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Using Filters

Thunderbird provides a useful filter option to organize your incoming email or delete unwanted spam. These filters can store incoming email from a selected group of people into a particular folder. Also, if you repeatedly receive unwanted email from a specific email address, you can have it directed to your Trash folder.

To setup a filter, click Tools > Message Filters…. The Message Filters dialog box will appear where you can create, edit or delete filters. Click New… and the Filter Rules dialog box, as shown below, will appear.

Filter Rules dialog box displaying filter name and options

Fig. 1 - Applying Filters to Incoming Mail

  1. Enter a name for the filter (e.g. Homework) and mark if you want the filter or incoming messages to match any or all of the conditions you are going to specify.
  2. The first drop down menu in the textbox allows you to select which part of the message the filter should check. Options include Subject From ;Date, Priority, Status, To, To or Cc, Age in Days,Size and Customize.
  3. The second drop down menu allows you to select the state which include containsdoesn’t containisisn’tbegins withends with.
  4. In the textbox, type in the word(s) to match; for example, "assignment"
  5. Click the More or Fewer button to include or reduce the number of conditions.
  6. The next step is to define what Thunderbird is to do if the incoming messages meet the conditions you specified. In the Perform these actions section, select Move Message to, Copy Message to, Forward Message to, Reply with Template, Mark As Read, Add Star, Set Priority to, Tag Message, Set Junk Status to, and Delete Message.

In the above example, the Homework filter will place a star beside all incoming messages with subject ‘assignment’. Please know that the filter a user sets should stay configured despite logging-off the computer.


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