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To me, Thunderbird 3 is a little more than just a desktop eMail client, it’s a cult. The release of Thunderbird 3 has breathed new life into a program that had slowly been losing grounds to competitors like Google Mail. By adding several new options and much more flexibility, Thunderbird is back yet again!

Of course, Thunderbird’s greatest feature remains its extendability. In this article, I explore extensions that enhance the Thunderbird address book to make it working faster, easier, and more enjoyable.

AddressBook Tab (experimental)

Traditionally, Thunderbird’s address book is accessed through > Tools > Address Book or using the > [Ctrl] + [SHIFT] + [B] shortcut. Either way, the address book will open in a new window.

Thunderbird 3 supports tabs. Consequently, the AddressBook Tab extension allows you to open the address book in a tab by providing a new toolbar button.

address book tab

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To add the new button to your toolbar, > right-click a space in your toolbar and select > Customize… Now simply > drag and drop the button to the desired location and click > Done in the > Customize Toolbar window.

Select Address Book Text

Have you ever noticed that you cannot select and copy text from your Thunderbird address book? Especially not in the contact summary page.

It’s not possible to highlight and subsequently copy text from the book or contact summary page. The only way to copy a name for example, is to open the contact’s card, where you can edit the data.

The Select Address Book Text extension frees you from this annoying limitation and allows you to select and copy data from wherever you want.

Contact Photos (experimental)

As seen in the screenshot for the Select Address Book Text extension, you can add photos of your contacts to the Thunderbird address book. Unfortunately, these photos are only displayed in the address book and nowhere else.

Contact Photos puts the respective images next to the eMail header.

contact photos

Naturally, you won’t have photos for each and every contact. However, the extension provides an awesome extra feature which helps you avoid the ugly default image: Contact Photos supports Gravatar.

Gravatars are “Globally Recognized Avatars”, which are tied to your eMail address. When you sign up with Gravatar, you can register one or multiple eMail addresses and add custom photos to each eMail address. When you use an eMail address registered with Gravatar, for example to post a blog comment on a site that supports Gravatar, your custom image will be displayed next to your comment.

Go to > Tools > Add-ons and open the > Options for the > Contact Photos extension. Here you can edit the size of the photos and enable or disable Gravatars. By default, this option is enabled.

contact photos options

If one of your contacts has registered with Gravatar and uploaded an image, Contact Photos will display their Gravatar image in case you didn’t add your own contact photo for them.

gravatar

And even if your contact does not have a Gravatar image, the default Gravatar image series (identicon, monster, or wavatar), which provides a unique icon for each of your contacts, is much nicer than the default Thunderbird image.

wavatar

Interested in more Thunderbird resources? How about these…

How do you organize your Thunderbird address book?

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