Using Thunderbird For Email? There Are Add-Ins And They're Great.

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Thunderbird add-onsI use Thunderbird for my work email. Millions of people around the world use it as their email program. It's simple to use, and talks to most types of email server (including Gmail, if you want). It was originally a spin-off of Firefox, but the browser company no longer supports it as much as it did. Even so, it's still a popular product, and one of only a handful of free top-quality email cllients for Windows.

If you use Thunderbird, here's something you may not know. While everyone is aware that Firefox has an entire ecosystem of add-ins and extensions available to enhance it, it's not so widely known that there are loads of free Thunderbird extensions available too. These range from functional things such as handling mailing lists and mailmerge, to aesthetics such as themes.

So if you're sick of the pale blue colour that Thunderbird uses as a default, you can change it by installing a theme extension.

To browse and install extensions, select the Add-Ons option from the Tools menu within Thunderbird. If you don't see the menu line, press and release the Alt key and it will appear. You can then install your chosen add-on right within the program.

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Comments

For me, Thunderbord works just fine "out of the box".

So I'm wondering, if it aint broke, don't fix it ?

"Use Bcc instead" is one I use it all the time. It permits me to send to a list of unidentified recipients.

@dlibertine:
If you use an add-on for that you are likely over-extending (looks better than "over-extensioning").
Bcc is natively in Thunderbird.

The extension warns you if you try to send to multiple recipients as a To or CC. Can prevent a disastrous mistake where a CC was used in error.

So let's start a list. First of all, here are some links to the top rated and most popular extensions and add-ons:

Top Rated
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/extensions/?sort=rating

Most Popular
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/extensions/?sort=users

These are some of the extensions and addons I usually install when setting up Thunderbird for myself or for a client.

1. Lightning - now comes built into Thunderbird. It still requires some technical knowledge to set it up properly

2. Google Calendar Provider - Instead of Lightning some prefer this addon because it shows you the web version of the Google Calendar right inside of Thunderbird and works flawlessly
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/provider-for-google-calendar/

3. Theme font and size changer - this is indispensable when installing Thunderbird for someone who needs larger fonts
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/theme-font-size-changer

4. GContactSync - Try doing this with Outlook! You'll need to spend some money and even then it's not perfect. This extension allows you to sync your Thunderbird contacts with your Gmail contacts, which subsequently sync with your phone, and vice-verse.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/gcontactsync/

5. Send Later - self-explanatory
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/send-later-3

6. Quick Text - this is great for template emails, multiple signatures, quick responses, etc. Here's a link to a great explanatory video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jy85uE50nls
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/quicktext/

7. BiDi Mail UI - RTL Language support
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/bidi-mail-ui

Ok, that's a start - feel free to add-on!

My Thunderbird is 81% full and I don't know what to do to increase space. I really don't want to delete all my email! Thanks for any suggestions.

David,
very seriously, what do you mean with "81% full"?

If you have (an) IMAP account(s) then you may run into a storage limit from you ISP.
If you have (a) POP account(s) all your emails are stored locally - unless you leave them on the server - which would negate the so called "advantages" of IMAP!

I have about 17,000 (17 THOUSAND) emails locally stored. That is according to TreeSize over 3.2GB of net emails.

The Thunderbird folder is in total 3.49GB large.

I have all emails since 1998 in there and it works like day 1.5. The decimal here respects that for example searching through 17,000 emails MUST take longer than through maybe only 1,700 emails.

Is your Trash folder empty? Is your Junk folder empty? Have you compacted the folders?

I thought I know Thunderbird a little but your question really baffles me.

I don't know of a Thunderbird specific limitation. Maybe only that Windows limits file sizes on 32-bit systems. But that is Windows' problem, not Thunderbird's.

Looking forward to your reply.

Hi eiklein, thanks so much for taking the time to reply. I will try to add a screenshot of the percent figure showing how much of the Thunderbird folder is used. I searched the internet and most replies say Thunderbird can't be increased. So that confused me. On the settings I have, it is imap. That's all I know because I'm not very good at these things. OK, I'll have to forget the screenshot, I don't know how or if it can be added here. Anyway, it shows 81% full. And I understand we can't post links in Comments. One site says this "How to Increase Your Mailbox Limit in Thunderbird" and that's what I've tried to do.
Thank you.

David,
Thanks for your reply and - you are welcome.

I have heard so much irrelevant or outright false negativity about Thunderbird that I like to cut in and help or clean the air if I can at all. I have no professional, semi-professional, contractual or financial connection with the Mozilla organisation or anybody involved in Thunderbird's maintenance.

Please send the screen shot as an attachment to ejhprivate@gmail.com. Recently I created this account for personal reasons with the express purpose of being able to "throw away" this account at any time. I will begin tomorrow to check daily for an email from you.

Please let me know what version of Windows your computer runs and if your system is a 32-bit or a 64-bit system.
Just in case you need instructions for the 32 or 64 bit question you find them at
https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/21726/how-do-i-know-if-im-running-32-bit-or-64-bit-windows-answers/
Just copy and paste this very long URL into your browser's address bar and hit Enter.

I use few extensions in Thunderbird, but my fav is QuickFolders: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/quickfolders-tabbed-folders/

This has the potential to be the beginning of a great article. It can be built upon quite a bit. For starters, Thunderbird comes in dozens on languages. Literally everything about is customizable. It's stable, especially where other programs, like Outlook, aren't. It's worth mentioning that the setup can be difficult when using 3rd party extensions, but when done right you can sync your Gmail address book and Google Calendar right into Thunderbird. It fully supports right-to-left languages and spell checking after installing the appropriate extensions.

What might not be easy for some is migrating form Outlook. Veteran Outlook users tend to very loyal to Outlook, if for no other reason than Outlook is what they've become used to. For the rest of the world that doesn't like the Gmail interface, Thunderbird is so great that even the venerable Eudora has moved over to using Thunderbird's code base.

I think a great addition to the article would be a highlight of the top 20 recommended add-ons / extensions to really make it useful.

I too agree with you that the article has potential & top 20 recommendations would go far to improve it. I use Thunderbird & am aware of the add ons, but was intrigued by the article to investigate what some of the better extension & add ons would be. Then the bottom fell out.

I had used this before but when I failed to import all those folders and subfolders in my INBOX in Microsoft outlook I avoided it.

@drkarasheed
And, please, how are you sure that that is Thunderbird's "fault"?
If I look at the never ending flood of updates that MS needs to release to just keep Outlook working I wonder...