Friday, November 03, 2006

Reorder accounts in Thunderbird

Ever wanted to change the order in which Thunderbird presented your e-mail accounts in the left panel? Me too. Unfortunately it is not that easy for a novice user.

First of all, I tried to think like the people who wrote it. We' re talking about serious developers here. So it is common to allow a lot of configuration/customization to be done through special files (known as "conf" files). These files contain text which is interpreted by the application at runtime and are an excellent way to pass many arguments. This provides much more options that the typical "Options" button under the Tools menu.

So I started looking around my Thunderbird Profile folder until I found "prefs.js". I opened it using a serious text editor like Notepad++ to find the entry:

user_pref("mail.accountmanager.accounts", "account1,account2,account3");

I experimented by swapping "account1" with "account3" and restarted Thunderbird. And guess what, it worked!

Excellent Tip if you ask me :)

Oh, make sure you are not running Thunderbird while modifying this file and, just to be safe, take a backup before doing anything.

P.S.: You Profile folder should be located under "C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\"


Anonymous said...

Nice! it worked, I've been looking for something like this for a long time. i couldn't find an extension to do it so i googled it and this was the first result :)

George 2K8 said...

Glad to be of service!

P.S.: Also glad to be the first result is Google :D

Unknown said...

You can also use this extension to rearrange the accounts:

Just install, restart and open your extensions list again. Select the extension and hit properties. Rearrange, and voila!

Note: The default account will not be listed on the list of accounts to rearrange, as it is always first. Reassign the default email if you want to move the current default down a bit.

George 2K8 said...

Thanks for the info!

MAC OS is based on Unix so stuff like ~ (home) or the fact that user-specific settings are stored under his home directory are present.

Hope this post has been useful to you :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info on this. I am not a programmer and certainly never want to be. You made this so easy to do. I have several email accounts from my small business to personal and this helped to make things more organized.

Milivoj said...

Thanks a lot for this tip. Much better than installing a whole extension just for that. To make it easier to match account numbers with names, this Perl line may help:

perl -ne "print if (/mail\.server\.server\d+\.name.,/ || /mail\.accountmanager\.accounts/)" pre

(You may need to give the full path to your prefs.js file)