Your distribution should have included a offlineimap.conf.minimal file for starting:

  • in /usr/share/doc/offlineimap/examples for Debian
  • in /usr/share/offlineimap for Archlinux
  • in /usr/share/doc/offlineimap-X-Y-Z for Gentoo

That provides you with the bare minimum of setting up OfflineIMAP. You can simply copy this file into your home directory and name it .offlineimaprc. A command such as

$ cp offlineimap.conf.minimal ~/.offlineimaprc

will do it. Or, if you prefer, you can just copy this text to ~/.offlineimaprc:

accounts = Test

[Account Test]
localrepository = Local
remoterepository = Remote

[Repository Local]
type = Maildir
localfolders = ~/Test

[Repository Remote]
type = IMAP
remotehost = examplehost
remoteuser = jgoerzen

Now, edit the ~/.offlineimaprc file with your favorite editor. All you have to do is specify a directory for your folders to be in (on the localfolders line), the host name of your IMAP server (on the remotehost line), and your login name on the remote (on the remoteuser line). That’s it!

If you prefer to be compatible with the XDG Base Directory spec, then substitute the above ~/.offlineimaprc with $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/offlineimap/config and don’t forget to set XDG_CONFIG_HOME properly if you want it to be different from the default $HOME/.config for any reason.

To run OfflineIMAP, you just have to say offlineimap ― it will fire up, ask you for a login password if necessary, synchronize your folders, and exit. See?

You can just throw away the rest of the finely-crafted, perfectly-honed user manual! Of course, if you want to see how you can make OfflineIMAP FIVE TIMES FASTER FOR JUST $19.95 (err, well, $0), you have to read on our full user documentation and peruse the sample offlineimap.conf (which includes all available options) for further tweaks!