Focus on Unread or Favorite Folders in Thunderbird

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Get to the most appropriate folders fast in Mozilla Thunderbird. © Depositphotos.com/liliya

Mozilla Thunderbird lets you focus the list of folders to just those with unread messages, folders you have recently used or those marked as favorites.

Many Email Folders: Organized So Well, and So Unwieldy

Folders are a fine way to organize; organize papers, organize stamps from South America, and organize emails, of course. In Mozilla Thunderbird, you can create as many folders as you want—including virtual folders that automatically collect messages based on certain criteria, and even each account can have its own set.

The more folders, the unwieldier the list of folders becomes, though. Would it not be great if you could somehow limit the list to a few favorite mailboxes—easily accessible no matter how deep down in your folder tree they may be? Would it not be helpful to have at hand a list of just the folders with unread messages? Would it not be convenient to be able to return quickly to mailboxes you have recently visited?

Fortunately, Mozilla Thunderbird can do all of that, and do it elegantly. You can reduce the list of folders to just the most useful ones. They will appear flat one after the other, not in a hierarchy, though account names will appear.

Focus on Unread, Recent or Favorite Folders in Mozilla Thunderbird

To have Mozilla Thunderbird show you only a subset of all your email folders:

  1. Make sure the menu bar is visible in Mozilla Thunderbird:
    1. Click the Mozilla Thunderbird (hamburger) menu button if you do not see the menu bar and select Preferences | Menu Bar from the menu that has appeared.
  2. Select View | Folders from the menu followed by
    1. Unread for all folders containing unread messages,
      1. (The folders will appear with the names of the corresponding accounts appended.)
    2. Favorite for folders marked favorites and
      1. (You can change a folder's favorite status by clicking on it with the right mouse button and selecting Favorite Folder.)
    3. Recent for folders you recently used.

To return to the full expandable list of folders:

  1. Make sure the menu bar is visible in Mozilla Thunderbird.
  2. Select View | Folders | All from the main window menu.
    1. Select View | Folders | Unified to have Mozilla Thunderbird show all folders not grouped by account first but by function: all inboxes and folders for sent or deleted messages will appear together, for example.

Inside any folder, you can search for specific messages fast, too.

The One-Click Mozilla Thunderbird Folder List Cycle

As a convenient alternative to the menu, Mozilla Thunderbird offers a way to quickly cycle through the different folder views:

  1. Click the left and right arrow buttons in the folder pane header to cycle through the lists.
    1. ​Note that Mozilla Thunderbird 38 does not offer this way to access folder views.