain any space, i.e. there is no space character around the equal sign or the commas.

(warning) Some user reported problems when sending HTML email messages. I recommend that you use plaintext format whenever possible (which is also recommended by the Netiquette).


You can specify the project in two ways:

  • by addressing the message to project-key <issues@yourcompany.com>. This address can be put in the To:, Cc:, or Bcc: header at your choice.
  • by adding the tag #PROJECT=project-key in the Subject: header. This overrides the project key in the address.

You always send the email to issues@yourcompany.com (or the address defined in the jiraalias parameter as well); what changes is that in the first way you add the project key as the Full Name part of the address.
For your comfort, you can create an entry in your address book for each project you're working on, with the project key as the Full Name and issues@yourcompany.com (which will be the same for all projects) as the Email Address.
If you do not specify a valid project, the issue is created in the default project defined as the project parameter.


Some mailclient (as Microsoft Outlook) does not give the user full control concerning the recipient address in the composing mail interface; for instance, if your company uses a LDAP database and issues@yourcompany.com has a record in it, these mailclients will not allow you to choose a Full Name for that email address and stubbornly put the Full Name defined in the database instead, no matter what you write. Also, some mailclient shows only the recipient Full Name and not the real email address, so it is difficult to tell who you are sending mail to. In this case you need to follow the second way and specify the project in the Subject: header.
The mailclient might also convert issues@yourcompany.com to the alias defined in the LDAP database, e.g. Jira.Issues@yourcompany.com. In this case, in addition to setting jiraemail to issues@yourcompany.com, you must also set the optional jiraalias parameter to Jira.Issues@yourcompany.com.
Nevertheless, to avoid all these hassles, my advice is to switch to a better mailclient - I personally recommend Thunderbird or SeaMonkey.

The jiraemail and jiraalias parameters have the purpose to ensure that a message was addressed to JIRA, so that spam does not go processed or, worse, ends up as an issue to the default project. If you see an ERROR [cern.jira.emailhandler.MessageParser] Jira email address not found amongst recipients in the logs, you specified these parameters incorrectly or you are sending the email message to the wrong address.


The jiraemail parameter is case sensitive.


As with the standard handler, you write the Summary of the issue in the Subject: of the email.

If you do not write any summary, the issue will be created with a summary text "(no summary)". However, it is recommended that you put a meaningful summary so all JIRA users can identify the issue.

(info) The Subject: header can also contain several tags (explained further), which will not be included in the summary. These tags must be separated by spaces, and may be in any order.

(minus) You should not use special characters (letters with acute/grave accents, diaeresis, tilde, etc.) in the subject line. Please use only ASCII-7¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ characters.


As with the standard handler, you write the full Description of the issue in the body of the email.
You can also send attachments with your email, which will become attachments on the issue (if attachments have been enabled in JIRA).


As with the standard handler, the Reporter of the issue is identified as the sender of the email (you).

However, you might have more than one JIRA account associated with your email address, you might want to indicate another person as reporter, or you might be sending the email from another email account. In this case, you can explicitly specify the reporter by adding the tag #REPORTER=username in the Subject: header.


As with the standard handler, the first Cc'ed person that is also a valid Jira user and a valid assignee for the concerned project becomes the Assignee.

As one person can have multiple JIRA usernames associated with his email account, you can explicitly set the assignee's username by adding the tag #ASSIGNEE=username in the Subject: header. This overrides the Cc'ed assignee.

If you do not specify any valid assignee, the issue is assigned to the Default Assignee.

Issue type

You can specify the issue Type by adding one of the following tags to the Subject: #BUG, #NEWFEATURE, #IMPROVEMENT, #TASK, or #SUBTASK.

If you do not specify it, the issue will be of the type specified in the issuetype parameter.


You can specify the Priority of the issue by adding one of the following tags to the Subject: #BLOCKER, #CRITICAL, #MAJOR, #MINOR, or #TRIVIAL.

This option was managed by the default handler by looking at the X-Priority: header of the email, but I implemented it as such because many mailclients do not permit to set custom headers easily.


You can associate an issue to one or more Components of the project by adding the tag #COMPONENT=component-name to the Subject:. To specify multiple components, separate the components by a comma, as in #COMPONENT=first-component-name,second-component-name,third-component-name. Note that there is no space inside the whole tag.

(info) If a component name contains any space, you must replace the space by two underscore characters. For instance, #COMPONENT=Test__Component associates the issue to Test Component.

If you specify no or invalid component, the issue gets associated by default to No Component.


To set a time Estimate to the issue, add the tag #EST=time-estimate. For instance, #EST=1h.

Due Date

To set a Due Date to the issue, add the tag #DUE=YYYY-MM-DD.


Example I


The minimal email message you can send is summarized below:

To: issues@yourcompany.com
Subject: #PROJECT=XYZ Race condition

A problem of race condition occurs when... etc.

This creates an issue of type specified in issuetype and of default priority (usually Major), on the project that has key XYZ, summarized as "Race condition".
You may also write the email in this format if your mailclient allows you to set the Full Name in the address:

To: XYZ <issues@yourcompany.com>
Subject: Race condition

A problem of race condition occurs when... etc.

Example II


Let's say you want to issue an improvement request of critical priority on the component core-alarms of project ABC, summarize it as "Alert user when a buffer overflow is reported", and assign it to John Hacker (John.Hacker@cern.ch).
You would usually Cc the message to John.Hacker@cern.ch; however, John Hacker has two JIRA accounts, jhacker and admin, associated with his email address, and you'd like to unambiguously assign the issue to the former.
Then you have to write an email as follows:

To: issues@yourcompany.com
Subject: #IMPROVEMENT #CRITICAL #PROJECT=ABC Alert user when a buffer overflow is reported #COMPONENT=core-alarms #ASSIGNEE=jhacker

It is crucial to show a visual warning to the user in case of a buffer overflow... etc.

Note that you can specify tags in any order and in any position, and they will not be included in the issue's summary.

Example III


To comment issue ABC-7¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿, simply write the following email:

To: issues@yourcompany.com
Subject: ABC-7

My comment on this issue is... etc.

This is the usage of the standard JIRA email handler, and is left unmodified in the Advanced Mail Handler.


If you cannot get the Advanced Mail Handler to work, try the following:

  • Read again this instruction page and the comments; it is easy to miss something the first time.
  • Examine the JIRA logs to see what is going wrong.
  • Check the incoming email in the mail server account (where the Advanced Mail Handler fetches the mail from).
  • Try to uninstall the Advanced Mail Handler and to use the default mail handler instead. If it fails too, chances are that some of your JIRA components (email server, services, project keys...) are misconfigured. In this case, escalate the problem and ask the general JIRA support for help.
  • Using the Advanced Mail Handler, see if the problem persists when sending an email message in plaintext and with no attachments, as MIME parts may confuse the handler.

Tips and Tricks

If you prefer to have one email address for each project, like the standard email handler, just proceed as follows.
Create a mail server account for the first project, add a new mail handler and associate the Advanced Create or Comment Handler to it, as explained in the Configuration section above. Specify the email address as the jiraemail parameter and the project as the project parameter. Repeat the process for each project.

Old Versions

You can find the old version of the Advanced Mail Handler, which also contains the old wiki as documentation.

The zip file contains also a patch for the Estimate and Due Date tags. You'll have to apply the patch on the source code, then recompile it. Note that the Advanced Mail Handler 2.3 was written for Java 1.4.2_12 for compatibility issues with Tomcat. You can find a Windows version of the patch tool as a part of the GnuWin32 package. (These instructions are given here for your convenience; I haven't tried them.)

Version History

Release Version

Release Date

JIRA Version

Notes and changelog

4.0September 23, 20136.1.7

Compiled and tested by Vladimir Vasilyev (CERN).

  • Visual enhancement: warning banner is shown in an issue description or in a comment if the email sender is an unknown JIRA user.


February 12, 2012


Compiled and tested by Rafal Piotr Niesler (CERN).

  • Added support for Mail Subject regular expression parsing


August 17, 2010


Compiled and tested by Rafal Piotr Niesler (CERN).

  • Added support for Mail Subject regular expression parsing


March 30, 2010


Compiled and tested by Brice Copy.

  • Added support for JIRA 4.0.2
  • Added support for DEFAULT COMPONENT assignment


March 19, 2009


Compiled and tested by Roberto Manicardi and Gustavo Fernandes Nalle.


June 4, 2007


First public release by Daniele Raffo.


  1. Unknown User (ggaskell)

    I don't have permission to edit the page above so whoever can, please change the following links in the Configuration section (above) as follows:

    1. Change:
    2. Change:


    The existing links currently point to the JIRA 5.0.x documentation. In fact, since they point to the 'latest' version of this documentation, they will soon be pointing to the documentation for JIRA 5.1.

    The revised links (I suggested above) will lead to the JIRA 4.0.x documentation, which is the latest version of JIRA that this plugin supports.

    Incidentally, you might find our page on How JIRA Documentation Updates are Published quite useful too — particularly if you want to link to the official JIRA documentation.


    1. Unknown User (draffo)

      Thanks Giles.  I've corrected the page as per your suggestions.



  2. Unknown User (ggembali)

    Hi ,

    There seems to be a small problem with setting assignee of the issue being created. Following is the scenario :

    • Specify a component in subject
    • component specified has a lead and default assignee is component lead
    • And no assignee specified in subject or in cc of the email

    It assigns the issue to project lead. This problem is probably due to sequence in which the handler sets components and assignee in code.

    At this moment handler setting assignee first and then components. When setting an assignee it try to find the default assignee which in turn depends on components. But components were not set yet, so miscalculates the default assignee.

  3. Unknown User (aschneider315)

    Don't suppose there are any plans to integrate this with 5.0. The JEMH guy's is quite expensive and overly complicated for what we want

    1. We have a JIRA 4.4 compliant implementation running since a few months now.

      We are now looking into JIRA 5 but we might be a couple of months longer.