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Sorting messages by Thread using Thunderbird and Outlook

Recently on the XP mailing list, we were having a discussion about readbility of the list, given the number of messages we see a day. I mentioned that I use the thread feature of Thunderbird to sort everything by threads, and had several people ask me about it. Since I also use it in Outlook, I’ll show that too.

First, in Thunderbird you may have to enable that column to see the icon. Looking at your list of messages, you’ll see a tiny drop down icon on the far-right, which will get you the column customization so you can choose Thread:

Now, you should see an icon that looks like a little bubble. Click that once to group by Thread, and a second time to sort so that the most recent thread starter is on top:

In Outlook, it’s similar. From your message list, right click on the columns, and choose Arrange By -> Conversation:

That groups the messages by conversation. The one thing I don’t like is that it sorts them by the lastest thread to have a message posted. So the position of the threads changes based on what time the last post was. That makes it a little harder to find things if you knew what the threads around it were, but comes in handy if a thread has been posted to for a while, since it pops up to the top.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ale October 4, 2007, 1:06 pm

    Thanks for the tip. Indeed useful for tidying up a cluttered inbox.

  • Anonymous November 27, 2007, 6:38 pm

    This is retarded, thunderbird will sort by thread, but I *cannot* get it to sort threads/messages by the most recent message in a thread.

    What use are threads if I get a new message and it is displayed 200 messages below any visible message?

    When I get a new message, I want it to be at the top period.

  • Anonymous June 10, 2008, 5:02 am

    This extension does just that:


  • Anonymous October 2, 2008, 2:18 am

    you just have to click the ‘Thread’ button two times.

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