Thunderbird Extension Contacts Sidebar

Martin Brinkmann
May 19, 2007
Updated • Mar 16, 2014
Email, Thunderbird

The Contacts Sidebar extension for the email software Mozilla Thunderbird displays the address book - or books - in the sidebar of Thunderbird beneath the mail folders. The developer has added a helpful option to the extension: you can enable or disable its display in the sidebar with the F4 key on your keyboard. So, if you want access to it press F4 to display it, and F4 again once you are finished and no longer need access to it.

All the possibilities of the address book are available in the sidebar when you display it there:  you can edit properties of your contacts or quickly choose a contact that you want to write a mail to. Here are some highlights taken from the description:

  • Collapse sections of address books to free up space in the sidebar.
  • Search contacts directly from the sidebar using advanced search queries and by combining search terms.
  • Select contacts directly from the sidebar and add them to To, CC or BCC fields.
  • Send vCard attachments to email recipients.
  • Use drag and drop to send files or messages to address book contacts.
  • LDAP auto-population based on custom search queries.
  • Display the contacts using the F4 hotkey, a toolbar button, or the View > Layout > Contacts Sidebar menu.

Search contacts quickly straight from your sidebar, and use advanced search parameters or combine saerch terms.Select recipients that you want to write to directly from the sidebar. Add them to all mail fields, To, CC, or BCC.Send contact information as vCard attachments to recipients.You can use drag and drop files or messages on contacts to quickly add file attachments to messages.LDAP address books can be populated automatically based on custom search queries.Use the hotkey F4 to display or hide the contacts list in Thunderbird's sidebar, or use View > Layout > Contacts Sidebar to toggle it.

Please Note: The Thunderbird extension on Mozilla's Add-ons repository for the Thunderbird email client has not been updated since 2007 so that it is no longer working in newer versions of the email program. While this is a sign usually that the developer has abandoned the project, it is not the case here.

The developer has not updated the extension on the Mozilla website, but updates have been posted on the author's own website which are still fully compatible with all recent versions of Thunderbird.

Just head over to this website and download the extension from here. To install it in Thunderbird do the following:

  1. Open the email client.
  2. Click on Tools and then Add-ons.
  3. Click on the small settings icon next to search all add-ons on the page and select the install add-on from file option.
  4. Select the downloaded xpi file and install it in the client.
  5. Restart Thunderbird.

Note: The F4 shortcut does not seem to work anymore.


If you want fast access to the address books in Thunderbird without having to open a new window or menu for it, then you may find the Contacts Sidebar extension useful for that purpose.

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