Nine Top Tools for Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is my day in, day out favorite email client. When most people think about email, they think Outlook.  Outlook is a great program, but it’s very expensive.  Unless you need to connect to an Exchange server, you can do better with the free Thunderbird.

In a previous post, I talked about add-ons that improve Google’s web mail interface.  Here’s a list of some tools that extend Thunderbird and make it both easier to use and more powerful.  Top 10 lists are popular. Here are my top 9 addons for Thunderbird.

  1. Folder Account  selects a default “from” account for any given folder.  I have some accounts on external systems that are forwarded to my primary email address.  Message rules move these into particular folders. When I reply, this addon selects the address on the external system as the from address.
  2. Lightning is a calendar that integrates with Thunderbird. In thas all the features you’d expect, including invitations, recurrence, etc.
  3. Provider for Google Calendar syncs my Google calendars with Lightning.  Google Calendars provide the link to the calendar on my iPhone. Changing the calendar on the desktop, on the web or on the phone is automatically synched to the other two places within seconds.
  4. .vcs Support add support for .vcs files to Lightning.  It handles .ics natively.
  5. GContactSync synchronizes my Google and iPhone address book with Thunderbird.
  6. EnigMail adds support for PGP/OpenGPG signing and encryption to Thunderbird.
  7. Signature Switch adds a toolbar button easily swaps signatures. I use it for switching among formal and informal signature lines.
  8. Manually Sort Folders lets Thunderbird override the folder ordering defined on an IMAP server. Sometimes, you just don’t want things alpabetically.
  9. Compact Headers reduces the screen geography used by message headers, providing more space for the message itself.

What do you use to make Thunderbird work better for you?