NewFirst Thunderbird Add-on

Mozilla Thunderbird is a great email client, I have been very happy using it for the past couple of years. But as someone who likes to have my new mail at the top of the screen, I find it frustrating to have to click twice on the date column header to get it sorted in descending order, ie newest mail at the top (by default the first click sorts ascending, the second click sorts descending).

I have been unable to find an option within Thunderbird or any existing Thunderbird add-on that changes this behaviour, so I have written my own addon / extension.

Above: Clicking the date column header sorts in ascending order (oldest messages first). You need to click it a second time to get descending order.

Introducing the NewFirst Add-on

This addon does one thing only. By default, all columns (including date) are sorted in ascending order when you click the column header.

With the NewFirst add-on installed, the date column will sort in descending order on the first click, and back to ascending order on the second click.

Above: With the add-on installed, clicking the date column header sorts the messages in descending order (newest messages first).

Brutally simple, sure, but this has been bugging me for some time.


Download newfirst.xpi here. Compatible with Mozilla Thunderbird - 2.0.0.*

Important notice: I'm having a few problems with the xpi uninstalling itself when restarting Thunderbird. I'm working on it, but it's not proving easy to fix. I'll update the page once I get it sorted soon.


  • Download the newfirst.xpi and save to your local computer.
  • Open Thunderbird, select Tools from the menu, then Add-ons.
  • Click Install, then browse for newfirst.xpi where you previously saved the file.
  • After installation, restart Thunderbird.
  • Try clicking the column header for the Date column (pictured above). If messages are sorted newest at the top after the first click, it's working.

There are no configuration options for this add-on. To revert to Thunderbird's default behaviour, uninstall the add-on.


NewFirst is licensed under the MPL/GPL/LGPL triple license, allowing use of the files under the terms of any one of the Mozilla Public License, the GNU General Public License, or the GNU Lesser General Public License.


OK, I'll be honest - this is my first attempt at a Thunderbird add-on. While it's functionality is very simple, it's possible there are bugs or glitches. Feel free to email me regarding any bugs, or if you are more experienced with Thunderbird add-ons than I am, perhaps you could have a go at fixing the bug and email me a copy of the end result?

If you like this add-on...

If you find this add-on useful, consider placing a link to somewhere on your blog or forum. I'd be very grateful.


Feel free to post comments relating to this on the blog.