Thunderbird Mute Thread, Ignore Email Conversations

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 28, 2010
Updated • May 23, 2018
Email, Thunderbird

When it comes to email conversations with multiple participants, it sometimes happens that the discussion takes a turn that is no longer of interest to individual users.

This can be a discussion on a mailing list for instance, where other members of the list discuss specific topics.

Being part of the mailing list however means that those emails arrive in every user's inbox. It also means that all users have to deal with the messages, which often means marking them read or deleting them entirely.

Mute Thread is a new experimental add-on for the Thunderbird email client that gives the user the ability to mute individual email threads. In theory, this means that muted threads do not appear anymore in the email client's inbox.

The emails are not deleted, just hidden from view, and Thunderbird users can display them again by clicking on View > Threads > Ignored Threads in Thunderbird. It is necessary to switch to another mail folder temporarily to display the hidden messages again in the active folder.

Threads in Thunderbird can be muted by clicking on Message > Ignore Thread or using the shortcut K for the same effect.

Mute Thread in its current stage is what the developers call an experimental add-on. This means that the devs have plans to integrate it into the email client eventually, but do not have an idea how and when this is going to happen.

Currently the devs are looking for one or two developers who would like to take over the project. The Mozilla Labs post offers additional details about Mute Thread and contact information for developers who would like to participate in the development of the add-on.

The add-on is available for download at the official Mozilla add-ons website. It is compatible with Thunderbird 3.1 to 3.3a only.

Update: Mute Thread functionality has been integrated into the Thunderbird client. You can right-click on any message in the program now to ignore the thread or sub-thread.

thunderbird ignore thread

It is no longer necessary to install the add-on for the functionality.

How to mute thread in the Thunderbird email client
Article Name
How to mute thread in the Thunderbird email client
The guide explains the mute and ignore functionality of the Thunderbird email client that allows you to mute certain conversations.

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  1. Pete said on March 11, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    This happened to me by accident. I accidentally typed “K” and an entire thread disappeared. It took me half an hour to find out what happened and restore it. Unbelievable that by a single key press you can make a thread disappear. This needs to have at least a 2- or 3- combination, like Ctrl+Alt+K or something, otherwise accidents like this happen way to often. Bad programming!

    1. Brett said on April 6, 2020 at 6:06 pm

      Likewise, Pete. Thankfully found this page, otherwise would have no idea what disappeared, nor how to bring it back. Making it go away was just a *little* too easy.

  2. David said on August 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Was development on this suspended? I would dearly LOVE this functionality in my thunderbird!

    1. Nivatius said on March 29, 2014 at 4:51 pm

      yes it appears so unfortunatelly

  3. BalaC said on September 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    One of the much needed addon to be built on natively

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