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I still dream of Organon

Gmail labels in Thunderbird

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by September 27, 2005 Mozilla, Thunderbird

[for Mozilla Thunderbird users]
I recently got into Gmail‘s labelling system, which is pretty cool. You can create as many labels as you want, then label messages with as many of those labels as you want. Underneath the list of message folders, is a list of your labels, which you can click on to see a list of messages with that label (virtual folders).

Mozilla Thunderbird has similar functions, that can accomplish that, but with limitations. There’s the saved search folder feature which can not only achieve virtual folders for labelled messages, but for any search criteria. Then there is Thunderbird’s own labelling system, which works almost the same as Gmail, except 1)you have a limit of 5 labels, and 2)you can only apply one label to a message.

This is something I would love for Thunderbird to have; so I went through Bugzilla to search for any RFEs. I found Bug 114656 [allow arbitrary number of labels], and voted for it. Then I read comment #44, which points out an extension to help achieve this.

The Header Tools extension (by Audilecce) allows one to modify/add/remove headers of an email message. This means you can add your own header to a message, such as ‘X-Labels’ or ‘X-Categories’, and apply as many labels as you wish. You can set up saved search folders with the criteria [X-Labels][contains], and list the label. You can even have one saved search folder for a combination of labels.

Of course, I’d like each message to display its labels. This is where one of my favourites extensions can be used. Mnenhy is an extension that allows one to customize header views. These two are a match made in heaven! -)

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One commentcomments14

  1. That’s really excellent. Thanks for posting this! 🙂

  2. Have you found a way to set up a filter to modify headers automatically? It’d be great to have all incoming mail tagged….

  3. What I was looking for. Please promote it to the mozilla developers team. We will sponsor it.

  4. Individual extensions work well. Needs two menu selections.

    Add_Keyword:
    for each selection
    if not (X-Keyword contains keyword), append keyword to X-Keyword

    Remove_Keyword:
    for each selection
    if (X-Keyword contains keyword), remove keyowrd from X-Keyword.

    Any developers willing to take this on?

  5. it’s a little cumbersome though – gmail’s attaction is the ease of use, not simply the function itself.

  6. is there anyway to have the labels you’ve used in gmail download to thunderbird when using pop?

    that way you can have one set of labels that works across both gmail and thunderbird.

  7. Hi, thanks a lot for this information. But currently there isn’t a download for the actual Headertools.xpi 🙁

  8. Hi, just searched for an add on that allows to tag mails and found “Tag The Bird” https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/1832/

  9. I am a proud Gmail user. Never worrying about email size, incredibly fast reply (powered by AJAX, a technology often used by Google), Web Clips,
    automatic forwarding, one button – click search, advanced filters, labels and not folders, message preview, automatic refresh, auto-save messages,as-good-as-yahoomail spam filters, not one executable to be sent or received, feeling of having a different technology? A definite recommendation for
    anyone that reads more than one email per day.
    Have you tried Gmail? If yes, what's your taste on it? Why do you love it/hate it?

  10. Btw, labels support is coming in Thunderbird 2.0. (called tags there)
    http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/releases/2.0b1.html
    quoting:
    “Message Tags: Create your own tags for organizing email. Messages can be assigned any number of tags. Tags can be combined with saved searches and mail views to make it easier to organize email.”

  11. I receive efax’s that have just a phone # in the subject or the mail server writes SPAM## into the subject.

    IN MICROSOFT OUTLOOK YOU CAN EDIT THE SUBJECT LINE AND RESAVE (that way you can add info to the subject or remove the SPAM warnings). Is there an extension that will allow you to modify the email subject line and resave the message.

  12. Is there any way to get X-Labels to copy over as labels in Thunderbird.
    There is discussion out there for it: http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/06/11/06/150226.shtml

    But no genious has seemed to come up with it yet.

  13. I have the same problem, I got an e-mail tagged as spam !!! by my antivirus, how can I edit that subject ?
    I knew how in outlook but is seams that here I can’t drag the e-mail out of the client(thunderbird) edit it and change the subject line…
    Any advices ?

  14. I receive efax’s that have just a phone # in the subject or the mail server writes SPAM## into the subject.

    IN MICROSOFT OUTLOOK YOU CAN EDIT THE SUBJECT LINE AND RESAVE (that way you can add info to the subject or remove the SPAM warnings). Is there an extension that will allow you to modify the email subject line and resave the message.