The most useful Thunderbird shortcuts

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 8, 2021
Email, Thunderbird

The Thunderbird email client is a popular open source desktop program that is used by millions for sending, receiving and managing emails. The program supports a number of keyboard shortcuts that are mapped to specific functionality. While it is possible to use Thunderbird using the mouse exclusively, keyboard shortcuts may speed up certain operations.

This guide lists the most useful shortcuts for the Thunderbird email client; most useful in regards to improving productivity by speeding up workflows. Thunderbird displays some of the supported keyboard shortcuts when you open menus.

Thunderbird keyboard shortcuts

thundertbird keyboard shortcuts

Modifier keys are the Ctrl-key on Windows and Linux, and the Cmd-key on Mac OS devices. This guide uses Ctrl, and Mac users need to replace it with Cmd whenever it is used to make the shortcut work on their devices.

  • Create a new message -- Ctrl-N
    • To write a new, blank, message, use the shortcut Ctrl-N. The shortcut Ctrl-M is also mapped to creating a new message.
  • Forward a message -- Ctrl-L
    • You can forward the selected message by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-L; this works with multiple messages as well.
  • Add labels to messages -- [0..5]
    • Use the shortcuts 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 to add labels. These set the label to None, Important, Work, Personal, ToDo, and Later respectively.
  • Mark as Junk -- Ctrl-J
    • The shortcut Ctrl-J marks the selected message or messages as junk. Use Shift-J to mark the selection as "not junk".
  • Go to next unread message -- N
    • Open the next unread message in the mail folder by tapping on the N-key. Thunderbird suggests to switch to the All Mail folder if there are no unread messages anymore in the folder. To go to the next message instead, use F, and to the previous B.
  • Send the message -- Ctrl-Enter
    • Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-Enter to send the selected message immediately. You may also use Ctrl-Shift-Enter to send it later.
  • Reply to message -- Ctrl-R
    • To reply to the selected message, use Ctrl-R. If you want to reply to all recipients, use Ctrl-Shift-R instead.
  • Get new messages -- Ctrl-T
    • Retrieves new messages for the active account. If you want to retrieve new messages for all accounts, use Ctrl-T instead.
  • Send and receive all messages -- Ctrl-F5
    • The shortcut checks all mail servers for new messages to retrieve them, and sends all messages that have not been sent already.
  • Display the message source -- Ctrl-U
    • If you need to analyze a message, viewing the source is most helpful. Use Ctrl-U to display it.

Closing Words

Keyboard shortcuts may speed up certain operations significantly. You can check out the entire list of supported keyboard shortcuts on the Thunderbird support website.

The most useful Thunderbird shortcuts
Article Name
The most useful Thunderbird shortcuts
This guide lists the most useful keyboard shortcuts for the Thunderbird email client; these improve workflows and your productivity.
Ghacks Technology News

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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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