10 Thunderbird add-ons I can’t live without

With moving my workload to two laptops (one for work, on OS X and one for play, on Linux), you invariably have issues with being as productive as you should be in the software that you use. I dumped Apple Mail.app after about 2 weeks of solid usage (more on that, at another time), for Mozilla Thunderbird. It isn’t free of warts, but with the excellent plug-in architecture, it surely helps. Here are some plug-ins (add-ons in Mozilla speak) I can’t live without.

This tool is simply amazing. Ctrl+J for Junk, Y for moving to the archive, and so much more. Its keyboard shortcuts are similar to GMail, so if you also happen to use GMail, this is a worthy tool to have. Even if you don’t, the shortcuts make so much sense, its a wonder why its not on by default.

I certainly like having a built-in calendar in Thunderbird, and more importantly, it works with my Google Calendar. It could improve with offline support, and a bit, but for a fairly recent full review, read Lightning, Google Calendar, and calendering in Thunderbird.

Need to move a message quickly? Need to copy one? Need to jump to a folder? Nostalgy provides some nifty keyboard shortcuts to change/move to/copy to folders, and it has auto-completion. Paired with GMailUI, Thunderbird becomes even more keyboard friendly.

Address books are a pain in the butt. On every platform (save for OS X), there are so many standards, none of which really work. Plaxo, takes the pain out of this, by synchronising with a server on the Internet. Now I can use many machines, and get Plaxo to sync my contacts. It has its limitations (3,000 contacts), but it does sync the “collected addresses” in Thunderbird (a killer feature, if I may say so).

Provider for Google Calendar
If you want to get Lightning to use Google Calendar, this add-on is required.

Clicking Reply to Sender or Reply to All, now allows me to quote some text, and only reply to that quoted text. Saves me from deleting all the unnecessary parts of email. Its surprising that this isn’t the default behaviour in Thunderbird – after all, Evolution has had this for ages.

Templates, to improve efficiency. Need a canned email? Need to insert a file as text? This is a truly useful add-on, if you have a lot of repetitive email to write.

Remember Mismatched Domains
This is a most useful add-on, especially if you’re tired of seeing “Security Error: Domain Name Mismatch” everytime you start Thunderbird. Some mail servers have this issue (including some that I run – i.e. a machine with multiple hosts), so this helps remember the ones that I’ve “white-listed”.

Remove Duplicate Messages

Sometimes you get email in the form of a To: or a CC: and it also goes to a mailing list that you’ve filtered out. This helps remove duplicate messages, so that you only have one copy in your archives. It also helps, in the days of using POP mail (what days, I still have accounts where I POP my mail), and breaking connections – i.e. pulling down 2 copies of the same message.

Sync On Arrival
This doesn’t work with Thunderbird 2, but is a useful add-on to have (and I hope it starts working). Thunderbird has an annoying feature of not downloading/syncing IMAP mail, on folders that you haven’t clicked on. I’ve sort of worked around this by using Offline -> Download/Synchronise Now and ensuring all the folders I care about are subscribed to. I’m including this on the off-chance that the author wakes up and fixes it for Thunderbird 2 (and the upcoming 3).

While not a must-have add-on, I also have the British English Dictionary. Your mileage may vary here, as you might not be interested in said language.

These are the add-on’s that keep me productive. What add-on’s do you use?

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  1. Andy Goh says:

    Currently using Lightning and Provider for Google Calendar – somehow it still doesn’t want to write to GCal from Thunderbird =(

    Sync on Arrival is what I am looking for a while already, thanks for that – too bad it doesn’t work on Thunderbird 2.

  2. Simos says:

    You can “fix” Sync On Arrival by editing the RDF file.

  3. Simos says:

    You can fix the Sync on Arrival extension by editing the RDF file it contains, and bumping the Thunderbird max version.

  4. byte says:

    @simos: but is it still required? Some say, the biff mode in Thunderbird 2 works.

    @andy: I write to gcal just fine… Did you login?

  5. Andy Goh says:

    somehow it started working, i think i forgot to install that provider.. for some reason =)

  6. byte says:

    Yes, the provider is very important. But I doubt you could link to the calendar without the provider. As I blogged earlier, you definitely want to read the GDATA_Provider document on the wiki… the documentation itself is indispensable.

  7. […] They will improve your productivity, tremendously, especially if you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts.http://www.bytebot.net/blog/archives/2008/04/12/10-thunderbird-add-ons-i-cant-live-withoutColin Charles Agenda ? Blog Archive ? 10 Thunderbird add-ons I can …Apr 12, 2008 … 10 […]

  8. shubhra says:

    hmm well i was looking for some add on for working with rss feed like click and add rss feed to thunderbird currently i have to copy paste url and also how to keep the thunderbird in usb drive