Thunderbird as a stand alone email client is not really that powerful, yet it can be useful for basic and not business use. What if you wanted more? What if you wanted a free alternative to the many overblown, commercial email desktop applications, can it be done? Of course it can. With the added inclusion of the many freely available extensions and addons it can bring this basic desktop email application many steps closer to becoming a viable alternative to the very powerful Microsoft Outlook or any other overblown and expensive email app.
In this post you will find 30 extensions/addons that will help you get more out of Thunderbird.
Download the latest version of Thunderbird here: Reclaim your inbox with Thunderbird 2.
Nostalgy adds keyboard shortcuts to change the current folder, to move/copy selected messages into another folder, to add/remove/view tags; the selection of the target folder is made through an auto-completion box where you can type part of the folder name. There are also commands to improve the navigation between Thunderbird's three panes. This a great time saving and useful extension.
Nostalgy Homepage »
Signature Switch is an extension that allows you to select easily from the toolbar, when and which recipients will recieve your email signature, or you can select which signature does get sent (a personal or professional signature, perhaps).
Additional features include the support of fortune-cookie-files and automatic switching based on recipients.
Signature Switch Homepage »
Contacts Sidebar displays all available address books in a sidebar in the 3-pane-window of Thunderbird. It makes all your contacts easy accessible from the main window to quickly write messages, or to edit the properties of a contact card.
There are a number of useful features in the Contacts Sidebar extension that allows you to change the settings to match your personal preference, they include a space saving collapsible address book selection and search field, easily forward a contact info as a vCard attachment, you can Drag & Drop files and messages to a contact to easily add attachments to a new message to this contact… and much more.
Contacts Sidebar Homepage »
This useful and time saving extension adds a small edit box and a button above or below the email message text in the main Thunderbird message window. If you type some text in the QuickReply box and then click the 'Send Reply' button, a reply is sent to the writer of the currently selected email with the typed text in the body.
Quickreply Homepage »
This is a useful extension for removing duplicate messages from your mail folders. Simply select some folder for a dupe check, then you will get a nice dialog for selecting which messages should be deleted and which you want to keep, then the superfluous messages are deleted.
Remove Dupes Homepage »
Simply select the messages containing the attachments that you want to extract and select 'Extract Attachments' and this extension does the rest. You will no longer have to go through each message to extract an attachment.
Attachment Extractor Homepage »
This is one of my favourite extensions, not very powerful but very, very useful. Very useful for the those with a forgetful nature, like myself. Simply put, XNote allows you to add a sticky note to any selected mail message. Thus, you can add any message or reminder and attach it to that selected email message.
XNote Homepage »
MozBackup allows you to backup and restore your Thunderbird installation, from bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, cache etc. This extension not only works with Thunderbird, it can also be used with Firefox, Sunbird, Flock, SeaMonkey, the Mozilla Suite, Spicebird, Songbird and Netscape (does anyone even still use Netscape?).
MozBackup Homepage »
Quicktext is an extension for Thunderbird that lets you create templates that can be easily inserted into your own emails. It is the perfect tool to help you quickly answer routine and repetitive emails. You can also specify an emails subject and select which attachment to add when you are creating a template for any particular email.
Quicktext Homepage »
Many users could probably use a combined "Get/Send" button in Thunderbird, MagicSLR provides this button and more. You can choose to select Get All (obviously, recieve and send all messages), Send all, Syncro (the buttons functions are only related to news- and IMAP-accounts), or you can choose to Send Later (Thunderbird itself provides this button, only in offline mode though. Now you can choose to send later in online mode, too).
MinTrayR lets the user minimize Mozilla powered applications such as Firefox, Thunderbird or Songbird with ease to the system tray. It's goal is to be more robust while using less resources and providing a better API (DOM Events for example instead of a callback).
MinimizeToTray revived (MinTrayR) Homepage »
If you have ever been bothered by excessive quotes in e-mails or newsgroup posts (especially in mailing list mirrors), this is the extension for you. It automatically collapses all quotes, and expands them again on click. Hold down SHIFT while clicking, and all quotes contained in the current emailwill be collapsed or expanded. Hold down CTRL, and all quotes of the same nesting level will be toggled. Hold down CTRL and SHIFT, and all quotes will be toggled.
Quotecollapse Homepage »
Dictionary Search provides a very easy way to lookup (or translate) a word in a Web page or an email in an online dictionary such as thefreedictionary.com. Simply select the word you want to lookup. Then right click and select "Dictionary Search for …". A new tab or browser window will open with the meaning of the word you selected. It works for both for Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird
Dictionary Search Homepage »
Forumzilla lets you read news and blog feeds in your email application. It is similar to the feed reader built into Thunderbird, but it lets you download stories into any folder in any POP, IMAP, or local account (configurable per feed).
You can manage feeds with all the regular features of Thunderbird, like filters, labels, searches, and views. And you can choose to display entire stories or just summaries.
Forumzilla Homepage »
The Webmail extension integrates web site based email accounts in to Mozllia Thunderbird, this allows Thunderbird to download and to send emails using the web site. Currently it supports Yahoo, Hotmail, MailDotCom, Gmail, Libero, and even AOL.
WebMail Homepage »
With Zindus you can easily sync your personal address book with GMail allowing you to manage all of your contacts within Thunderbird. To keep you in sync, the addon, can be set to initiate automatic syncing on a selected periodic basis.
Zindus Homepage »
mozPod is a project to that brings iPod syncronization to Mozilla products such as Thunderbird and Sunbird. For all my serching, I could not find an extension that will allow you to sync with you iPhone, there must be an extension out ther, does anyone know of any?
Mozpod Homepage »
NokSync synchronizes contacts between Thunderbird and your Nokia phone. NokSync will read one or more Thunderbird address books, it can read the phonebook within a Nokia phone (using cable, infrared or bluetooth connection), it will compare the two, and suggest updates to bring them into synchronization and let the user change the suggestions to synchronize exactly as they wish.
NokSync: Thunderbird/Nokia Synchronization Homepage »
Lightning is an extension that allows you to bring the Mozilla developed calendar Sunbird together with Thunderbird. Why these two applications were not bundled together in the first place is a mystery, they are made for each other.
Lightning Homepage »
This extension works in conjunction with the above extension Lightning, it allows Sunbird and Lightning to read and write events easily and semmlessly to your Google Calendar.
Provider for Google Calendar Homepage »
The Duplicate Contact Manager searches for duplicate contact pairs and presents each pair to the user. The user can decide how to handle the pair.
Duplicate Contact Manager Homepage »
With ThunderBrowse you can browse almost any website on the internet. Did a friend send you a link? Simply click the link and ThunderBrowse will load the page instantly right within Thunderbird, without the need to open another application. If you don't want to surf on a page in ThunderBrowse you can easily right click and choose "Visit in Browser" and have the page launch in the system default browser or the browser of your choice.
ThunderBrowse Homepage »
Display Mail User Agent (DispMUA) adds an image to the right side of the header view which displays the icon of the application with which the selected mail was written. So if the person who sent you a mail used Outlook to send the mail, an Outlook icon will be displayed.
DispMUA Homepage »
Auto Zip Attachments is a really handy extension that allows you to easily compress (zip) attachments. A new button named "AutoZip" is added to the compose toolbar, and when you press the button, all the attachments will be compressed into a single file. Then the attachments are replaced with the zipped file.
Auto Zip Attachments Homepage »
Many people like to organize their mailboxes the way that GMail encourages, which is to leave only the most recent and important emails in their Inbox.
GMailUI is an extension which add concepts inspired by GMail to Thunderbird, like archiving mail and powerful message searching across all folders. Select a folder to be your sole "archive" folder, or choose to have an archive folder in each of your multiple accounts. Then type "Y" to send your selected messages to the appropriate archive folder.
GMailUI Homepage »
ImportExportTools is an extension that allows you to export and import messages with more flexibility, ease and with various and some exotic options, click here for all of the options and features: Feature List.
ImportExportTools Homepage »
ReminderFox is an extension for Firefox and Thunderbird that displays and manages lists of date-based reminders and ToDo's. ReminderFox does not seek to be a full-fledged calendar system. In fact, the target audience is anybody that simply wants to remember important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc) without having to run an entire calendar application.
ReminderFox Homepage »
For those that don't know, User Styles is an extension for Firefox that allows you to easily style any web page in a way that suits you. What most people don't know is that you can also use this extension for Thunderbird as well. For Thunderbird the extension is called Stylish.
Stylish – Userstyles for Thunderbird Homepage »
Thunderbird, by default, provides a context menu item for each individual folder within an RSS or News account that marks that folder read, it does not provide one at the account level that recursively marks each folder within the account as read. If you monitor a large number of newsgroups and RSS feeds, having such a feature would add some convenience.
ThunderPlunger Homepage »
Enigmail adds OpenPGP message encryption and authentication to your email client. It features automatic encryption, decryption and integrated key management functionality. Enigmail requires GnuPG (www.gnupg.org) for the cryptographic functions. Note: GnuPG is not part of the installation.
Enigmail Homepage »
How to Install an extension
There are two different ways to install a Thunderbird extension.
First Method: Download and then install:
1. Browse to the web page that has the download link for the extension.
2. Right click on “Install Now for Windows” (or whatever the download link is called)
3. Select “Save link as” from the context menu. Navigate to a suitable folder for storing this download. Press the Save button.
4. Start Thunderbird.
5. Press the Install button in Tools -> Extensions (its Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions in 2.0) in Thunderbird.
6. Browse to the .xpi file. Press the Okay button.
7. Thunderbird will display a “Software Installation” window. Press the “Install now” button when it becomes enabled.
Note: That assumed you’re using Firefox. You need to right click (rather than left click) to avoid Firefox thinking it its a Firefox extension that you want it to install, letting you try to install, and then complain its incompatible. If you’re using a non-Mozilla browser thats not an issue.
Second Method: Drag and drop to the extensions/add-ons window:
1. Browse to the web page that has the download link for the extension.
2. tart Thunderbird.
3. Go to Tools -> Extensions (its Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions in 2.0)
4. Left click on “Install Now for Windows” (or whatever the download link is called) in your browser and drag it over the Thunderbird window in the Windows Taskbar (at the bottom of the screen). Don’t release the button. After a second the windows focus should shift to the Extensions/Add-ons window. Drag the mouse to that window and release the button.
5. Thunderbird will display a “Software Installation” window. Press the “Install now” button when it becomes enabled.
Source: Mozillazine – Thunderbird Extensions.