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I have recently setup Thunderbird to download all mails from my Gmail account.

There are lot of emails in Gmail having labels.

Is there a way to map Gmail labels to Thunderbird so that I can sort/filter by labels without having to manually re-tag them again in Thunderbird?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

See: Turn Thunderbird into the Ultimate Gmail IMAP Client.

In your IMAP account settings, the Copies & Folders area, be sure to change the default location for Sent and Drafts to [Gmail]/Sent Mail and [Gmail]/Drafts respectively, as shown.

Even after you do this, you'll notice a few strange labels in your Gmail account: [Imap]/Sent, [Imap]/Drafts and [Imap]/Trash. These are Thunderbird's default Sent, Drafts, and Trash folders. Once you make the change to your account settings, you can delete those labels in Gmail and they won't get regenerated. (Note: except for [Imap]/Trash, which I can't rid myself of entirely, since T-bird seems married to it. Bueller? Update: see the next section for the solution to the [Imap]/Trash label.)

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@ Will this download all mails from gmail to my laptop ? Is there a way to avoid this ? Will delete of mail from Thunderbird also delete from gmail server ? –  James Nov 17 '09 at 14:25
    
1. Probably yes, 2. Yes: stay with Gmail only, 3. Probably yes. I suggest to read very attentively the quoted article before implementing (and including the comments). –  harrymc Nov 17 '09 at 14:50
    
@Sorry Harry, i wanted to give vote to your answer .. but somebody had given you negative so i could only make it 0 by incrementing it. –  James Nov 17 '09 at 14:58
    
Thanks for the vote. Yes, somebody is misusing his downvote privileges, but it's certainly not your fault. –  harrymc Nov 17 '09 at 15:35
    
I have used this before. By default, only headers will be downloaded; the full message won't be pulled unless you tell Thunderbird to go get it. As for deleting in Thunderbird, by default it will label those messages "IMAP-Trash" in Gmail, giving you an opportunity to recover them, if necessary. There are ways to work with deletions differently if you want. –  Al E. Nov 17 '09 at 19:17
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