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Creating IMAP Folders and Subfolders

If you use WebMail and Thunderbird, you may want to create folders and subfolders to hold your mail that are reflected in both systems. It's not difficult to do; follow these instructions and you'll have it set up in no time.

First, a little information about mail folders. We tend to call what shows up in the folder list of Thunderbird "Folders." In reality these are mail files that get data appended to them when we store new email messages; in this document we'll refer to these as "mail folders."

We can create a subfolder structure consisting of real directory folders on the server that hold the mail folders described above; we will call these "real folders." The mail folders inside the real folders will hold email messages, but the real folders can only contain mail folders. The real folders have a different look to them in the Thunderbird folder list: They are in indicated by grayed-out italics

To create a subfolder structure, right click on the iMap account name in the Thunderbird folder list.
 Picture 1

To create a real folder with a mail folder inside it, type in the real folder name followed by a forward slash (/) and then the name of the mail folder you would like created in that folder.
 Picture 2
This will create a real folder called "test" in your mail directory that will have a mail folder called "test" in it. You can't drag email messages into the top level real folder, as it is not a mail folder.

 Picture 3
Notice that the real folder's name is italic and gray. You can right click on these folders and select "Subfolder" from the menu to create more mail folders in the real folders. You can also drag other mail folders into the real folder.

To further illustrate this structure of real folders versus mail folders, see the next screen capture from WinSCP. It shows the real folders that were created in the "mail" directory on the server.
 Picture 4

Double click on one of the real folders and the mail folders in it are dislpayed. Note the path at the top of the screen capture. Also notice that the mail folder does not look like a folder to the server; that's because it is actually a file, as described above.
Picture 5

Deleting the folders must be done in WebMail or through SSH, not Thunderbird.

In WebMail, select "Folders" from the menu.

Picture 6

Click the "plus sign(+)" by the real folder and place a check in the box for the subfolder. Then select "Delete Folder" from the drop down menu. Note that I had to delete the mail subfolder before webmail would delete the real folder.

 Picture 7

To make the folders disapear from the Folder list in Thunderbird you must unsubscribe from them in Thunderbird.

Right click on the iMap account name in the folder list. Select "Subscribe" from the list.
 Picture 8

Remove the check mark from the box for the subfolder and click the "OK" button, and those folders will no longer appear.
 Picture 9


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