Jan 27 2011

Mozilla Thunderbird: Managing Your Inbox

qkcqetgn Mozilla Thunderbird: Managing Your InboxMozilla Thunderbird is an email client favorite of mine, and it’s flexibility with the addition of plugins, makes it king with me. But you can’t beat the raw ability of being able to organize all the e-mails that are being presented to your inbox.

Having the ability to automatically organize this information as soon as received is a huge benefit.

A lot of experienced web users will know immediately the power of being able to use filters on incoming e-mails, but new users, or users that are not familiar with the abilities/usefulness of using filters, may find this very informative.

So, I decided to generate my own little introduction/tutorial to help others take control… or to organize

This information is being generated from Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1.7.

In order to start organizing information is coming into your inbox, or inboxes, you need to discover the message filters in Thunderbird. regardless of the number of inboxes that you’re currently using, with Thunderbird you can apply specific rules, per account.


Let’s start with the fastest way…

I think it’s pretty much obvious that when e-mails are received through Thunderbird

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You’ll notice from the header of the e-mail [from]… you can actually create a message filter directly from that by simply right clicking on the sender.

Thunderbird-screenshot-sender_thumb Mozilla Thunderbird: Managing Your Inbox

The right-click options will give you a selection to ‘create filter from’;  choose that option.

The next screen is the filter rules. At this point you’re given the option of what you want to do with the incoming e-mails; the various options.

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The filter name, is to simply get a description to the e-mail filter that you’re creating. This can be for specific e-mail or this can be for a group of e-mails; a group of e-mails meeting certain criteria— like ‘unwanted’ e-mails.

Apply filter when, is pretty much self-explanatory. When do you want the message filter to be applied?

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The options are fairly simple, when checking mail, when you manually run the message filter, both options, after the mail has been classified, after classification or manually ran.

typically you’re going to choose the option to apply the message filter when ‘checking mail or when it’s manually run’.


Message filters can be generated based upon three subset options; matching all the following, matching any of the following or matching all messages.

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Based upon how you’re creating your message filter, you may want to select the option for ‘match any of the following’.


The next section starts asking questions about the type of e-mails that you’re receiving, trying to give specifics about how to handle the incoming traffic.

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The first section is basically indicating to Thunderbird where to look for information, how to filter it; where is the information that its filtering?

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Criteria is such as; subject of the e-mail, the body of the e-mail, when e-mail arrived by date or based upon who sent the e-mail… all the available options are listed below with the screenshot.

To start off the rule selection you simply have to choose one of the options.


The next section gets a little more specific. So in addition to where Thunderbird is collecting the filter information; what to filter for, now you have the option to have Thunderbird make decisions for you based on what your asking it to filter.

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For example does X e-mail containing ‘Viagra’ in the subject?

Does X e-mail end with Viagra.com in the FROM criteria?


But for this example, or using the ‘FROM’ option and were using the ‘IS’ option. So, at this point I’m looking for e-mails from a specific person, and I’m looking for a specific e-mail address, because I use the ‘IS’ option.

If they want to use a wildcard search, I would use the option to ‘contains’. You could do this if you want to block an entire domain, like ‘@RUSSIANBRIDES.COM ’.


The last option per line is whether or not you want to add or remove the criteria for the message filter that you’re creating; you have control over what criteria are used— very specifically.

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The actions for Thunderbird message filtering, simply designates based upon your selections, what should happen to those messages…

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In this particular example, I’m choosing that all e-mails that match my criteria, are to be set as junk mail; these e-mails will go directly to my junk mailbox and I will never see them, but I have the option to review my junk mail just in case.as

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Based upon the selection that you make, the action that we should be taken against the messages that are selected; those options change based upon the selection that you make.

For example, if I choose the option to ‘move message to’, the option to the right will have a listing of inbox folders. I can choose to move any message that’s preselected to a specific folder.


If I worked to choose the option to set the priority of the preselected e-mails, to a specific level; by selecting the option for ‘set priority to’, the option to write gives me all the priority listings that are available.

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Again, you can use the button on at the end of the line to add, or remove, actions to the selected items.

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Once you’ve completed the rule, click OK. This will complete the message rule and all future emails coming in will have this action placed upon it.


The HARD’er way…

The hard way isn’t the hard way really, you just have to click somewhere else and repeat the same steps.

To start the rule process from scratch; in Thunderbird choose Tools » Message filters — this takes you to the very inception, but nothing will be filled out.

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Repeat the steps above to complete your custom eMail filter and take control of your eMail inbox.

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I do have one suggestion; don’t be so fast to just delete emails based on your rules. Some emails may get selected by mistake [mistakes happen]— it’s better to place unwanted emails in to a JUNK folder and old them for review for X amount of time before they’re actually deleted. This gives you time to make corrections if they happen.







So there, I hope this helps the new users take control of their inbox and remove the unwanted traffic… making life a little easier.

And you can run those filters manually at any time, by using the tools option [as listed above]. You can run the filters based on the message or the specific folder.

I hope you have a nice day!


Thank you,
Larry Henry Jr.

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