Manage your Todo.txt with Thunderbird using this extension

Oct 26, 2019
Email, Thunderbird

Remember our article about Todo.Txt? We told you how easy and efficient it is to create your very own cross platform task management and reminder file system.

The beauty of the system is that you can use any text editor with it. But it doesn't stop there, if you are a Thunderbird user, there is another way to manage your Todo.txt right from the email client.

Manage your Todo.txt with Thunderbird using this extension

The Todo.Txt extension requires the Lightning add-on for Thunderbird and access to your Todo.Txt and Done.Txt to work. The Done.Txt acts as an archive for your completed tasks, i.e, any task that you have marked as done is moved from the Todo.Txt to Done.Txt.

You'll need to restart Thunderbird after installing the add-on. Once you have installed and restarted, click on the Calendar tab or Task tab and you will see a Todo.Txt calendar in the left sidebar. Personally, I prefer the Task tab since it displays the tasks in a better way.

But before you start to use the add-on, you need to set a Todo.Txt file for the add-on to access. The extension can read tasks that you may have from your existing Todo.Txt so that your existing tasks may be displayed in Thunderbird.

How to set the location of the text files in the Todo.Txt Thunderbird Extension

Click on the Thunderbird menu > Add-ons > Todo.txt; this will bring the Todo.txt add-on's preferences window in to view.

The page that opens allows you to select the location of the text files (todo and done). Use the browser button to pick the file from the local system.

There are 3 other options on the page that are enabled in the add-on's settings. The first two let the add-on use Thunderbird's functionality and creation timestamp. The third option is to display the "Projects and Contexts" in the title.

Todo.txt Thunderbird extension

Let's go back to the Task tab; you should now be able to see the Todo tasks. Don't have any? Let's create one. Please refer to the previous article (linked in the first part of this post) regarding the syntax of Todo.Txt. Right-click on Thunderbird's main pane to create a new task and give it a title and use the syntax for setting a due date.

For e.g., if I want to create a task called "An Example task"on my home computer and set tomorrow as the due date, it will look like this: An Example Task @HomePC due:2019-10-10.

Todo.txt Thunderbird task

To mark a task as completed, click on the check box next to it and the add-on will archive it to the Done.Txt. You can also mark it as completed by right-clicking on a task. You can optionally add descriptions to the tasks, but remember these aren't part of a normal Todo.Txt. Similarly, you can also set due dates using Lightning's task editor, but I find it better to preserve the Todo.Txt format, especially if you're using it on other devices.

That's it, the rest is up to you.

Note: I wanted to write about this add-on earlier, when I wrote the article about Todo.Txt, but the add-on's compatibility with Thunderbird 68 was uncertain at that time. Thankfully, v2 of the add-on was released a few days ago to address the very issue. It is not available on the add-ons repository yet, the developer mentions that he has submitted to Mozilla for verification. I used the source code to build the current release from GitHub and tested it. The official version should be available soon.

Todo.txt Thunderbird version 2

Now you, what are your favorite Thunderbird add-ons that you use alongside Lightning?

software image
Author Rating
1.5 based on 4 votes
Software Name
Todo.txt Extension
Operating System
Windows, Linux, macOS
Software Category
Landing Page

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

    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

      I think its thunderbird

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

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

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

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

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

    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

      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

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

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

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

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

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

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

    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

    You are a god – thank you!

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

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

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

    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

    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

    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

    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

      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

    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

    Great tip! Thanks!

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

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

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

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

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

    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

    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

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


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

    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

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

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

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

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

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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