Switching the folder pane view

The folder pane is displayed on the left side of the Thunderbird window. It shows a list of your email accounts, the folders that are created by default (such as "Sent", "Trash", etc) and the folders that you have manually created to organize your messages.

default folder pane

There are several "views" that can be used to display in the folder pane. The view you select will determine how the folders are organized and displayed (while not affecting the actual folders or messages themselves.) Select View | Folders to choose the view you want to use. The following options are available:

  • All: This is the default view shown above. It shows each email account and its folders.
  • Unified: This view combines the messages in all of your accounts into similar folders. In this view, your Inbox (and Archives, and Trash, etc) will contain the messages from all of your Inboxes in all of your accounts.
  • Unread: This view only shows account and folders that contain unread messages.
  • Favorite: You can make a folder a "Favorite" by selecting Edit | Favorite Folder or by right-clicking on the folder name and selecting Favorite Folder. When you select the Favorite view, only those folders that you have specified as favorite will be displayed.
  • Recent: This view will display any folders that have had activity in the last 15 days.

In Thunderbird versions before 8.0, the folder pane had a title bar showing the name of the current view. To the right of the name there were arrow buttons that could be used for rotating back and forth through the available views. However, the title bar and arrow buttons were removed in Thunderbird 8.0. If you would like to reinstate these buttons, install the Folder Pane View Switcher add-on. (Note that third-party add-ons are not supported by Mozilla.)

This add-on also has another useful folder feature. If your displayed view is something other than "All Folders" and you are in the middle of a drag-and-drop operation and you realize that you want to drop into a folder that isn't listed in your current view, hovering your mouse briefly over the folder pane title bar will cause it to automatically switch to the "All Folders" view. It will switch back to your prior view when you're done with the drag-and-drop.

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