How do I create mail filters in Mozilla Thunderbird?

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Mozilla Thunderbird allows you to create custom filters to handle mail. You can use the filters to organize email by moving, deleting, copying or forwarding it. Filters are applied to different email accounts and more than one filter can be used.

Note that filters you create in Thunderbird only work when you read your mail in Thunderbird. The filters won’t always be applied if you sometimes read mail using Webmail or an iPhone, for example. If you’re looking for a more robust (but slightly more complicated) option that works no matter what device you use to read mail, you probably want to use Sieve filtering instead.

In the example below, we show how you can create a simple “delete messages” filter in Thunderbird.

1. Open the "Message Filters" window

Start Thunderbird and click Tools, then Message Filters:

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2. Choose the mail account

Use the menu to select the mail account you want to create a rule for, then click New:

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3. Create the filter rule

The "Filter Rules" window appears.

Enter a name for the new filter. In the example below we've called the filter Spam Filter, but you can choose any name you like.

Look at the area under "For incoming messages that:"

The top box allows you to choose which part of the message you would like to filter on. Choose the From header.

The next menu allows you to specify the criteria that must be met. Choose Contains and then enter the email address that the spammer is using, for instance

Now we need to define an action to be performed when a message meets the criteria we have just specified. Choose the Delete Message option.

Click OK to save the changes.

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It is also possible to create more advanced filters that use a number of rules and actions. This is only recommended for advanced users or those willing to invest time learning how to use them. If you are interested in doing this you may want to have a look at our support page for creating a Spam Assassin filter which shows you how to create a more advanced filter for handling messages based on their SpamAssassin headers.