A super simple CLI for sending emails.


Maildown is a command line interface that lets you send emails using Amazon AWS SES with a minimum of fuss

Why can't I just use boto3?

Maildown makes it easier to add structure and style to your email content. It supports Markdown syntax out of the box, meaning that you can just send Markdown files as emails with no additional effort.

How much does it cost?

Maildown is open source and therefore completely free. It relies on Amazon SES, which isn't completely free, but it does let you send up to 62,000 free emails per month. So for vast majority of people, Maildown costs nothing to run.

Installation and usage

Pre requisites

In order to use Maildown, you first need to create an AWS free tier account here. Once you've signed up, you'll also realistically need to take your AWS SES account out of the sandbox

Install with pip

You can install maildown as follows:

pip install maildown

Authenticating Maildown

Maildown stores your credentials locally for convenience. Before you can use Maildown's features, you should run the maildown init command


If you have previously used the aws cli and have already run aws configure, or if you have set the environment variables AWS_ACCESS_KEY_ID and AWS_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY in your environment, you can just use maildown init with no arguments to store your credentials

Verify email addresses

Amazon only lets you send emails from verified email addresses - In other words, you need to verify that you own your email address before you can send mails from it. You can either do this from the SES console, or by using Maildown:

$ maildown verify [email protected]
Email sent to [email protected] You must click the link in this email to verify ownership before you can send any emails

When you use the above command, AWS will send an email to the email address you provided. You'll need to click on the link to verify your ownership of the account. Once you've done this, you can repeat the previous command to check the status

$ maildown verify [email protected]
This email address has already been verified

You are now ready to start sending emails!

Sending emails

You can now send emails with the following command

maildown send [email protected] "my email subject" -f "" [email protected] [email protected]

The above arguments, in order, are:

  • The sending email address (which must have been verified)
  • The subject line of your email
  • A markdown file containing some content to send. Note that you can also use the -c flag to pass string content to be sent directly to the email, e.g. -c "hello"
  • A list of email addresses to send the content to

Styling emails

By default, Maildown bakes in its own default style sheet when sending emails. This looks something like this (the below email is the content of this readme):


You can apply your own syles by simply using the --theme flag when sending mails, like this:

maildown send [email protected] "my email subject" -f "" --theme "my-style.css" [email protected] [email protected]