Collected Addresses

A while back some of my family switched their ISP from Qwest to Cox. I had recently sent an email directly to one family member and they had replied back that it went to their old ISP’s email at I was a bit baffled that the address was still active as it had been several months since they have switched. A bounce-back would very much welcomed here. Even more baffling though was I knew I had removed their old address and put their new address in my Thunderbird address book. I just went to send them another message and right as I was getting ready to click the send button I noticed the to address was their address. I deleted what was in the To: field and started typing in their name. Both addresses showed in the drop-down.

After selecting the correct address and sending off the message, I went into my Thunderbird address book and confirmed I only had their address. However, I noticed in the left column another ‘address box’ called Collected Addresses. I looked through this address box and there was their address.

I sorta knew what the Collected Addresses were but wanted to find out more. A Google search on the topic turned up a lot of information, but not so much from Mozilla. I did find a good description at the Cornell University site:

Collected Addresses is a special address book that Thunderbird maintains without any effort on your part. It is made up of every e-mail address to which you’ve sent a message, whether in To, Cc, or Bcc. (You can control how Collected Addresses works through an option setting.)

As installed, Collected Addresses is a convenience in that, once you’ve typed in an address, you’ll never have to type in that address again. As you start to type it, Thunderbird will find it for you.

More searching (again not much from Mozilla without having to really dig deep into their discussion forums) I found The Unofficial How-To Blog for Thunderbird. You can disable the automatic addition of ‘collected addresses’. From Thunderbird go to Tools > Options… (Mac: Thunderbird > Preferences | Linux: Edit > Preferences) and click on the Composition tab. At the bottom is an option to Automatically add outgoing e-mail addresses, uncheck this option.

So now I have removed their old address from Thunderbird completely and also stopped having Thunderbird collect addresses. Quick tip, in Thunderbird 3.0 and newer clicking the star next to the sender’s name will allow you to add them to your address book.

2 Comments on Collected Addresses

  1. The Collected Addresses was actually something I knew of. Disabled the automatic part long ago so never thought about that as your solution.

  2. Thunderbird version 38.5.1 When adding an address to an email in To/Cc/Bcc fields typing the first 3 letters used to bring up an autocomplete list from all address books including sub groups. Suddenly it seems to be limited to just Collected Addresses. Could find no properties to turn autocomplete back on and Google didn’t give any solutions.
    Workaround kludge: Take control of Collected Addresses. Edit,Preferences,Composition.Addressing Under banner Address Autocompletion ensure only Local addresses is ticked. i.e. Untick Automatically add outgoing to Collected Addresses. We now control Collected Addresses.
    In Collected Addresses: Tools,Address Book,click on Collected Addresses move (slide) important ones and drop onto your address book(s) and delete the rest.
    Click on main address book(s). Problem here is if you slide a record and drop on the Collected Addresses label it moves not copies the record. Make a temporary sub folder of your address book say coll2 and slide any entries you wish to autocomplete onto label coll2; they will now be copied. Click on coll2, select all entries and slide and drop onto Collected Addresses. This empties coll2 and it can then be deleted. Test that autocomplete now gives a list taken from Collected Addresses.

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