To deal with the large amount of unsolicited email ("spam" or "junk mail") that most people have to cope with, Thunderbird uses an adaptive filter that learns from your actions which messages are legitimate and which are junk.
Table of Contents
Junk filter settings
Global junk preferences
Junk filtering is enabled by default. You can set global junk preferences to control what should happen to messages marked as junk. These settings will be used by all of your email accounts (although some settings can be overridden in the account settings, as shown below).
> > > Junk
Per account settings
The junk settings in the account settings for each of your email accounts will override similar settings in the global junk preferences described above. In this section, you can also select address books which will be used as a whitelist. Any messages from senders whose email address is in a whitelisted address book will not be marked as junk by Thunderbird.
> > Your Account >
Training the junk filter
Tell Thunderbird what is JUNK
In order for Thunderbird's junk filter to be effective, you must train it to recognize messages that you consider to be junk and messages that you consider to be not junk. So it is important to mark messages as junk before deleting them.
There are several ways of marking messages as junk.
- You can click on the little icon in the "junk" column of the message list:
- You can also click the button on the message header toolbar:
- Or you can press J on your keyboard to mark one or more selected messages as junk.
Tell Thunderbird what is NOT JUNK
Sometimes Thunderbird's junk filter might get it wrong and mark good messages as junk. Therefore, it is just as important to tell the filter which messages are not junk, especially on a new installation of Thunderbird.
There are several ways of marking messages as not junk.
- Click on the button in the yellow junk notification below the message header:
- Click on the orange junk icon in the junk column of the message list to toggle the junk status of a message:
- Or press Shift+J on your keyboard to mark one or more messages as not junk.
Furthermore, you should regularly train the filter by marking a number of good messages as not junk - messages in your Inbox and messages that have been filtered into other folders. In this case, you can only use the keyboard shortcut Shift+J, because the button appears only for messages that have already been marked as junk. Marking several messages per week will be sufficient. You can select several messages and mark all of them at the same time. Unfortunately nothing in the user interface indicates whether a message has already been marked as "not junk".
Other ways of blocking unwanted messages
Thunderbird's adaptive junk filter is not an absolute barrier against messages from a specific address or specific types of messages. If you need a stronger mechanism to stop unwanted messages, consider Blocking a sender. You can also create a filter to block messages based on subject or other criteria.