View a mail's contents quickly without clicking on it with the MessagePreview extension for Thunderbird

Ashwin
Feb 22, 2021
Updated • Feb 22, 2021
Email, Thunderbird
|
11

How many mail accounts do you have in Thunderbird? The more you have, the more cluttered it becomes, doesn't it? And if you have a ton of mails, it's not any easier to manage them.

When you want to find something that you need, you either use the search tool, or take the manual route, i.e., you select the mail and it loads in the message pane at the bottom of the program's interface.

View a mail's contents quickly without clicking on it with the MessagePreview extension for Thunderbird

Want a faster way to view your mails? The Thunderbird extension MessagePreview may be a useful addition to your collection.

This extension displays the content of a mail without opening it, that saves you plenty of clicks. Let's get started, MessagePreview doesn't have a toolbar icon. Instead, it is available as a column. This isn't available readily, so right-click on the column bar, and enable the option that says "Message Preview".

MessagePreview column

A new column with a "paper" icon will appear, you can drag and drop it to a location that's convenient for you, e.g. next to the subject column. You will need to enable the column for each folder that you want to use the add-on with.

Mouse over the MessagePreview icon and a large tool-tip pops up, this panel displays the mail's text contents. The sender's name and email address are not shown in the preview panel. Only the message's subject, body, and text signature are included in the preview.

MessagePreview

You may have noticed that there is a light version of the icon, and a bold one. The lighter icon indicates that you haven't previewed the mail (even if the mail itself has been marked as read), while the darker symbol shows that the mail was read using MessagePreview. Click at the top of the column to sort the mails by their preview status.

The preview method changes in case of mail conversations (message threads) with several replies.

The extension will display the last accessed reply in Thunderbird. Say you had 5 replies to an email that you sent, and you opened the conversation recently to read one of those, for example the 3rd one, MessagePreview will display that reply in its preview panel.

MessagePreview column view

If you don't want the preview to appear when you mouse over the column, you can disable the option in MessagePreview's options. But, then how will you preview the mail? Toggle the 2nd option, and the extension will display a short version of the preview directly in the column (like the Subject column, but for the message's body). You can set the number of characters to be displayed in the preview.

MessagePreview thunderbird extension options

Don't like hovering over the specific column? The third option in the add-on's settings page when enabled, displays the preview pop-up when you scroll down the row. For this to work, you will need to resize the column. The extension will by default download the IMAP message that the mouse is over on, to display the preview.

MessagePreview has an official page on the BitBucket repository. The add-on does not display pictures, attachments, or the name of attachments that a mail may contain. This is kind of annoying, but I'm not sure if whether this is because of a limitation in the mail client, or if the add-on isn't supposed to fetch those details.

Summary
software image
Author Rating
1star1star1star1stargray
3 based on 9 votes
Software Name
MessagePreview
Operating System
Thunderbird
Software Category
Productivity
Price
Free
Landing Page
Advertisement

Tutorials & Tips


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «

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
    Reply

    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!

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.