The Quick _ Dirty guide to Thunderbird by leader6


									The Quick & Dirty guide to

   By Chris Dillon 07/06/12. Version 10.2. Latest version at:
   Thunderbird is a modern, stable and fast e-mail program available for the PC, Apple and Linux
   platforms. The PC version is described here, but the others are similar.

   1.     Reading messages
   Select the mailbox containing the message in the left pane.
   Either: Double-click the message in the right pane to open it. Press F to read the next
   message or B to read the previous one.
   Or: Click the message and read it in the preview pane. (Switch the preview pane on and off in
   View | Layout | Message Pane or F8.)

   You can group messages by thread or date by using View | Sort by | Threaded or Grouped by

   2.     Sending messages
   To start a new message, click the Write icon or hold down Ctrl and press M (Ctrl-M).
   Type the address in the To field, the subject in the Subj field, type your message and click the
   Send icon (or press Ctrl-Enter).
   If you are sending the message to more than one recipient, click under the To field label and
   another To will appear. Enter the second address under the first and so on.
   If you want to copy someone in on the correspondence (Cc) or send a copy to an address (e.g.
   yourself) without this being obvious to the other recipients (Bcc), click the To field label and
   select Cc or Bcc.

   Draft messages
   If you do not want to send the e-mail immediately, press Ctrl-S. The message is saved to the
   IMAP Drafts folder. Go there, open the message and press Ctrl-Enter when you are ready to
   send it.

   Urgent message?
   You can mark a new message (Ctrl-M) as high priority by going to Options | Priority.

   Has my message been read?
   If you need to know whether the recipient has read your message, go to Options | Return
   Receipt in a new message and you will receive an e-mail when your message is read.

   3.     Replying to messages
   Select the message to which you want to reply. Click the Reply icon or press Ctrl-R.
   There is also a Reply All icon for when you want to reply to a message and all its recipients.

   If you want any reply to a message you are writing to go to someone else, click under the To
   field label at the top of the message and select Reply-to and insert the address concerned.

   4.       Forwarding a message
   Forwarding is used when one wants to send a copy of an e-mail one has received to someone.
   It will appear as if it has come from you. You can edit the message before you send it.
   Select the message you want to forward. Click the Forward icon or press Ctrl-L.

   5.    Searching for messages
   The search box top right only searches messages in the current folder. For more complicated
   searches, click the top most element in the left pane and click Search messages in the right.
6.     Deleting messages
Select or open the message(s) you want to delete and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

7.      Storing addresses in the Thunderbird address book
By default, the addresses of everyone you e-mail end up in your address book. If you don’t want
this to happen, go to Tools | Options | Composition | Addressing and deselect
Automatically add outgoing email addresses to my Personal Address Book.

Maps in your address book!
If you put a postcode in a card in the address book, a Get Map button appears on the card.
View | Card Summary Pane needs to be on in the address book for this to work.

Check that Local Address Books on the same tab is checked so that you can use mailing list
names (se below) in the To field to send messages to the list.

Directory Server needs to be set to pick up addresses from the UCL Directory:
    Click Edit Directories | Add and enter:
    Select the UCL Directory in the drop-down box.

8.      Using the address book
Click on the Address Book icon.
To create a new contact, click New Card and add names in the First and Last fields and an
e-mail address.
If you have an e-mail from the contact you want to put in your address book, open the e-mail,
right-click on the contact’s e-mail address and select Add to Address Book.

Importing mailing lists from Eudora
If you have your mailing lists in Eudora, you can import them into Thunderbird, by clicking the
Address Book icon and selecting Tools | Import. Make sure each list has a nickname by
clicking Properties in the address book.

9.     Creating a mailing list
In the Address Book, click New List. Give the list a name and add each e-mail to a row.

If you have e-mail addresses which are no longer working in your mailing list, Thunderbird does
not send the message. If you need to check a mailing list, you can install the ThunderPlunger (!)
add-on by going to:
Download the .xpi file somewhere in your filestore (e.g. on your N: drive). Then, in Thunderbird,
go to Tools | Add-ons and click Install. Locate the .xpi file and click Open and then Install
Now. Once it’s installed, right-click on the address you want to check in the address book and
select Validate.

Note that if you have a vertical list of e-mail addresses in, for example, Word, Excel or Eudora,
you may copy this into a single row (it does work!) to create a mailing list.

10.    Tagging messages
Tagged messages display with bright colours in a mailbox.
To apply a tag, highlight the message and press numbers 1-5 (0 for no tag).
To display what the tags mean (e.g. Important), click the last column heading above the
messages in your Inbox (Click to select columns to display) and select Tag. You can also
redefine what the tags mean at Tools | Options | Display | Tags.

11.    Using folders (i.e. mailboxes)
Before creating folders, check that Tools | Account Setttings | Server Settings | Advanced |
Server supports folders that contain sub-folders and messages is off. Otherwise, it’s not
easy to set up folders containing other folders and you can’t delete folders.

To create a folder, highlight the element in the left pane the folder is to go under. Usually, that
means the top line in the left pane. Then go to the File menu and select New | New Folder. If
the folder is to have other folders in it, select the Folders Only option. Such a folder cannot
contain messages.

Moving messages
To move messages into a mailbox, highlight them and with your mouse over them, right-click
and select Move to.
Use Ctrl-click to select non-adjacent messages, or Shift-click to select ranges of messages,
if you want to move more than one message.
You can also type a keyword in the search box top right to gather e-mails matching some
criterion before moving them.

Mailboxes, especially Inbox, Sent and Deleted should not be allowed to go over 20Mb as this
causes slow running. Check to see if you have any red mailboxes at:
If you have, move messages to other mailboxes or delete unnecessary attachments (see below).

There are situations when one cannot see mailboxes or folders on the IMAP server or one
wants to hide them. This can be done by right-clicking on the top line in the left pane, the
element above the folders, and selecting Subscribe.

12.     Managing attachments
Note that attachments are kept as part of the message in Thunderbird, not separately as in
other programs such as Eudora.
To remove the attachment from the e-mail, open the message, right-click the attachment and
click Detach. It suggests you save the attachment. Do this on, for example, the N: drive, if you
want to keep the attachment. You will temporarily see two copies of the message; this needs no
further action.
It is worth emptying your Deleted mailbox after deleting messages containing large attachments.
Open it, press Ctrl-A to highlight all messages in the Deleted mailbox and then press Delete to
get rid of them.

13.    Filters for automatically processing e-mails
Create a folder e.g. _Spam on the IMAP server (see 11 above) for the messages.
Note how the _ character may be used to make a folder file at the top of the others.
Go to Tools | Message Filters.
Click New.
For a spam filter you would use:                 For a filter that would put all UCL e-mail in a
Subject contains {spam?}                         mailbox, you would use:
Move Message to e.g. _Spam                       From contains
                                                 Move Message to [some mailbox]
14.    Setting up Thunderbird

Setting up your e-mail alias
Most people at UCL have two e-mail addresses – their user id./login e.g.
and their e-mail alias e.g. or If you do not know what

your e-mail alias is, look yourself up in the UCL directory: If it is not
listed, e-mail the UCL postmaster on
To make the messages you send appear to come from your e-mail alias (rather than the less
user-friendly user id.), go to Tools | Account Settings and type your e-mail alias in the Email
Address field.

Setting up a signature
A signature is the address at the bottom of an e-mail.
Compose a signature in Notepad (Start | Programs | Accessories | Notepad) and save it on
your N: drive as Signature.
You can then attach it in Thunderbird by going to Tools | Account Settings, highlighting the top
option in the left pane and clicking Attach this signature and choosing the file.

More than one signature?
By default, Thunderbird allows you to have only one signature. If you need more than one, you
can install the Quicktext add-on by going to:
Download the .xpi file somewhere in your filestore (e.g. on your N: drive). Then, in Thunderbird,
go to Tools | Add-ons and click Install. Locate the .xpi file and click Open and then Install
Now. Once it’s installed, go to Tools | Quicktext. Click Add group on the Templates tab and
put the name of your signature in the Title field. Type the signature in the large window below.
Type a number between 0-9 in the Alt field. Close the Quicktext window. You will now find that
pressing Alt and the number you assigned to the signature will insert it in a new e-mail.

IMAP settings
Check that Clean up ("Expunge") Inbox on Exit in Tools | Account Settings | Server
Settings is on; otherwise invisible copies of messages build up when you delete and move

Sending messages in plain text
Plain text e-mails are smaller and tend to be easier to archive, but do not allow you to format
messages. There is also no risk of the HTML code underlying the formatting becoming visible
on some system which does not understand them. If you want to set up Thunderbird to send in
plain text rather than the default, HTML format, switch off Tools | Account Settings |
Composition & Addressing | Compose messages in HTML format.

Forward setting
Check that Tools | Options | Composition | General | Forward messages is set to Inline. (If it
is set to As Attachment, messages forwarded have the message in an attachment rather than
visible in the message.)

Missing column headings?
To display missing column headings in a mailbox (e.g. Important), click the last column heading
above the messages in your Inbox (Click to select columns to display) and select the heading.

Adding icons to Thunderbird toolbars
To add an icon to a Thunderbird toolbar, right-click on the toolbar and select Customize.
Drag the one you want onto the toolbar.

15.     E-mail vacation utility
If you are going to be away from your desk for more than a couple of days, you can set up a
message that will go to anyone e-mailing you. The message sent to UCL and non-UCL users
does not need to be the same. Go to: Start | Programs | Utilities | E-mail Vacation Utility or and log in using your main UCL user id.

Set the messages (including your name, as this may not be apparent otherwise), type your
password and click Submit. Check it is working by e-mailing yourself. When you’re back, start
up the utility again and remove everything from both messages, type your password and click
Submit. Check it is no longer working by e-mailing yourself from another account — if the utility
is on, the vacation message is only sent once to each account e-mailing you.

16.     Adding an RSS feed
Tools | Account Settings | Add Account | RSS News & Blogs
Click on Next and Finish.
Select News & Blogs in the left column and then Manage subscriptions and Add.
Choose Show the article summary instead of loading the web page.
Here’s an example feed:

17.    Adding a news group
Tools | Account Settings | Add Account | Newsgroup account
The name of the UCL news server is:
Call the News account News.
Click News in the All folders column on the left in Thunderbird and click Manage newsgroup
subscriptions to subscribe to news groups.

18.    Thunderbird hotkeys
1-5 Number keys set tags. 0 removes tags.           Ctrl-N creates a new message.
B (with an open message) last message               Ctrl-R replies to a message.
F (with an open message) next message               Ctrl-W closes a message (or Thunderbird, if
Ctrl-L forwards a message.                          no message is open!).
M marks (or unmarks) a message as read.             Ctrl-Enter sends a message.
19.  Further help

Help | Mozilla Thunderbird Help in Thunderbird

Go to and type something like: Thunderbird tutorial filters

20.    Need to get hold of Thunderbird?
The UCL WTS and Myriad systems include Thunderbird, but if you are using a Windows, Mac
or Linux computer which doesn’t, and you have the rights to install software, you can go to and download the latest version of Thunderbird.


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