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simple inbox multi column sort functionality means an incredibly effective CRM

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Currently anyone that has to keep track of piles of people/projects/etc when they responded to email all have the same problem: 1) did I respond to this person: this is currently seen in Thunderbird by a small arrow that shows an email was responded to which is great 2) how often do I need to get back to a particular sender / person? A day? A week AND did I respond to them? : no way to track this 3) multi-column sort by message threads isn't possible: most recent messages are buried at the BOTTOM of a large list of emails responded to and you still don't know who you need to respond by type eg. you need to get back to your boss fast, but not XYZ who is also sending details about the same message thread title

There must be a VERY simple way to solve this: to see WHO you need to get back to quickly. But there isn't and it's ONLY because of one small problem: you can't multi-sort the main Thunderbird window ( and as discussed in one ) which suggests using Menu -> View -> Sort By which ONLY allows for sorting by ONE column at a time which does not help with the above. But there is an easy solution to this.

Although ( as an advanced user ) you could created custom columns using the Thunderbird Extensions Developers panel as described in this help topic and IF you populated the data needed for a drop down with say 0: ASAP; 1: respond in 1 hr; 2: respond in 1 day there is STILL no way to see who you need to get back to quickly because you can't multi-column sort your inbox in Thunderbird. More, if you get an email from BOB you can't always have him assigned to a "Respond in 1 hr" tag. Or a "Respond in 1 day" tag. BUT with a super simple plugin called "ColumnsWizard" you are 50% of the way there. Super right? Almost.

The ability for Thunderbird to become an incredibly simple CRM like system for any email user is therefore screwed because there is no multi-column inbox sortting. However by using a great Thunderbird plugin called "ColumnsWizard" and simple multi-column inbox sort functionality, by say, a custom column called PRIORITY ( 0: respond ASAP; 1: respond in 1 hr; 2: respond in 1 day ) then any Thunderbird user has an instant and very simple way to make sure you don't loose things. An instant CRM.

Has anyone ever solved such a simple problem with Thunderbird? Multi-Column inbox sorting ?

To this I've even created a very specific functionality request topic for multi-column inbox sorting: for multi column sort because with that, so many great capabilities of Thunderbird come to light.

Modificato da James il

All Replies (7)

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A few things to try:

right-click a message, Convert to|Event or Task to create a reminder;

the mailmindr add-on;

create custom tags for Respond in... and show the Tags column.


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sfhowes, thanks so much for the suggestion, however, this is exactly ( and please don't take this in the wrong way ) the problem of using a Lamborghini to go to the corner for milk when you just could have walked there.

your suggestion is to use a wholly separate process / plugin via the mailmindr addin which requires Lightening to create calendar events, etc,. pushing unresponded emails to a calendar event / moving things to a new folder ? and where you have to right click each email and execute many clicks to make an event ? that's a very large number of steps

If this is the case it means 2 things: 1) that you get reminders in your calendar which will obviously clog up a calendar to unbelievebale levels. can you imagine if on a calendar day you had to respond to 50 emails that all had come due that day, you'd never see meetings for that day. The other functionalty of mailmindr is that it moves message to ANOTHER folder so now you are looking in two folders to determine what you did and didn't reply to.

Wayne Mery (:wsmwk) in the thunderbird bug that I connected to this to titled " Bug 1647282 - simple inbox multi column sort functionality means an incredibly effective CRM " suggested Two column sorting should be working per bug 1037857 comment 5 ( sorry you can't insert a URL in the forums ) however after testing it, 2 column sort still does not seem to work

More specificaly in the ONLY other plugin that I see that might allow this to work as referneced above ( ColumnsWizard ) looks like no one is using it ( no users downloading it ) thus is hasn't been updated to work with v68+ and it might not work on the inbox itself: also moves things to new folders. Therefore:

- does this means it's back to square one ?

- is there a way to add a custom column to the inbox itself with a drop down for each message which I thought was part of the Thunderbird Extensions Developers panel thread as described above

in Thunderbird there is the ability to use tags: which, if you enumerated them: 1,2,3,4 could be used as a 1st level of sorting. However I'm sure users use tags to assign messages to certain depts: emails related to marketing or legal, etc., however IF you used them as priority level markers, yes this would solve the problem however I'm sure many users need that extra level ( a programmable column ) level of functionality that can be seen DIRECTLY in the inbox yes ?

There has to be a way around this: being able to add columns ( a field ) to a message to allow the above to be the simplest CRM that could ever be. How can we make this a reality  ?


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sfhowes, so from yesterday there have been more details given by the guys in the bugs team re: multi-column sorting, and we still don't have that bug fixed.

But what we have found out, is that with the simple ability to EITHER put a drop down that can be associated with each message ( that would solve this need ) OR the ability to use MORE than one tag per message BUT Thunderbird does NOT allow for more than one tag ( you can make a tag anything ) per message.

So, I've looked everywhere and there is no extra "tag" that you can add per message. thunderbird just has one that can be assigned per message, unless there is something that I'm missing. anyone have any ideas ?


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In the attached picture 3 tags are assigned to a message, visible in the Header Pane and the Tag column. The color of the text in the Threads Pane is the color of the lowest-numbered tag.

Modificato da sfhowes il


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sfhowes, thanks for this, but here is the issue: you can attached 3, 4 or just ONE tag to a message. That's great, BUT the way Thunderbird works, is that ONLY the 1st, tag selected is the ONLY one that can be sorted on and that is the problem.

Let's do a use case: Eg. there is ONLY one column called "TAG" ( which is the catch all in Thunderbird ) to allow for making a message known as something important and when a message comes in, say, about ordering water for the office, so you tag it with 1: call in 1 day and you ALSO tag it as the message is related to the Legal dept. When you sort the inbox message by the TAG column, Thunderbird can ONLY sort it by 1: call in 1 day. that's great. But the message is ALSO associated with the legal dept which is important for later meetings with the legal dept ( all the things that important that week) so another tag cannot be useful. Because the TAG column can only be associated with a TAG capability multiple sorting by function is not possible. To that, IF you remove all tags ( from the example from above ) and then FIRST assign a tag of Legal THEN you will obviously, when you sort the inbox by the "TAG" column, you see the things for legal. Thus, ALL of the above becomes useless because you can't ( with a two column sort ) be able to know that you need to call/act on a specific message by looking at the TAG column ( 1: call in 1 day; 2: call in 1 week; etc.. ) AND that it is ALSO important to Legal ( in another sorting exercise / call ) thus the point here is using the "TAG" column ( and ONLY this one column ) is possible. The above will never be able to make this use case ( using just ONE column as an ID capability ) for a simple CRM solution possible.

What MUST be done here is multi-column sort, which as detailed in is still not working / has not been implemented. Does anyone know if multi-column sort does / will work to solve the 1st part of this problem

The NEXT section of this problem is that the use of the "TAG" column will not solve the problem of sorting based on time, thus ADDITIONAL columns must be added to the inbox interface database. HOW therefore, can extra columns EASILY be added to the InBox pane AND then be able to sort by these new columns ( but we all know you can ONLY use 2 max ) for the above use case / sorting by additional columns in the inbox interface.

Does anyone know how to do this: adding new columns EASY to the inbox message pane and NOT via the TAGS existing functionality of Thunderbird ?


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Maybe you can achieve part of what you want with Saved Searches or Custom Views. In the attached picture, Ctrl+Shift+F shows a search for messages that have both the Important and To Do tags; Save as Search Folder stores the search rules in a subfolder. File/New/Saved Search offers more options. A Custom View can be created with complex filters:


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sfhowes, thanks again for this, but this is what I mentioned in my 1st post: moving things to a new folder, copying, Saved Searches, Custom Views, using new folders, etc., only makes the problem worse: duplicate emails, etc.. rather things ALL coming in ( and using something as simple as threads ) to be seen in the inbox and a SUPER easy way to not miss things by a subject or topic to take action on something

there HAS to be a way to add new columns to the inbox from a system / interface like but it's SUCH a complicated and possibly dangerous way to mess up the inbox / Thunderbird database.

Is there ANY way to EASILY make a column and allow for a drop down for that column ? If there were JUST this ( the ability to add a column to the inbox with a drop down ) we'd be set


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