The ten most useful thunderbird add-ons

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 6, 2006
Updated • Nov 5, 2017
Email, Thunderbird

I've published a great deal of information about Firefox and tons of extensions that have been developed for it but I've never done the same for Thunderbird, the email client that is developed by Mozilla.

I started using Thunderbird about a week ago when I imported all my emails from Opera to it and I like the email client a lot. It is fast, I can sort all emails the way I like it and the spam mail filter is awesome even without third party tools.

The list of extensions disappointed me a little bit, 297 add-ons is not much considering that Firefox has 1863 add-ons listed. I nevertheless compiled a list of the ten most useful Thunderbird add-ons according to my opinion, yours may and probably will differ on the subject.

Update: We have removed all extensions that are not compatible with the most recent versions of the Thunderbird email client.

  1. Minimize to Tray - You can't minimize thunderbird to tray, you can only minimize it to the taskbar or close it completely. You could alternatively use a third party tool like RBtray instead.
  2. United States English Dictionary - A great spellchecking dictionary.
  3. Lightning - Thunderbird has no calendar and lightning adds calendar functionality. Currently under development.
  4. Dod Configuration - Department of Defense Configuration. Configures your application for use within the Department of Defense.
  5. Addressbooks Synchronizer - Synchronize files if you use Thunderbird on different computers, like notebook and desktop or home and work.
  6. Clippings - Have some standard sentences that you use a lot in mails ? Use Clippings to save them and paste them easily whenever you need them.
  7. Maximize message pane - maximizes the message preview pane without opening a new window.
  8. Text size toolbar - Adds buttons to the toolbar to change the size of the text.
  9. ReminderFox - works as well in Thunderbird, reminds you of events to come.
  10. Quicktext - create templates for emails that you write over and over again.

Five more, good ones but specialized:

  • Track Package - You ship or receive lots of packages each day? eBay junkies perhaps? This extension is for you, mark a tracking number and check where the package is.
  • Okopipi - Report spam to central databases.
  • abc Tajpu - write foreign characters with this extension. Surely looks bad to write something like smoerebroed the way I do.. smørebrød it is i think..
  • Signature Switch - one for work, one for home, one for friends, one for p...
  • Nested Quote Remover - Remove nested quotes before it becomes ugly.

Two not so serious ones:

  • Quitomozilla - Helps you stop smoking by displayed the time you stopped, the cigarettes that you did not smoke in that time and the amount of money that you saved, works in Thunderbird and Firefox for maximum results.
  • Bork Bork Bork - The Swedish chef would speak the text this way.. Smoerebroed all the way..

While all extensions are still available for download for the email client, it needs to be noted that some may not work anymore in the latest version of it.

Update: Time has passed, and lots of useful extensions have been created for the Thunderbird email client in that time. Here is a list of new extensions that you may want to consider.

  • Lightning adds a calendar to Thunderbird which you can synchronize.
  • Enigmail adds OpenPGP support to the email client.
  • Theme Font & Size Changer enables you to change text size and colors in Thunderbird.
  • XNote++ adds sticky notes that you can associate with emails.
  • Quick Translator to translate between more than 50 languages with a click or use of a hotkey.
The ten most useful thunderbird add-ons
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The ten most useful thunderbird add-ons
Extend the Thunderbird email client with useful extensions to add features to the program or improve existing features in one way or another.
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  1. Manfred said on December 29, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the list Martin.

    Personally, I also like this add-on:

    It lets you sort your contacts according to their gender, the number of messages sent/received, if they are colleagues or not etc.
    It also shows you your “email sinks” (people who hardly every replay) and who you still need to reply to yourself.

  2. Ken said on August 7, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    Lightning appears to be out of development and working well.

  3. Aaron said on July 5, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    gluino I agree, would like something like this in Thunderbird too, right now I have no idea what its doing when I check for mail.

  4. gluino said on May 7, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Is there an add-on for displaying POP session messages or other diagnostic info?

    I’m kinda new to Thunderbird, and I was disappointed that it had less troubleshooting info than Outlook Express. For example, OE would show you the total size of messages to be downloaded, and would produce an error message on un-clean terminations of the POP session.

    In TB2, POP sessions seem to end un-cleanly with the normal new-mail sound.

    TB2’s “error console” doesn’t seem to include messages abt POP.

    Am I missing something?

  5. Xander said on December 13, 2006 at 3:20 am

    I’m not sure how the DoD extension made mention at all. Only a small portion of Tbird users would work for DoD… how does that make it one of the “most useful” (to the general populace, implied)?

    Other than that, nice list.

  6. Bryan said on November 5, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Great article. Readers might also consider these, which I find indispensable:

    Magic SLR – Adds buttons to download mail from all accounts

    Quickfolders – Creates a toolbar to which you can drag mail folders; you can use drag and drop to place incoming messages into the appropriate folder easily.

    Copy sent to current and Show InOut – Copies replies to the active folder so you can see immediately how you responded

    CuteMenus – Crystal SVG Adds nice-looking icons to TB menus. Useless, but cool.

  7. Malathy said on October 7, 2006 at 4:16 am

    Thanks for this useful information.
    I intend to pass it on through my blog.

  8. Thilak said on October 6, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    Ahhha I was waiting for this post, since years. Everybody talks about Firefox Extensions… but Thunderbird Extensions go un-noticed

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