Message Grouping

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This article was written for Thunderbird but also applies to Mozilla Suite / SeaMonkey (though some menu sequences may differ).

There are several ways to group messages:

  • Use a Global Inbox to hide the folders for POP accounts and use Local Folders to store the messages instead. Move any existing messages to local folders before enabling the global inbox.
  • Create a virtual folder using Saved Search. That lets you specify search criteria and create a folder that acts like it contains whatever messages meet that criteria, while not actually effecting where the messages are stored.
  • Select "Unified Folders" using View -> Folders -> Unified. This is an advanced folder view that groups all of the messages for the inbox, drafts, sent and junk folders for each account together. i.e. Its inbox contains child folders with each accounts inbox.
  • Use a message filter to automatically move all new messages in your inbox to a folder, based on the criteria you specified.
  • Create a child folder for every person you exchange mail with. Move any messages you got or sent to them to that persons folder. Then select Tools -> Account Settings -> Copies & Folders -> When sending messages automatically -> place replies in the folder of the message being replied to and create message filters to automatically move any new mail to a persons folder based on who sent it. That should let you group all mail to/from a person using dedicated folders.
  • Use View -> Sort by -> Group By Sort to organize messages in the folder listing into self-contained groups according to attributes such as date, sender or priority. For instance, if you set your Inbox to group messages by date, the messages will be organized into folder-like groups labelled Today, Yesterday, Last Week, and so on. You can expand or collapse each group by clicking on the small +/- mark next to the group label. (screenshot)
  • Messages can be grouped according to date, priority, sender, recipient, status, subject, or label.
    • To group messages: first click on the folder that you want to use (such as your Inbox) and sort the messages in your preferred way: either click on a column heading such as "Date" in the message-list pane, or make a selection from "View -> Sort by". Then select "View -> Sort by -> Grouped By Sort" or simply press the letter "G" on your keyboard.
    • To turn off message grouping: click on any column heading in the message-list pane or choose a different sort order from "View -> Sort by".
    • Message grouping works on a per-folder basis. For example, message grouping that you apply to the Inbox folder will not be applied to the Sent folder or any other folders.
    • Message grouping does not currently work with Saved Search folders.
    • It's possible to customize the font and background colors used for the header rows (e.g., "Today", "Yesterday", etc.).
  • Use an add-on such as:
    • Thunderbird Conversations (adds a conversation view)
    • eMarks (bookmark messages)
    • MailClassifier (Uses multi-level bayesian filtering to move a message to the right folder)
    • Nostalgy (includes a system of rules to suggest a target folder for saving messages)
    • NotificationViewer (Identifies and displays the status of pending and received notifications (DSN, MDN) for messages sent with notification requests. It can also move the notification to the folder and thread of the related message)
    • Personal Level Indicators (Adds an indicator so that you can tell if an email was addressed only to you (»), a group (›), or a mailing list)
    • QuickFolders (Tabbed Folders) (favorite folders are tabs, lets you bookmark mail folders)
    • ShiftBox (Adds a visual overlay on top of the inbox, similar to video control players, that lets you replay your messages the way they arrived.)
    • SortPref (Adds the ability to control primary, default sorting options.)
    • SubSwitch (adds/discovers prefixs for message subjects to help categorize messages]
    • TaQuilla (Automatic tagging using Bayesian statistics)

See also