Thunderbird Extension Contacts Sidebar

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

Verdict

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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Comments

  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am
    Reply

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am
      Reply

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am
      Reply

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm
    Reply

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am
    Reply

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm
      Reply

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm
      Reply

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm
      Reply

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am
    Reply

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm
    Reply

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm
    Reply

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am
    Reply

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm
    Reply

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm
    Reply

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am
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    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm
    Reply

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am
      Reply

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm
    Reply

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm
    Reply

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm
    Reply

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am
    Reply

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am
    Reply

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm
    Reply

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am
    Reply

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.

    Thanks.

  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm
    Reply

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am
    Reply

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm
    Reply

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm
    Reply

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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