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Thunderbird Email Filters



Now that we’ve moved to Thunderbird I’m sure there are areas that we’d all like to know more about.  I thought that creating and using filters would be a great topic to write about.  Our old email software, Eudora, had filtering capabilities and if you were like me I had a lot of filters set up that didn’t migrate to Thunderbird.  So I had to learn how to create all 30 plus filters in Thunderbird.  What I learned I’m passing on to you in this article.

(Note: If you're using IE to view this post the pictures below will be slightly unreadable so either use Firefox or click on the picture to open a full size version of it.)


The first step is to open Thunderbird and go to Tools > Message Filters.




The screen you'll see is the Message Filters screen.  This is a view of all of the message filters that you have.  Since all new incoming email comes into the Inbox that is found under SCLS POP this what you'll want to choose in the dropdown entitled "Filters for:"., if it's not already chosen.


To make a new filter press "New".




When making a new filter the first thing you'll want to do is to give the filter a name.  So fill in whatever you want to call it in the Filter Name textbox.  Then you'll want to determine the filter criteria for the incoming messages and what action you want to take if that criteria is met.




This is what the filter rule screen should look like for your SpamAssassin filter.  When you have completed creating your filter you'll want to click on the OK button and then you'll be taken back to the Message Filters window.




You will now see your newly created SpamAssassin filter listed.  Make sure that the Enabled checkbox is checked.  If you are done creating filters you can click on the X in the upper right-hand corner of the window.  If you want to create another filter then you can start again by clicking on the New button.




You can also create a new filter from any message by right-clicking on the hyperlinked email address of the sender that appears at the top of the email between Subject and Date.  Once you do that then choose the "Create Filter From Message...." selection from the dropdown menu.  When creating a filter this way the name of the filter and the criteria is already filled in for you.  All you have to do is tell Thunderbird what action to take when this criteria is met.




Filters that are enabled will be run automatically, in the order in which they are listed in the "Message Filters" dialog ("Tools -> Message Filters..."). Note that if you set up a filter to move an incoming message to a specified folder, subsequent filters will not be automatically applied to that message once it has been moved from the Inbox. There is currently no option to have filters be applied automatically to outgoing mail.


To run filters manually on the currently opened folder, select "Tools -> Run Filters on Folder". To manually run only some of your filters rather than all of them, go to "Tools -> Message Filters...", select the filters you want to run, and click the "Run Now" button.


That’s all for filters in Thunderbird; hopefully, I answered all of your questions.  I’ll probably do another article next time about another aspect of Thunderbird.  If you have one you’re interested in knowing more about write me a comment.


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Filters are one of those things that I keep meaning to investigate, but that I never quite get around to... I'm now inspired to go set up some filters for incoming database statistics messages by right-clicking the sender (that seems easy enough!). Thanks for the article! :)

Okay-- not only did I create them, I chose to "run now" on my inbox. Nifty!

This was just what I needed -thanks! I had at least 30 filters, if not more, before migrating. Now I can set them all up again, and perhaps even better than before.
If you take requests, will you tackle setting up a signature line next - the help instructions didn't work out for me so well.

This feature in Thunderbird helps sort out the data you want from emails.

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