Sort Emails by Date Received in Thunderbird

See emails in the order that works for you

Laptop with envelope and document with exclamation mark on screen
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Mozilla's Thunderbird allows you to sort emails by date easily. Here's how.

A shortcut for this step is to click the word Date at the top of the list of dates. This will reverse the order of the dates so that the oldest received messages are shown first, or vice versa.

Use the Grouped by Sort option at the bottom of the Sort By... dropdown to put dividers in for Today, Yesterday, Last 7 Days, Last 14 days, and Older.

If you don't see the View menu, select the Alt key to temporarily show it.

  1. Open the folder you want to sort.

  2. Navigate to View > Sort by.

    Thunderbird sorting options menu
  3. Select Received.

  4. From the same menu, choose whether you want your email sorted by Ascending or Descending date.

    To see your newest emails first, select Descending.

Sorting by Date vs. Received

So why not sort by date? The answer lies in the fact that the date of an email is determined by the sender, not by anything on your end. This means that something as common as a clock set incorrectly on the sender's computer can make the email appear to have been sent at a different time. For example, when your emails are sorted by date, you might see one a few messages back that was sent only seconds ago but appears to have been sent hours ago because of an incorrect date.

Making Thunderbird sort emails by the date they were received ensures that you always see the most recently received message and not necessarily the email that was dated closest to the current time.