How to sort accounts in the email client Thunderbird manually - gHacks Tech News

How to sort accounts in the email client Thunderbird manually

The email client Thunderbird lacks options to sort the order of accounts in the email client directly. It is for instance not possible to reorder accounts in the client's main pane via drag and drop.

We have covered add-ons in the past that allow you to reorder accounts and folders, but there is also a manual method that you can use instead.

The main advantage of it is that you don't have to rely on an add-on for that, the disadvantage that it is a complicated process.

The instructions below help you reorder email accounts in Thunderbird so that they are arranged in the desired order in the program's sidebar.

Update: It seems that the reordering that is described below does not work anymore in recent versions of Thunderbird. Thunderbird users can download and install Manually Sort Folders, an extension for the email client that allows you to sort any mail account or folder in Thunderbird manually.

First thing you need to do is open the advanced configuration editor. This is done with a click on Tools > Options to open the preferences of Thunderbird. Once the window opens, switch to Advanced > General and click on the Config Editor button displayed on the page that opens up.

thunderbird config editor

When the about:config window opens, search for mail.accountmanager.accounts in the interface. The value of the preference lists all accounts and their order in which they are displayed in Thunderbird's sidebar.

While that is useful, only account1, account2 and so on are displayed as the value and not the actual account names or servers used by those accounts.

If you have just a few accounts, you may simply reorder them right away to change the order, but if you have more than a few, this may not work.

Accounts are listed from the oldest to newest, which may help as well reorder them.

thunderbird accountmanager

You may perform additional searches to identify individual accounts. One way to do that is to search for the account number, e.g. account19 using the search option. This may not reveal the server's identity right away but may reveal additional hints that you can use.

For instance, a search for account19 on a Thunderbird test system revealed that it is linked to id3 and server3.

thunderbird account lookup

A search for server3 then in the same interface revealed configuration information for that server including the server hostname (in this case imap.googlemail.com).

server identification

The hostname may not be sufficient to identify an account as you may have added multiple email accounts using a single provider to Thunderbird.

Locate the "name" preference on the page, e.g. mail.server.server3.name which lists the username of the account as the value. Since this is an email address most of the time, you are able to link it to the account number.

Once you have identified accounts, go back to mail.accountmanager.accounts and double-click on the preference.

To reorder accounts move select account numbers, e.g. account19, to another position. Make sure you have "," after each account but not after the last account in the listing.

account19,account2,account9,account10,account11,account20

Once you have modified the value, close the window and restart the Thunderbird email client. Make sure the changes are reflected in the interface. If not, retrace your steps and make sure you have identified accounts properly.

Summary
How to sort accounts in the email client Thunderbird manually
Article Name
How to sort accounts in the email client Thunderbird manually
Description
Find out how to sort email accounts in the Thunderbird email client manually to change their display order in the program's sidebar.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. inderjeet said on June 16, 2015 at 10:06 am
    Reply

    Good instructions to easily sort accounts in Thunderbird. Thanks to providing these steps

    1. tena said on June 17, 2015 at 5:49 pm
      Reply

      inderjeet looks like a spam poster (link in name)

  2. Sven said on June 16, 2015 at 10:47 am
    Reply

    For such a basic task this is, actually, way too complicated.

  3. i [email protected] said on June 16, 2015 at 1:34 pm
    Reply

    or you could install this extension : Manually sort folders https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/manually-sort-folders/

    1. Ian J said on October 12, 2016 at 2:42 pm
      Reply

      Briiliant! That add on did the trick. It sorts folders AND ACCOUNTS.

  4. George P. Burdell said on June 16, 2015 at 1:37 pm
    Reply

    One trick I use to reorder folders within a user’s main pane listing is to simply rename each of them. Since Thunderbird sorts by name automatically, I add 0,1,2,3 or 00-, 01-, 02-, in front of the existing names. So Fred, George, Harry can be listed as 01-George, 02-Fred, 03-Harry.

    This renaming scheme works for me on any Windows folders, or browser Favorites where I want to alter the expected alphabetical listing within a folder.

    If you right-click on a folder name, and a Rename option is not presented, it’s likely that the folder you picked (such as Inbox) simply cannot be renamed. If a Rename option is not offered, but a Properties option is, look there for renaming possibilities. Right-click on a browser Favorites folder to sort folder contents by name. Since the names are under your control, you can do what you like with them.

    1. John Galt said on June 16, 2015 at 9:14 pm
      Reply

      Nice George! That is EXACTLY how I do it. Sent, Drafts, Trash, Inbox etal. thereby receive the same nomenclature.

  5. Marc66 said on June 16, 2015 at 10:51 pm
    Reply

    I just did something very similar recently. In addition to account, id and server, I also reordered smtp.

    I didn’t do it using about:config but prefs.js and a text editor, pen and paper (to keep track of which is which). I normally put Universal folders first, then Local files, then accounts in order so for any such future re-ordering, I know the first 2 are fine

  6. JG18 said on March 17, 2016 at 8:19 am
    Reply

    Thanks very much for this article. You might consider suggesting that before people go into the Config Editor, they note their current account names and the order that they’re in. That way, they can quickly correlate the “account(n)” listings with the actual account names without having to try to find hints in the code.

  7. Dmytro said on February 12, 2017 at 12:01 pm
    Reply

    Thank you. This is what I was looking for. No addons!

  8. Jerry Butler said on February 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm
    Reply

    This works great! Thanks for posting.

  9. Balz said on March 10, 2017 at 11:16 pm
    Reply

    Perfect, thx

  10. Do said on March 17, 2017 at 3:04 pm
    Reply

    hmm…I followed the instructions, and I think well because all the announced windows appeared like described, however no change occurred (I restarted thunderbird)

    1. pakten said on April 30, 2017 at 9:03 pm
      Reply

      You may also need to change mail.accountmanager.defaultaccount

  11. comet said on May 15, 2017 at 8:54 am
    Reply

    thanks! it worked! no more scrolling down!

  12. Scott Slavik said on June 16, 2017 at 7:33 am
    Reply

    Great job Martin Brinkmann!

  13. Chris Ott said on June 23, 2017 at 6:14 pm
    Reply

    Excellent instructional post. Worked like a charm.

  14. flipu said on June 28, 2017 at 5:54 pm
    Reply

    not working. plus ‘manual sort folder’ add-on deprecated. :'( thunderbird 52.2.1

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 28, 2017 at 6:34 pm
      Reply

      Manual Sort Folder works fine in the latest version of Thunderbird.

  15. Anonymous said on August 19, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    Reply

    This article rocks! Thank you, man! Manual Sort plug-ins doesn’t work with version 52. But doing it manually, I have a full control over the folder sorting.

  16. Anonymous said on November 7, 2017 at 12:01 am
    Reply

    mail.accountmanager.accounts still works in Thunderbird 52. You have to restart TB after changes!

  17. Anonymous said on April 15, 2018 at 2:10 am
    Reply

    Thanks for this. It worked for me using TB 52.0.7 – as above restart TB after changes.
    Checked the mailaccountmanageraccounts string order, compared it with the order of accounts in my left pane to get ID to name lookup, changed default to bring the account I wanted to the top and confirm my account id to account name lookup, rewrote the ccounts string & bingo, simples (squeak)

  18. Anonymous said on April 15, 2018 at 2:14 am
    Reply

    Thanks for this. It worked for me using TB 52.0.7 – as above restart TB after changes
    Checked mailaccountmanager.accounts against the order of accounts in the accounts pane and created an account ID to name lookup. Changed default to bring the account I wanted to the top and check the account ID to account name lookup, rewrote the mailaccountmanager.accounts string & bingo, simples (squeak!)

  19. Florian said on May 8, 2018 at 12:56 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the tutorial! Came across it because the plugin does not work with 60.0b6, but reordering the accounts via the settings did the trick!

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