Thunderbird Email Rules

Category: Email

I really liked Thunderbird and the way I was able to have RSS feeds, email, and newsgroups all in the same program. What I didn't like was the email rules. I could not get the rules to work, except when I set them up. I like having most of my usual email filtered through email rules but was unable to make this feature work. Any suggestions?

It sounds like you got bit by the "rules don't run automatically" problem/feature in Thunderbird. I had the same problem... created a rule, tested it on the inbox and it worked great. But new emails were not getting filtered. I did some poking around and found to my shock and dismay that this is working as designed. You have to click on Tools / Run Filters on Folder, or press Alt-T then R to run the filters.

This seems incredibly stupid to me, and is the one thing that's making we want to switch back to my previous email client. Does anyone know how if there is a technique or plugin to make the rules run automatically when they hit the inbox?

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Most recent comments on "Thunderbird Email Rules"

Posted by:

30 Sep 2005

Mine runs automatically. I may be misunderstanding your description and you may have already done this. If you go Tools/Message Filters, you can click on your rule, then click on the box in the 'Enabled' column to have it run with all incoming message. I had this problem and found the menu after a search.

Posted by:

19 Oct 2005

If the filter is under "Local Folders" it will not run automatically for the other account. Move the filter to the account you want it to run on. See the drop down box at the top of the filters.
I noticed there wasn't a copy function so I copied the appropriate ./Local\ Files/msgFilterRules.dat lines to ./ACCOUNT/msgFilterRules.dat.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, that's what I ended up doing. But as you say, TB does not provide a way to copy the filters from one place to another. The annoying thing is that TB put all my folders and filters in Local Folders when it converted my data from Outlook Express. The issue of filters not running automatically in Local Folders is non-intuitive and unnecessarily confusing.

Posted by:

06 May 2006

This describes the process of setting up rules (or filters) in Thunderbird:

Posted by:

14 Jun 2006

My Thunderbird is setup correctly and it still has this same problem. The filters are in the correct mail accounts and they are enabled but from some reason one of my accounts just will not run it's filters unless I manually do it. As of yet I can find no fix.

Posted by:

27 Apr 2007

I have a file which name is XY and when sender like ( send me e-mail how can I do that this mail which sender is automatically go in folder XY???Thank's


EDITOR'S NOTE: You can create a filter where FROM BEGINS WITH XY and then MOVE MESSAGE TO the Local Folder XY.

Posted by:

05 Nov 2008

Filters for me get run automatically on new messages, but I have a filter that moves read messages over 2 days to my archive readmail folder. This does not get automatically run and only when "run filter on this folder" option is pressed. Shame there isn't a scheduler :(

Posted by:

Don Ross
04 Jun 2009

I would like to purchase an instruction book something like Dummies.....that pertains to Thunderbird 2 Email by firefox. Netscape used to have good ones on Netscape mail which I used for years. Now I switched to FireFox but no reference manual to make settings.
(Was looking in for something but was not sure what I was looking for.)
Would appreciate some assistance on recomendations on what to find . Thanks.......Don

Posted by:

17 Jul 2009


I set up a rule to move certain mail from the inbox to one of the private folders under my personal folders. All mail was set up to be moved when it was from a particular address. The rule looks fine but it won't work--not even if I manually (like other stupid filters in Thunderbird). Can you tell me how to fix this? Former Outlook user where rules ruled!

EDITOR'S NOTE: Could this be the problem that filters do not run automatically in Local Folders?

Posted by:

13 Dec 2010

Having alot of issues with T-Bird rules lately.

1 - My understanding is that the rules run down the list, one at a time, including sub-routines of each individual rule BEFORE moving on to the next.

For example, Rule 1 - Mark RED, Rule two IF contains (blah) then FORWARD to (email address) then MOVE TO (another folder), Rule 3, if TO is (my email address) move to (a different folder).

this rule structure colors ALL mails in the box red, then calls out a special few to be forwarded to another email and then moved to an archive folder and finally, whatever is left in the folder moved to a different archive folder.

HOWEVER.... there are days where this rule structure will only PARTIALLY execute. It will mark them all RED, NOT foreware any but still move them ALL to the archive (including the ones that were supposed to forward). Other days, it will send but not move them to the correct folders.

In ALL cases, if I run the rules MANUALLY, they run perfectly.

What gives?

Posted by:

Art Krueger
02 Dec 2012

Please update inquires and comments. Lots has changed since 2005.

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