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Familiar face
Status: New idea

Thunderbird search is fragmented, poorly documented and incomplete.  Much effort has gone into the aspects of the product that make it pretty,  but the fundamental functions such as search have received little if any love in a decade.

I suggest this be a major inclusion of the next release after the pretty version (115).

Features I would like to see.

  1. Full text search of chat, calendars, to-do lists and mail. I want to know if I have heard from Fred in the last year,  not undertake multiple searches of multiple sources.
  2. User choice as to the use or otherwise of the faceted view (few like it and many are confused by faceted result not translating into an actual email.)
  3. Use choice as to use of a single line search ala Google Vs a search using a form where many parameters can be set for those that do not want to learn command line search syntax.
  4. Search be brought into the expectations of folk in it reporting everything and not exluding indexing of quotes and numbers like it does now.  The tokenizer needs much work to ensure all references are found.



Status changed to: New idea
Community Manager
Community Manager

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New member

Long ago I used Eudora email, but Thunderbird was better.  Except for one thing - search.  With Eudora, I could specify what needed to match for each header field, what to ignore, what to look for in the text,  it just seemed so easy and it worked well.  Thunderbird is a more modern email program, but I wish you would give users a more capable search function.

Strollin' around

Using Thunderbird around the office I find the search function to be one of the biggest weak points of Thunderbird right now.

Full text search should really be the standard in 2023.

The result you get often include a lot of irrelevant things or don't find what you are looking for at all.

Let's say you want to find a cv send by ed and search for "CV Ed"

you will not find anything because his name happened to be 2 characters.

Okay let's try his full name: "Ed Post"
Great now I find mails with "Time Posted" or containing Posts

This is just an example but it really shows how terrible the search results can be.

New member

Search in Thunderbird is atrocious. The specific issue that bugs me is that it's needlessly resource intensive. The flow at the moment is: first enter search term, then choose the dimension(s) - sender, recipient, subject, body, as appropriate - but Thunderbird starts searching as soon as the search term is entered. This means that the default is that Thunderbird starts searching for the search term across all dimensions. With an inbox of a reasonable size this is consumes a lot of memory, at least until one reduces the dimension choice to one or two. I now have Thunderbird hangin regularly when I search for items. Why is it this way round? The obvious workflow should be: first select the dimension(s) you want to search, then enter the search term. It's bewildering to me that it isn't this way round.

Making moves

I am a bit late to this discussion, but the new search function is now unusable for me.  It is slow and takes forever and it is not an easy selective search as before.  Maybe I am using the new version wrong, but it is not intuitively obvious.