How to sort messages

October 11, 2006

So your friend Judy says she sent that important report to you already, but doesn’t remember exactly when and you’ve got to print it right away for the boss? You know it was an attachment on an email from Judy, but since your Inbox shows the newest emails first. This is a simple problem to solve. The solution: message sorting. The best part is, it doesn’t involve reprogramming Thunderbird and diving into the preferences or account settings.

message headers

When you’re looking at your Inbox, check out the line of boxes that are right above that most current email. The column headers tell you what you can expect to find in that column; things like Sender, Date, Subject, etc. The other thing those column headers do is allow you to sort messages by that header. You might notice that the Date column is blue instead of that silver/gray-ish color that the rest of the Thunderbird window. That tells you that the messages in that box are being sorted by Date.

To sort by a different header (like Sender in our story), click on that header. The first time you click, the messages will rearrange themselves in order A to Z by that header. Try clicking around on the different headers and notice the differences. From our story, we’d click on the Sender header, find all the messages with Judy all clumped together, then find our message with the report attachment.