Thunderbird, powered by SoftMaker, is a custom version of the popular email client featuring enhancements that come all in the form of extensions.
Thunderbird 45 and 45.1 were released recently by the team of volunteers that kept and keeps Thunderbird alive ever since Mozilla decided to get rid of the Thunderbird project.
This new version of the popular desktop email client was the first in a long time that featured a significant number of changes and fixes.
SoftMaker, a company best known for its SoftMaker Office suite, announced recently that it plans to include the Thunderbird email client into the 2016 version of the office suite.
In addition to that, it announced that it will provide the Thunderbird team with an experienced developer on a full-time basis to work on the email client and Lightning calendar.
Thunderbird powered by SoftMaker
Thunderbird powered by Softmaker is core Thunderbird but with optional add-ons that users can install to enhance the email program in several ways.
The following add-ons are provided currently:
- SoftMaker Theme: This is probably the least interesting of the add-ons. It changes the blakc and white icons on the toolbar with colored icons.
- SoftMaker Enhanced UI: Makes the Windows title bar and the menu bar visible, and moves the document tabs below the toolbar. Also, it adds new options to move emails and navigate email folders by adding new buttons and shortcuts to Thunderbird.
- Faster autocompletion of e-mail addresses: The fix improves auto-completion when large address books are used in Thunderbird. If you notice a delay of one or multiple seconds before recipient names are suggested to you after starting to type, you will benefit from this change.
- Software eM Client Importer: This add-on is only useful to users of Software Office and the eM Client it shipped with. It allows you to import email databases from those clients to Thunderbird.
You can download each of the add-ons for Thunderbird separately from the official SoftMaker website.
The approach leaves the core of Thunderbird untouched, and gives users options to install the add-ons they are interested in to improve the email client.
It offers benefits to the developer as well, as it is usually easier to make changes to an add-on than to Thunderbird's code directly.
Existing Thunderbird users may be interested in the add-ons that SoftMaker has created. It needs to be noted that the extensions are not offered on the official Mozilla Thunderbird add-ons repository.
They are provided as extension files that need to be installed manually in the client:
- Open the Thunderbird email client on your computer.
- Tap on the Alt-key if the menu bar is not displayed.
- Select Tools > Add-ons from the menu.
- Click on the gear icon in the upper right corner next to search, and select install add-on from file from the menu that opens.
- Select the extension file that you have downloaded to install it.
- A restart is always necessary after the installation of extensions.