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Searching in Thunderbird


Thunderbird's search capabilities are different from Eudora's. This document will cover "How to search..."

Search all mail folders:

Within Thunderbird, you will need to perform two separate searches in order to have all mail searched.  You will need to search both the “SCLS” folder and the “Local Folders” folder (and their associated subfolders).

Search the "SCLS" Folder:

  1. Within Thunderbird, right click the SCLS... folder at the top of the hierarchy in the left hand pane
  2. Select Search
  3. The Search for messages in field allows you to select the two main mail storage locations: SCLS and Local Folders. You can make your search more folder-specific when applicable.
  4. Verify that the SCLS... folder appears in the Search for messages in field
  5. Leave the check mark that's associated with Search subfolders
  6. The next two entries Match all of the following and Match any of the following are the same thing as saying "Do an AND search" and "Do an Or search" respectively.
    Search All Messages

  7. Select the Match... option that applies to your specific search.
  8. Select the search criteria from the 1st-3rd drop down boxes.
  9. To add additional search parameters, click the + symbol at the end of the row. This will add an additional row where you can set additional search parameters.
  10. Click the Search button in the upper right hand corner to initiate the search.
  11. If there is a match of interest, you can double click that message and leave it open while you do other searches.
  12. Leave your search criteria the same and perform a second search. See next section.

Search the "Local Folders" folder:

  1. At the top of the search screen, click the drop down associated with the Search for messages in field.
  2. Select the Local Folders folder
  3. The search criteria that you used previously is still preserved.
  4. Click on the Search button in the upper right hand corner to initiate the search.

Quick (limited) search for mail within a specific folder:

This search method only searches the particular folder that is selected in the left hand pane.  The search criteria that are available are more limited than when using the “Search all mail folders” method.  Search criteria are restricted to “Subject”, “Sender”, “Subject or Sender”, “To or CC”, and “Entire Message”. 

To perform a "quick" search:

  1. Click the drop down arrow to the right of the magnifying glass that's located in the "Quick search" box in the upper right of your screen.
  2. Select the applicable search criteria.
    Thunderbird Quick Search

  3. Type in the search string to the right of the drop down arrow.
  4. Press the Enter key.
  5. All search matches will appear below the quick search box.
  6. To clean your search results, click the blue box that contains the white X that's to the right of the search string you typed in.


Search for text within a specific email:

  1. Open the message you wish to search.
  2. Click Edit in the menu and select Find from the Find in This Message.
  3. A Find box will open in the lower left hand corner of the screen.

    Thunderbird Find Within an email

  4. Type the text that you'd like to find. As you type, matching text will be highlighted in green in the body of the message. If there are no matches, the find box will turn red and the Phrase not found message will appear to the right of the search box.
  5. You can exit "Find mode" in one of two ways:
    • Click the red square with the white X to the left of the Find field or
    • Close the opened message