The folder selection tree in Mozilla Thunderbird can be a bit of a nuisance for keyboard users. You cannot jump to a folder by typing the first few letters of its name. In addition, when you move between folders with the cursor keys, Thunderbird opens the newly selected folder immediately. IF you have several accounts and many folders in some of those accounts like I do, this means that moving between folders which are quite far apart will cause Thunderbird to try to open every folder you visit on the way. This is not only slow, but also probably wasteful of bandwidth.
I've just discovered a way to solve this second problem, which I'm posting in case others didn't know about it. To move between folders without opening every folder in between:
- Move to the folder selection tree.
- Press ctrl+space to deselect the current folder.
- Rather than using the up and down arrows to find the desired folder, use ctrl+up and ctrl+down, respectively. You can of course keep your finger on the control key. Notice that Thunderbird does not open each folder.
- When you reach the desired folder, press ctrl+space to select it. Thunderbird opens the selected folder.
There is also the Nostalgy extension, which, among other keyboard productivity enhancements, allows you to jump to a folder by typing all or part of its name. However, I use Thunderbird 3 nightlies and there have been a few compatibility issues recently. Also, Nostalgy overrides the functionality in the quick search bar and it makes the quick search menu inaccessible, so I don't use it anymore. (I should really report a bug, but I can't quite figure out what's going on.)