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I would like for Thunderbird to show replies to threaded messages in with the received messages. Is this possible, even with an extension?

The desired behavior would be something like how Zimbra's threaded email view works.

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9 Answers 9

up vote 12 down vote accepted

GMail Conversation View does what you want without having to copy replies into your folders. Sometimes it doesn't properly pull in your replies, and it doesn't start conversations if you initiated them, but it is the most similar to gmail I have found.

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1  
Combine this and gatorbrit's answer and I've basically got what I want. Thanks guys! –  Colin Dean May 5 '10 at 22:01
    
2-year update: Switched to Postbox, has excellent conversation view. TB is still lacking in this (and most) respects. –  colinmollenhour Jan 16 '13 at 4:33
    
This plugin unfortunately makes significant changes to the Thunderbird UI going far beyond just showing replies in the same folder. –  Jesse Glick Mar 7 '13 at 16:19
    
I don't know if it's improved but I was using GMail Conversation View a few years ago and it made Thunderbird a bit unstable. –  Giles Roberts Oct 23 '13 at 9:57
    
The problem with this is when the thread is long , say more than 30 entries, it becomes too slow to be useful. –  xgdgsc Jun 29 at 14:35

You need to go to the account settings for the account and select Copies & Folders, then check the box "Place replies in the folder of the message being replied to"

Also enable sorting by thread.

THis will replicate the gmail effect I think.

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Combine this and user30075's answer and I've basically got what I want. Thanks guys! –  Colin Dean May 5 '10 at 22:01
2  
This works but it goes against Google’s recommendations for IMAP clients (to not make copies of sent messages, sent GMail already does that anyway), and slows down mail delivery by a factor of two as the message is not just sent but also copied into your folder (including big attachments). What is needed is to just see the sent message in the folder, not to really copy it there. –  Jesse Glick Mar 7 '13 at 16:10
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Obviously for POP and SMTP as opposed to IMAP setups this works a treat and doesn't duplicate messages. The sent replies only appear in your inbox, not in your sent mail folder, which actually works really well in practice. –  Giles Roberts Nov 11 '13 at 10:10

To view emails as conversation threads, go to View, Sort By, and choose Threaded, (Unthreaded to stop showing threads.)

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This applies to the latest versions of Thunderbird. Thanks! –  Colin Dean Feb 22 '12 at 18:59
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This is not an answer to the stated question. –  Jesse Glick Mar 7 '13 at 16:10

If you set Thunderbird to place sent mails in the Inbox folder you can achieve it. This works great for me. I use my Inbox as 'ongoing issues'. So, placing the sent messages (that could be thought of a new issue or a reply to an ongoing issue) in inbox is ok.

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It "is" built-in on thunderbird now, if you do the right steps:

There is the Global Inbox (if there isn't one, you have to activate it at View >> Folders >> Unified from this tip)

Go on its properties at "Select the folders to search:"
and click on "Choose...", you will see that your top inbox is checked;
just check the "sent" one, click "ok", and "Update".

Now, go to your top "inbox" that is the global one, activate the threaded column and you have a three with all incoming and outgoing messages!

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If you use Gmail. Your thunderbird will sync the folder structure which includes an "All Mail". Use this folder instead of "Inbox" and use the threaded view will make the threads include sent replies.

I prefer this way to the plugin "Thunderird Conversations" because the plugin is very slow to load when the thread is very long. And sometimes the plugin doesn' t display attachments properly. And this way avoids the extra costs of the option "Place replies in the folder of the message being replied to" will incur.

For other mail users, adding a new virtual folder might also do, see: Combine in- and outgoing mail in Thunderbird in one folder . This inspired me that Gmail includes such a folder already.

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I use the Copy Sent to Current extension to do what it says.... that way I have my sent emails in the sent folder for archival purposes as well as in the folder I was in when I composed the email. That combined with the threaded view gets me the perfect conversation.

Edit: the only problem is that when you search for a conversation, it displays the replies both from your inbox/archives folder AND the sent folder, so perhaps you don't want to use this. But I thought I'd put the option out there.

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Yes, this Lifehacker-page describes how to enable it: http://lifehacker.com/264317/maintain-threaded-view-in-thunderbird

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1  
While this maintains threads when sorting by other columns, it unfortunately does not show thread replies from the Sent folder--this is the behavior which I desire. –  Colin Dean Nov 29 '09 at 5:05

Click on the header of the left-most (usually) column give you the threaded view.

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1  
While this enables thread view using mail in the inbox, it unfortunately does not show thread replies from the Sent folder--this is the behavior which I desire. –  Colin Dean Nov 29 '09 at 5:06
    
Try ThreadVis addon for Thunderbird. –  huggie Jul 9 at 0:40

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