Software

How do I... Use saved searches to organize e-mail and RSS feeds in Thunderbird?

<img src="http://t.cbsimg.net/i/z/200606/how_110x85.jpg" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />Organizing that constant flow of incoming information can become difficult and time-consuming. Mozilla Thunderbird's saved searches allow users to automatically search a choice of folders or all folders using set parameters and rules. This means that if you want all e-mails and RSS feeds on one subject or from a certain sender separated into a cohesive folder, you do not have to spend valuable time sorting e-mail and RSS feeds every time you log in.

Organizing that constant flow of incoming information can become difficult and time-consuming. Mozilla Thunderbird's saved searches allow users to automatically search a choice of folders or all folders using set parameters and rules. This means that if you want all e-mails and RSS feeds on one subject or from a certain sender separated into a cohesive folder, you do not have to spend valuable time sorting e-mail and RSS feeds every time you log in.

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Saved search folder rules

One of the best features of Thunderbird's saved search feature is that saved search folders do not act like regular folders. The e-mails and RSS feeds that appear in a saved search folder remain stored in their originally designated folders — they simply appear in the designated saved search folder.

If you delete an entire saved search folder, the RSS feeds and e-mails will remain in their original storage folders. Therefore, do not fear should you do this in error. Simply re-create the search with the same parameters — because the messages are stored in separate folders, you will be able to recover your saved search.

It is very important to note that if you delete a single item in a saved search folder, the item will be deleted from its storage folder as well.

How to begin

From any Thunderbird screen, select Edit | Find | Search Messages (Figure A) or use the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[F].

Figure A

Search messages
You will get a dialog box (Figure B) in which you will set parameters for a search.

Figure B

Parameters
Once you have selected files to be searched from the drop-down menu, enter the parameters in the specified fields (Figure C) and click the Search button. It is possible to select multiple files.

Figure C

Search
A list of e-mails or RSS feeds will appear in the dialog box. To save this search, click the Save As Search Folder button (Figure D).

Figure D

Save As

A new dialog will appear in which you will name the folder where you want the saved search created. You must also decide in which folder location you want the saved search file to be saved.

If the parameters of your search allow for it, you will be able to choose  whether to search online, instead of after the messages are downloaded. Keep in mind that online searching will slow Thunderbird down, perhaps noticeably.

You can also edit the folders to be searched and reconfigure the search criteria in this dialog box (Figure E). When you are finished setting all the parameters of this saved search, click OK.

Figure E

Click OK
You can now close the original saved search dialog box. The new saved search Folder will appear in your folders list (Figure F).

Figure F

In folders list

If you change your mind

At any point in the future, you can change the settings of a saved search by right-clicking on the folder and selecting Properties (Figure G).

Figure G

Properties
This will give you a dialog (Figure H) similar to the one in Figure B.

Figure H

Change parameters
Of course, if you decide that you don't like the saved search at all, simply right-click the folder and select Delete. Thunderbird will verify that you truly mean to be rid of the folder, the messages contained therein will remain in their original folders, and the saved search will be no more (Figure I).

Figure I

Deleted

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Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

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