How to Display Only Unread Messages in Mozilla Thunderbird

Do away with distractions

What to Know

  • Select the Quick Filter button in the toolbar to reveal the Quick Filter Toolbar. Select the Unread button to show only unread messages.
  • Or, select View > Toolbars > Customize > Mail Views icon. Drag the Mail Views icon to the toolbar to add a View menu. Select Done.
  • Then, select Unread from the View drop-down menu to display only unread messages.

It's common for people to mark a read message as unread because it requires further attention. However, having all the read messages in the same folder can distract from your unread messages. Hide your read messages so that the focus is on the new messages.

Display Only Unread Messages in Thunderbird

Follow these steps to see only unread mail in Mozilla Thunderbird:

  1. Select the Quick Filter toggle button in the toolbar just above your messages.

    The Quick Filter button in Thunderbird
  2. The Quick Filter Toolbar will appear just below the button.

    The Quick Filter bar in Thunderbird
  3. Select the Unread button. This causes all your read messages to disappear and only your unread messages are visible.

    The "Unread" button on the Quick Filter bar in Thunderbird
  4. When you are ready to see all your emails again, click the same Unread button to show your read messages again.

Alternate Method to Show Only Unread Messages

You can also show unread messages via the following method.

  1. Select View > Toolbars > Customize from the Thunderbird menu bar.

    Toolbars > Customize under the View menu in Thunderbird
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the list of icons in the window that opens and find the Mail Views icon.

    The Mail Views icon in Thunderbird custom toolbars
  3. Drag and drop the Mail Views icon on the toolbar to add View followed by a drop-down menu to the toolbar.

    Dragging the Mail Views item to the toolbar in Thunderbird
  4. Click Done to close the Customize window.

    The Done button in Thunderbird
  5. Using the View drop-down menu, select Unread to display only unread messages.

    The View menu in Thunderbird. "Unread" is highlighted
  6. To see all your emails again, select All in the View drop-down menu.

Other Available Options in the View Drop-Down Menu

Using the View drop-down menu, you can also select Not Deleted mail and filter for mail that you have tagged Important, Work, Personal, To Do, or Later. The custom views you can select are:

  • People I Know
  • Recent Mail
  • Last 5 Days
  • Not Junk
  • Has Attachments

Select Unread Folders

You can also read unread messages in Thunderbird by clicking View in the menu bar and selecting Folders > Unread. This setting shows the folders that contain unread messages, but it shows the entire content of those folders, not only the unread messages.

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