Thunderbird Email Filtering Extension Quick Filter

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 3, 2010
Updated • Oct 26, 2016
Email, Thunderbird

Thunderbird 3 introduced several major changes to the popular email client including the option to perform global email searches, a feature that Thunderbird 2 does not offer at all.

What is meant by that is that you can search across accounts now, which you could not do previously.

Extension developers have also added several interesting add-ons for the email client including the previously reviewed Sender Verification extension.

Quick Filter is another extension for Thunderbird 3 that adds email filtering capabilities to the email program. The extension adds a small toolbar on top of the email column in the software program that can be used to filter the emails of the active folder in Thunderbird.

Five permanent filter options are displayed in the toolbar plus a text form to filter the emails by name.

The permanent filter options can be used to display only unread or starred emails, emails sent by contacts, emails by tag or emails with attachments. These email filters can be combined with the text filter to quickly find specific emails in the active folder.

It is for instance possible to only display unread emails with attachments, starred emails that have tags associated with them, or only emails sent by contacts.

The extension searches in the sender, recipients and subject header by default with the option to add the body text to search the email body as well. These filters can be configured as needed, it is for instance possible to only search in email bodies or by sender.

Another interesting option provided by the email filtering extension is the ability to make the filter settings permanent so that they are applied to other folders the user switches to. This can be enabled or disabled in the toolbar as well.

Quick Filter is a very handy extension for the Thunderbird email client that is most useful to filter emails in large mail folders.

Update: The extension has now been integrated into Thunderbird 3 and therefore removed from the add-on repository. Thunderbird users find the options in all recent versions of the email client so that they can use them to filter emails based on filters they specify.

thunderbird filter

The toolbar changed a bit, as you will see only icons in the quick filters bar. Once you start the search, options to filter messages by sender, recipient, subject and body become available automatically.

If you don't see the quick filter bar in Thunderbird, select View > Toolbars > Quick Filter Bar to display it.

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Quick Filter
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  1. Dotan Cohen said on April 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you! By setting a filter to automatically star all new mail, I can use this extension to “archive in place” by unstarring messages that I’m done with. Excellent!

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