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Autofile Help and User Guide



Autofile is a Thunderbird add-on that will accelerate and simplify the way you file messages after you read them. It adds a powerful Autofile button at the top right of the displayed message. This button will allow you to file the displayed message directly to each folder where you generally file messages from each message author. No more drag and drop needed.

The Autofile button : red or green?

There is only one Autofile button, which can appear either red or green. The button is red when the Autofile system does not know where to file the displayed message. The Autofile button is green when the Autofile system knows where to file the displayed message.

When the button is red, it is labeled ‘Autofile’. When the button is green it is labeled with the name of the folder where Autofile will move the displayed message when you press the button. When green, the full path of the target folder is shown in the tooltip above the Autofile button.

The green button: 

When Autofile button is green, just press it and the displayed message will move to the target folder whose name appears on the button. On the button above, the message will move to a folder named CNDA.

If you hold Shift key while pressing the green button, the message is not moved but a configuration window pops up. This allows you to change the target folder or deregister the e-mail author (i.e. clear any previously set target folder for this author).

The red button:  Description : Description : redButton

When Autofile button is red, press the button and  a configuration window will appear.

The configuration window

The configuration window has 2 distinct sections.

            The top section

The top section will allow you to specify the target folder where to move the currently displayed message. You will see the name of the author of the currently displayed message. You need to select the target folder by typing a few letters of its name in the empty field and then select the folder from the list. Then press ‘Click to move message’ and the message will move to the target folder and the target folder will be registered for this author. From now on, when you display a message from this author you will have the green button.

In the same way you can deregister a registered address by clicking Deregister.

The field showing the currently displayed message author may be edited. However if you edit it, only the Deregister button will be available, while the button to move the message will be disabled.

Note that Autofile registers only the raw e-mail address,, not the description part AVIBEP, which is completely ignored. Therefore an author appearing in various mails with two different descriptions but the same e-mail address will be handled as a unique author.

            The bottom section

The bottom section of the configuration window allows you to automatically mass register authors and their target folders. You specify a root folder in the field by typing a few letters of the folder name and then you select the folder in the list that appears. Now press ‘Start autoregister’ and Autofile will check each message in the folder and in its subfolders. For each message author, it will register its containing folder as target folder for this author.

During this process of automatic mass registration, an author will not be registered if any of the following cases is true:

-         this author belongs to more than one folder of the folder hierarchy below the root folder:  Autofile cannot choose the target folder it needs to associate with this author.


-         this author is already registered: it was probably manually registered by you and Autofile will not override your registration.

Warning: mass registration may take time if you have lots of mails. The good news is that you can select the folders to mass register. If you do not have too many e-mails, feel free to mass register all folders at once by selecting ‘Local Folders’ as root folder.

The ‘Purge’ button next to ‘Start Autoregister’ allows you to automatically remove from registration in Autofile all authors in a folder hierarchy. Whether they were automatically or manually entered makes no difference: they will all be removed.


Shortcut:  Ctl + Shift + W

Hitting together Ctl + Shift + W is the same as hitting the Autofile button. When the Autofile button is red, hitting Ctl + Shift + W while open the configuration window. When the button is green, hitting Ctl + Shift + W will move the current message to the folder displayed on the button.

Renaming a folder

What happens if you rename a folder that is associated with one or more authors ? If you rename a folder that is associated with one or more authors, Autofile will not be able to move messages to the renamed folder.

Autofile will deregister an author associated to the renamed folder only when a message from this author is displayed in the message pane: the Autofile button will become red. Other authors associated with this folder will not be affected. This means that if you change your mind and rename the folder back to its previous name, registrations will still be valid for all authors for which no message was displayed.

Once you rename a folder, no previous registrations to this folder will be valid. To let authors being registered to this folder:

1.     open the configuration window, then select the renamed folder

2.     click purge to erase all old registrations of authors to the folder previous name

3.     click Start autoregister.


Things to know


·      Opening the configuration window can be achieved either by pressing the red button, or by holding the Shift key and pressing the green button.


·      Autoregistration preserves registrations that were previously entered, manually or automatically. Once a registration has been entered, manually or automatically, there is no difference: it will be preserved during future autoregistrations.


·      Before using autoregistration on a very large folder, test it on small folders to have an idea of how fast it works. If you do not want to keep these test registrations, just use the purge button with the same folder.


·      When you autoregister authors down from a root folder and some author appears not to be registered, this is likely because the author appears in at least 2 folders of the folders hierarchy below the root folder (the root folder being included in this hierarchy).


·      You can overwrite a registration, ie re-register an author: if you want to change the registered folder for an author, you need first to have the configuration window open. Once the configuration window is opened, select a Thunderbird message from the author you want to re-register. His e-mail address will now be displayed in the configuration window. Now choose a destination folder with the folder selection field and press ‘Click to move message’. This will register the author with the new target folder.


·      In the same way, if you want to deregister an author, you need to have the configuration window open. Once the configuration window is opened, select a message from the author you want to de-register. His e-mail address will now be displayed in the configuration window. Click ‘Deregister’. This will deregister the author.


·      If you need to remove some entry in a dropdown list of folders, select the entry by pressing on your mouse left button and, still while pressing the left mouse button, press delete key.


·      Autofile does not modify your mail data except when it moves a message to a folder. Registering or deregistering or purging do not modify your mail data. Autofile never erases your data.


·      Obviously no data is exchanged with the outside world.


·      By using Autofile, you expressly understand and agree that you are using it at your own risk and that you will not hold the developer or Mozilla liable for any issue related to Autofile use.


Known issues

All the following issues are minor issues that will likely be fixed by future Thunderbird releases.

In rare cases, due to a Thunderbird bug, Autofile cannot access a folder messages list in order to autoregister or purge the authors from the configuration window.  If you try to autoregister or purge such folder authors registrations, the configuration window will show an abnormal number of messages or authors, such as 0 (see picture), while the folder actually contains many messages with authors unique to this folder, who should therefore be autoregistered or purged.

If this happens with one of your folders that you need to autoregister or purge, just select one of the messages in the folder and then open the configuration window. Autoregister and purge should now work.   Another solution is to create a new folder and move all messages from the defective folder to the new folder. Then delete the old folder and rename the new folder to the original folder name. Now autoregister and purge will work on this folder.

In very rare cases, due to a Thunderbird bug, Autofile may seem not move a message when you press the green button. Actually it does move the message but the message remains displayed in the source folder, though you will find it as expected in the target folder. To get rid of this sticky message, just delete it in the source folder. No panic: as we said, the message was moved in the target folder.

Autofile uses the new Thunderbird API which will make it work for years. However this API is very new and some functions appear not to work 100%. Especially a call to the API browser.messages.move([] ,targetFolder) sometimes fails for unknown reason with no error message. There is no way around this issue as this is the only way to move a message. Usually when such kind of issues appears, restarting Thunderbird may help.

Thunderbird API is supposed to work on Windows and Apple systems. Users have reported trouble with Apple.

Certainly future Thunderbird versions will fix such issues in the API.


Before asking for support, please disable any Thunderbird extension you may have installed, and check if the issue persists. Most issues, including buttons not showing up, come from extensions/add-ons that are not compatible with Thunderbird API and therefore prevent Autofile from operating properly.

If you experience any trouble, please e-mail to: Make sure you detail in your e-mail if the button is green or red. Screen copies may help understand what happens.

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