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I've created a new Thunderbird account to work with an IMAP account of mine on some mail server. I have all the message headers downloaded now, not all the bodies, and have read a couple of messages. Unfortunately, Thunderbird's 'Collected Addresses' only seems to include addresses from the few messages I've read or written, not from all messages whose headers have been downloaded.

  • Is there some configuration value I can change to make Thunderbird look for addresses in all of my headers?
  • Is there perhaps some 'manual' way to collect these addresses, say into abook.mab?
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4 Answers 4

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The Email Address Crawler Plugin might work. Note that the earlier version is no longer maintained. To use the updated version:

  1. Follow the direct download link. (Attention this is not approved by Mozila jet, see comment below)
  2. Start Thunderbird (v31.0 or greater).
  3. Open the triple-bar menu ().
  4. Click Add-ons.
  5. Click the icon beside the search text box to open a drop-down menu.
  6. Select Install Add-on From File...*
  7. Browse to the download location for Email Crawler.
  8. Select the file (e.g., emailcrawler-5.1.2.xpi).
  9. Click Open.
  10. Click Install Now.
  11. Click Restart Now.

Then:

  1. Right-click on any folder.
  2. Select Crawl folder for email addresses.
  3. Check To and From.
  4. Set Choose a [sic] addressbook as a target for the found addresses to Collected Addresses.
  5. Optionally, set Needed # of occurrences to 2 (to help filter invalid addresses).
  6. Click OK.

If you want to use an approved Plugin from Moxilla Add-On Page, maybe the Email Address Crawler Plugin is a solution for you?

EMail Address Crawler by CySlider
Automatically fill your address books or send mass mails with e-mail addresses extracted from all your e-mails.

It is a bit outdated, but there is stated by someone it that still worked in 17.0, so maybe it still works in Thunderbird 31

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  • I need to try it. On first appearance, it looks like it should work with TB 24.x , but now I need to create a new account with no messages downloaded, to test it.
    – einpoklum
    Apr 20, 2014 at 19:20
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    EMail Address Crawler 3 did not work for me using Thunderbird v31. Aug 11, 2014 at 18:30
  • Emailcrawler would be a good choice, but the Mozilla approved plugin version does not work with recent TBird. (2015 february).
    – Bug J.
    Feb 13, 2015 at 6:30
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    Emailcrawler works with TB 45. The new URL is: freeshell.de//~kaosmos/index-en.html#eac -- make note that you have to left+click, then right-click before selecting "Crawl folder", otherwise it will crawl the previously selected folder.
    – benjaoming
    Sep 14, 2016 at 14:08
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    5.1.2 Not working with TB 60.6.1
    – gordie
    Jun 26, 2019 at 8:05
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I founded one that worked well here: EmailPicky 4 (search for it in Mozilla Add-On Page)

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/emailpicky-4/

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  • The description talks about getting information from downloaded messages, but doesn't mention anything about getting it from the server for messages that aren't in Thunderbird. Are you sure this does what's asked in the question?
    – fixer1234
    Oct 25, 2016 at 5:03
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    "Is there some configuration value I can change to make Thunderbird look for addresses in all of my headers?" He is not asking for messages which aren't in Thunderbird, but for messages which headers were downloaded. For what I tried, this plugin works for this matter.
    – jpenna
    Oct 25, 2016 at 22:27
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I tried a workaround:

  • go in offline mode and stay offline during this whole process until you are done
  • create a filter that replies to all emails and run it
  • delete all those mails from your out box before you send any
  • make sure there are no more mails in your outbox before you go online again

Thought, this could move all contacts into your collected addresses

But this doesn't work!

I tried it, and the addresses are not collected until you really send them

I will keep this here for reference.
Maybe this answer gives an idea on how to create a workaround that works using the built-in filters. Maybe with forwarding somehow. Or with a fake mailserver that just pretends to send the mails.

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  • I dunno, you run the risk of sending out those replies by mistake at some point. Also, I'll need to reapply that procedure repeatedly...
    – einpoklum
    Feb 13, 2015 at 9:18
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It is SIMPLE to do that:

Thunderbird stores all messages in a folder (like inbox, sent, trash, etc) in a single "text" file. Just pass that file through Power Email Address Extractor. It will collect all emails in that file.

The program is VERY flexible. It has special filters for Thunderbird files. So, if you want you can extract emails only from "to", "from", "cc" fields.

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  • While doing that is possible workaround, it's not what I asked; I want Thunderbird to do it...
    – einpoklum
    Mar 24, 2017 at 11:59
  • windows only :(
    – clankill3r
    Sep 28, 2020 at 15:22

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