How to Turn On and Off Unified Folders in Thunderbird

If you’ve ever been dissatisfied with your operating system’s preinstalled or most popular email application, you’ve probably looked for other options. There are several good ones to choose from, but the most popular universal stand-alone mail application is Thunderbird created by the same people who bring you the Firefox browser.

Thunderbird is a free email application that gives you plenty of room to customize while offering you support for multiple addresses, a reliable search feature that allows you to query a single address or all of them at once, add-on support for third-party enhancements, junk mail and phishing protection, automatic updates, and all of this sits in an open source package so you need not worry about what’s under the hood.

If you use multiple email accounts, you’ve probably wasted time checking each box individually for new messages. You can combine all of your accounts (non-destructively) in to a single set of folders including inbox, junk mail, drafts, sent, and trash. You can, with a click, go to the account-specific boxes without having to disable the unified setting when you’re checking for something specific in a hurry.

To turn on Unified Folders:

  • Find the view menu in your main menu at the top of the window (or screen if you’re on OS X).
  • Scroll down to the submenu titled “folders.”
  • Select “Unified.”

At this point your folders should be automatically arranged in a unified format. You can further customize the layout to compliment the smaller sidebar by selecting the Classic, Wide, or Vertical layout also found in the view menu.

To turn Unified Folders off and return to the default setting, all you need to do is repeat the previous steps and select “All” instead of “Unified” in the Folders menu.

Checking your email shouldn’t be a hassle, and having an application that conforms to your needs is certainly a plus. Thunderbird has been around for a long time, and the fact that it works the same across Windows, Mac, and Linux makes it an appealing choice for anyone who doesn’t want to have to retrain themselves or search for an alternative every time they switch operating systems.

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