Show message count of all folders in Thunderbird

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 19, 2007
Updated • Dec 10, 2019
Email, Thunderbird

Thunderbird displays only the message count of unread mails of every folder by default. I tried to find a way to display the count of all messages instead which would help me get an overview of the amount of mails stored inside a folder.

I wanted to make sure that the unread messages number would still be shown as well. Showing both the read and unread email count can be done in Thunderbird, read out to find out how.

Update 3: As of Thunderbird 60, the option was moved again. Select Hamburger Menu > Options > Layout and check "Folder Pane Columns" to display the message count. End

The option to activate the message count for all mails is kinda hidden in Thunderbird. You need to enable the "Show Expanded Columns" option first which can be done by going to Tools > Options, selecting the Advanced tab and checking "Show Expanded Columns in the Folder Pane".

When that is done click on the small icon next to Name in the folder pane and select total from the drop down menu. Once that is done you see the total amount of mails that are currently in the folder. It does however not display the number of mails that are in sub folders unless you expand them first.

I have not found a way to enable mail count that includes the sub folders by default.

Update: It appears as if Mozilla has removed the capabilities in recent versions of the email client. The setting is no longer listed under advanced, which indicates that it may have been removed by the developers. It is not clear why this has been done, but it means that you cannot display both the unread and read messages of each folder in the program anymore.

We tried to find another solution, like an extension or advanced configuration that you find under Tools > Options > Advanced > General > Config Editor but could not find one. It is not likely that the setting will be added in a later version of Thunderbird again.

Update 2: You can install the Extra Folder Columns extension for Thunderbird to bring back the functionality. Once installed, it displays the number of unread messages, the total number of messages, and the total size of the folder in the folder sidebar.

thunderbird display message count size

You can click on the configuration icon next to size in the header and disable the items that you do not want to display here.


The Extra Folder Columns extension for Thunderbird adds a much needed feature to the email client. You can now not only see how large each individual folder is, but also how many emails it contains.

software image
Author Rating
2.5 based on 2 votes
Software Name
Extra Folder Columns
Software Category
Landing Page

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Jon Hinman said on December 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    it’s no longer accurate with version 60+

    now you need to hit the hamburger menu, then options, then layout, then check folder pane columns

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you!

  2. boardtc said on March 9, 2010 at 2:49 am
  3. Angelsdtp said on March 8, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Your suggestion seems to have disappeared with the latest version 3.0. Any new alternatives?

  4. Anonymous said on July 21, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Thank you very much! This drove me nuts for a while…

  5. boardtc said on February 10, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    This is awesome. All this time I never knew. It even works for saved search (showing your tags) folders! Thanks a lot.

  6. Rob said on November 15, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Thanks for this tip!

  7. Murias said on August 24, 2008 at 5:02 am

    work great. thanks.

  8. Joe said on April 28, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    I have an account in thunderbird that never shows in ‘all folders’. All other email accounts show fine. I checked settings and all match. Help!


  9. Tonny said on February 11, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    btw, if you reinstall OS, can you just copy the Firefox and Thunderbird folders and paste them to the new OS in order to keep the mail and settings?
    Thinking about moving to Linux, so want to keep my settings with me.

  10. mdeloia said on February 10, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks Martin, this was driving me crazy. I’d just installed Thunderbird again after a new OS install, and couldn’t remember how to do this for the life of me. Why does make this so obtuse? :(

  11. knightwise said on February 7, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Thanx a million ! :) You saved me !

  12. Tonny said on January 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    thanks alot! it was exactly that i was trying to find. but i still have 1 problem unsolved – how to make Thunderbird to display number of messages in the whole account, but not only in the folders inside it?

  13. Martin said on January 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks a lot, this is what I was looking for.

  14. dedawson said on May 26, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Just what I was looking for, thanks!

  15. Sheep said on April 20, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Helpfull! cheers!

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.