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We get a lot of technical support e-mails from clients, and sometimes the going back and forth to fix the issue can take several e-mails, and during that time, I'll get other e-mails that are unrelated to the first issue. So this means that if I sort my e-mails by Date, I'll get something like...

ISSUE #1 email  
ISSUE #1 email  
ISSUE #2 email  
ISSUE #1 email  
ISSUE #2 email  
ISSUE #2 email  
ISSUE #1 email  

What I need to do, in one sentence, is group these e-mails together based on their content, not any kind of quantifier like a Date or From field. First thing that comes to mind is, Thunderbird tags. Except, the default functionality that Thunderbird has built in simply isn't made for what I have in mind. I'm talking about a separate tag for each and every issue that comes up with clients. If we say we have two issues per day for a year, we're looking at over 700 tags. So yeah, that's not going to work.

What I really need to be able to do is create custom threads of e-mails manually, so that I can take all related e-mails and build my own thread, then label the thread and give it a date. That way when I want to see all the "issues", I can get a list of the issues (custom threads), and then expand the issue to see the individual e-mails as well. BUT, by creating the custom threads, I can't eliminate each individual e-mail from other means of filtering/searching. Basically, I need two views for my e-mails: 1) show everything, unrelated to issue, and 2) show issues only, compacting the related e-mails into the issue thread.

I'm 110% open to alternatives to Thunderbird. I am aware that what I'm describing is more of like a ticketing system like OTRS, but given our environment, something on that scale isn't really possible, and I need this specifically just for me, on my PC, to manage my own e-mail.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm afraid, but you'll not find something better for you tasks, than RITLabs The Bat!:

  • Threads of all and any type, easy re-threading by hand
  • Sorting rules (not only incoming, but other types also)
  • Virtual (and real) folders with flexible filtering rules
  • Different view types
  • Memo for e-mail (personal memo for single e-mail)
  • Color-groups

As sibe-bonus:

  • Rich templates
  • Macro-variables for templates
  • Easy automation of most support@ work

The Bat! will require some learning curve at start, but it's fair price

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Dang, that looks like an awesome e-mail client! I'd never heard of it before. Too bad it's not free :( This is entirely for work, and for my own organization, so it's not "necessary", and I don't want to spend my own money on it, so... :( Thanks though, nice to know this even exists :) – CptSupermrkt Dec 27 '11 at 0:07

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