10 Must-Have Thunderbird Addons (+ 25 More)

Akshata Shanbhag 06-02-2017

Thunderbird is not dead! Never mind the confusion surrounding the progress of Thunderbird’s development. If you have installed this much-loved email client on your desktop You Should Ditch Webmail for a Desktop Email Client If... A few years ago, webmail was all the rave. Wonder whether it's time to switch back to a desktop email client? Look no further. We show you the merits of a local mail service. Read More , you’ll want to know which add-ons will help you make the most of it. Right on cue, we have brought you our list of ten must-have Thunderbird add-ons, and a 25-strong list of other add-ons worth testing.


Note: All add-ons recommended below work with Thunderbird 45, unless mentioned otherwise.

1. QuickFolders (Tabbed Folders)

QuickFolders is a lifesaver if your inbox has a large collection of folders. It lets you manipulate folders faster by turning them into bookmarked tabs.

Once you install QuickFolders, a new toolbar appears right below the Mail toolbar. Any folder you drag and drop to this toolbar shows up as a bookmarked tab right there. That’s not all — you can drag and drop any folder/email to anywhere in your inbox with minimal time and effort.


With QuickFolders, you can use colors and categories to distinguish between tabs. You also get to compress folders, search them, mark them as read, and sort emails automatically based on specific criteria. Given QuickFolders’ extensive set of features, it might take you a while to figure out how best to use the add-on, but the effort is well worth it.



The free version of QuickFolders is robust and proves adequate for most users. You can upgrade to the premium version for $15. QuickFolders also works with a couple of other email clients: SeaMonkey and Postbox.

2. Quicktext

This add-on is sure to save you time! With Quicktext, you get to create templates for email content. Inserting them in your emails is as easy as using a keyword, a keyboard shortcut, the context menu, or a toolbar button. You also have the option to personalize templates using variables like names and email addresses.



Quicktext might prove redundant if you use a full-fledged text expansion What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? If you could save yourself even a small fraction of the time you spend typing, you could save hours of your time every week. That's exactly what text expansion is for. Read More application on your desktop. If you don’t use any such app or if it has limited features, Quicktext is worth installing. It even lets you specify subject lines, signatures, and attachments when you’re creating a template.

If you’re happy with Quicktext, you might want to check out Quicktext Pro (€9), which adds features like template sharing and script support.

3. Contact Tabs

Contact Tabs adds a dedicated search field to Thunderbird’s main window to help you look up your contacts in a few keystrokes. It also allows you to create new contacts right from the search box!

You can filter contacts from your Address Books based on names, email addresses, chat accounts, notes, and so on. To specify the default search criterion, click on the “business card” icon in the search box. Here’s a screenshot of what will show up:



If you install Contact Tabs, memorize the shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + E to highlight the add-on’s search box in one shot.

4. Signature Switch

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Better yet, have a handful of signatures to switch between, based on the email account you’re using and the email recipient. Install Signature Switch to create such a predefined set of signatures. You can pick the appropriate one super quick every time you’re sending an email.


After you install the extension, it shows up in the context menu when you’re writing an email. Before you can start using it though, you have to add at least one (default) signature from Tools > Add-ons > Signature Switch > Preferences/Options. Look for the New button to set up a new signature, and ensure that the signature file is in the .HTML format.


From the add-on’s Options dialog, you can assign custom keyboard shortcuts to turn signatures on or off and to cycle through your predefined set.

5. Mail Merge

Sending mass email with a personal touch is easy if you have installed Mail Merge. Let’s say you want to use Thunderbird to send a party invite to 30 people. You could use the Bcc: field in the Compose window to send the same email to the 30 recipients, but there’s no automatic way to tailor the email for each of them. That is unless you use an add-on like Mail Merge.

You’ll find clear instructions from the developer on using the add-on right on the Mail Merge page in the Add-ons gallery, so I won’t get into those here.

With the add-on installed, you can use variables to turn a single email draft into any number of personalized individual messages. For example, if you want to address the recipients by their first name automatically, you can use a variable like {{FirstName}} in the email draft and pull its values from a .CSV spreadsheet.


Mail Merge creates a new email for each recipient and saves it to your outbox. It also replaces the variables with their appropriate values. There should be no discrepancy between the variable name in the email draft and the corresponding column name in the spreadsheet.

The add-on is compatible with Thunderbird 45, but I did have trouble getting it to work, most likely due to a conflicting add-on.

6. quickFilters

If your inbox fills up fast 3 Easy Ways To Stop Email Overload From Hitting Your Inbox Email has quite a reputation as a productivity killer. Managing email well can help you keep your inbox clean, but wouldn’t it be great if you got less of it to begin with? Read More all the time, you’ll love what quickFilters can do for you — it gives you a way to define filters on the fly.

After you install the add-on, look for the quickFilters Assistant button in the toolbar and click on it. Now, the next time you drag and drop one or more emails into a folder, you’ll get a prompt to set up a filter. Select one of the default criteria listed and hit the Create Filter… button. You’ll then be able to add other attributes to refine the filter.


Of course, you can create a new filter even when the quickFilter assistant is not active. Click on the Message Filters… button in the toolbar to begin.

quickFilters gives you quite a few other options to manipulate filters. For example, it allows you to clone filters, merge them, sort/group them, and even isolate filters that work on a specific folder.

7. XNote++

XNote++ brings you Post-its for your emails. It’s a simple add-on that lets you create one sticky note per email — all you have to do is click on the XNote++ toolbar button when you have an email selected.

The add-on is great for making a note of vital information from emails — phone numbers, addresses, website links, promo codes, and so on. It’s also useful for adding reminders to help you follow up on emails.


If you have created a sticky note for an email, it shows up when you select the message. It disappears if you click elsewhere on the screen and reappears when you reselect the message.

8. Attach from Clipboard

Attach from Clipboard is a new extension, so you won’t find it in “top-rated” and “most popular” lists yet. I decided to include it here because it is a handy, time-saving add-on worth giving a chance.

The add-on allows you to attach images, files, URLs, and so on directly from the clipboard. This means you don’t have to spend time locating a file in your desktop’s file explorer to attach it to an email.

After you install Attach from Clipboard and restart Thunderbird, you can start adding clipboard entries to emails. Look for the Attach > From clipboard option in the Compose window.


You’ll find the “attach from clipboard” option in the context menu of the attachments panel and under File > Attach in the menu bar as well.

9. Send Later

Delayed sending is a powerful feature to have in an email client. Thunderbird’s in-built Send Later feature allows you to push messages to the Outbox folder with a keyboard shortcut. The problem is that you have to send these unsent messages manually later on. This is where the Send Later add-on comes in handy — it lets you send messages automatically on a schedule.

To schedule an email, hit Thunderbird’s default “send later” shortcut (CTRL + SHIFT + ENTER ) when the cursor is within the email’s content box. This brings up the scheduling options you can see below.


In the Send at: field, using the placeholder text as an example, enter the date and time when you want the email to go out.

You’ll then see the Send around… button turns active. If you click on this button, the message ends up in your Drafts folder and gets sent at the time you chose. Note that you can also schedule the email for, say, “15 minutes later”.


Let’s say you click on the Put in Outbox button instead of the Send around… button. The message then goes to the Outbox folder and gets sent out along with the rest of the unsent messages. Open the add-on’s preferences section to tweak the intervals at which unsent messages should leave the outbox.


10. Personas Plus [No Longer Available]

With Personas Plus you get to give your email client a makeover. The add-on gives you an easy way to change the look and feel of Thunderbird with colorful themes or “skins”.

When you install the add-on, Thunderbird automatically gets a new background and new colors for the user interface. That’s the new default “persona” at work, added by Personas Plus.

Click on the Personas toolbar button to reveal links to the add-on’s preferences and themes that come bundled with the add-on. You’ll be able to preview themes as soon as you select them from the menu. Look for the Custom Persona menu item if you would like to create a theme or two of your own.


25 Other Cool Add-ons

1. Enigmail – Adds OpenPGP encryption What Is PGP? How Pretty Good Privacy Works, Explained Pretty Good Privacy is one method for encrypting messages between two people. Here's how PGP works and how anyone can use it. Read More and authentication to Thunderbird.

2. Allow HTML Temp – Allows you to enable HTML temporarily on a per-email basis.

3. MinimizeToTray revived (Windows, Linux) – Minimizes mail windows to the system tray. Also works with Firefox.

4. Nostalgy – Adds keyboard shortcuts for switching between folders and panes, moving/copying messages, and so on.

5. Provider for Google Calendar – Syncs Lightning with Google Calendar and Google Tasks. Lightning comes integrated with Thunderbird by default.

6. Mail Redirect – Allows you to redirect/re-send emails to one or more recipients. This is not the same as forwarding.


7. Auto Address Cleaner – Automatically removes the display names for email addresses in To:, Cc:, and Bcc: fields. May cause conflict with the Mail Merge add-on.

8. QuickNote – Lightweight, tabbed extension that adds a note-taking feature to Thunderbird. Autosaves notes.

9. Master Password+ – Adds enhancements to Thunderbird’s in-built master password feature. With this add-on, you can lock Thunderbird with a timer or lock the current window with a toolbar button.

10. CardBook – Adds a CardDAV-supported address book to Thunderbird.

11. BorderColors GT – Assigns a unique color to the Compose window based on the From: email address, to help with easy identification of accounts.

12. Menu Filter – Adds support for hiding menu items you never use. Note that you can’t rearrange menu items.


13. Classic Toolbar Buttons – Restores the small toolbar buttons that came with versions before Thunderbird 15. Also offers other toolbar tweaks.

14. CategoryManager 2 – Allows you to categorize Thunderbird contacts and send emails to all members from a particular category at once.

15. Tab Wheel Scroll – Lets you switch tabs by scrolling with the mouse wheel.

16. Search as list – Displays search results as a list.

17. Manually sort folders – Lets you reorder folders and accounts in the folder pane.

18. ThunderHTMLedit – Allows you to edit the HTML source for email content within the Compose window.


19. Search Results Sort By Date Not Relevance [No Longer Available] – Makes “sort by date” the default (instead of “sort by relevance”) for search results.

20. Subject Manager – Allows you to collect, manage, and reuse subjects of composed emails.

21. AutoCopy 2 – Automatically copies the selected text to the clipboard and pastes it into text boxes on middle click.

22. Secure Addressing – Ensures that you’re not sending emails to the wrong recipients.

23. Slim Add-ons Manager – Displays more add-on entries at a time in the Add-ons Manager by reducing the height of each entry.


24. Simple Locale Switcher – Enables quick switching between different languages for the user interface.

25. Add-ons Manager – Version Number – Displays version numbers for installed add-ons in Add-ons Manager.

Add-ons We Wish We Could Recommend

Several add-ons that were once quite popular haven’t been updated in more than a year, are not compatible with Thunderbird 45, or are no longer as effective. We have kept such add-ons off our list, but we’ll name five of our favorites here, just in case you want to follow up on these add-ons when they make a comeback.

  1. ThunderBrowse – Allows you to open links in emails right inside Thunderbird.
  2. ThreadVis – Adds visual cues to help you understand the context in email threads.
  3. Thunderbird Conversations – Adds support for threaded conversations, and allows you to reply to individual messages “inline”.
  4. Mailbox Alert – Lets you assign unique alert sounds, notification styles, and follow-up actions for individual email accounts.
  5. Identity Chooser – Ensures that you’re choosing the correct account while composing an email.

Long Live Thunderbird!

Thunderbird is flexible and open source. It’s like VLC for email — a perennial favorite among computer users, regardless of their choice of operating system Mac, Linux or Windows: It Really Doesn't Matter Anymore [Opinion] It matters less and less every year what operating system you use, because every year we all spend more time on our computer using nothing but the browser. And browsers are cross-platform. Want to have... Read More . With so many excellent add-ons to boost its power, Thunderbird only gets better.

Have we left out any of your favorite add-ons or ones that you think deserved to make the cut? List them for us in the comments.

Originally written by Aibek Esengulov on May 15, 2007.

Related topics: Desktop Email Client, Email Tips, Mozilla Thunderbird.

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  1. philip
    May 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    I have been looking for this:
    About 40% of all mails i receive go to my boss. How to forward these to him with just one button?

  2. Phillip
    October 5, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Eudora had a feature where you could locate the mailbox for the message you were looking at by holding down the control key while double-clicking the message title bar. It's been over two years since I was finally forced to give up Eudora, but I'm still waiting for such a feature to be incorporated into Thunderbird.

  3. PJ
    July 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I have been using Thunderbird for years and love it, the only reason I was looking to switch is for some reason the new update wants me to log in every time I send and receive a message each and every time, I have been on the forum and so many others are complaining about this issue as well, there is nothing in the settings that will disable that. It is very annoying.

    I am a desktop user and have been and always will be a desktop computer person, I like my large monitor and the ability to upgrade my computer when needed or build a new one, it is easier and cost effective to do this and I enjoy it even at being almost 60 years old. I like using a desktop email client, it is faster for me just to click the button and go straight to my messages, well it used to be anyway.

  4. Jude
    July 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    I use Google gmail and it find it works fine. I have used it for 8 years now.
    And I love it.

    I also have a Icloud account. It is ok and does what I need it to do.
    but I like Google gmail the best. It does what a email program is suppose
    to do. I have a Apple PC and have Apple support and they are a very good
    and dependable source of support.

    Thought I would write a comment for those who want a simple and easy
    email to use.
    Questions: What is the best security program to keep your PC and your information

    Thanks for all your good advice and suggestions as well.

    Have a great day


  5. Roy
    April 22, 2017 at 12:37 am

    What in the world has happened to Thunderbird? I am on here now looking for a replacement. TB has become a thorn in my side. A month or so ago, it stopped communication with the microsoft exchange server. After that, every few day it would work, then stop working on and off. Now, it takes forever for new message to download. Saving to draft or sent message folder always shows pop up error messages. I spend half my time now on Hotmail's web based email when I need to see or do something in real time. I am so disappointed. I think it's Microsoft's fault for trying to not play nicely with other software. But it seems that TBird is not keeping up with the changes. Is anyone else experiencing this?

  6. Utomo Prawiro
    March 20, 2017 at 6:34 am

    I hope we can have better spam filter and better user interface

  7. Larry Guzik
    March 10, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Thunderbird has so many options for showing and hiding menu, toolbar & sidebar, almost too many to confuse the non-literate person. I set up Thunderbird for retired people and the biggest problem I have is disappearing menus, toolbars & sidebars.
    I wold like to see a way to lock these so it would be more difficult to accidentally change them. I have to guess that most people once they have their Thunderbird screen set up will not want to change it.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      March 12, 2017 at 4:47 am

      Hi Larry, I don't know of any add-on that allows you to lock toolbars and such. Maybe you can hide menu items that toggle visual elements using the Menu Filter add-on mentioned in the article.

  8. Dr.MaKS
    March 9, 2017 at 7:56 am


  9. John Griswold
    March 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I'd like to select a group of emails and extract the contents to a text file. Is there anything like that? Is there a Perl API for working your own solutions?

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      March 7, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Could this add-on work: ImportExportTools?

      • John Griswold
        March 7, 2017 at 5:10 pm

        Oh, so close! Lazy sot that I am, I'd like to save all selected emails into one text file. I already have to select, copy & paste into another file. Perhaps I could bribe the author - Thanks for the link!

        • Akshata Shanbhag
          March 8, 2017 at 4:02 am

          Glad I could help :)

  10. Lee Gordon
    February 27, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    I Love Thunderbird. I wish there were a way to use (not copy) a Google Contact List as an address book for TB. TB already has multiple address book capabilities. A TB Address Book named "Google Contacts" should have syncing and group capabilities that mirror Google Contact List. Addresses that are (or are Not) in the TB "Google Contact" could be added to or edited to the Google based Contact List with a single click.
    thanks for your consideration.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      February 28, 2017 at 3:22 am

      I think gContactSync does what you're looking for, Lee.

  11. Lee Gordon
    February 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Hi, I love Thunderbird. I wish that there was a way to force a Google Contact list to be an address book for Thunderbird with automatic syncing , mail groups, and sidebar display. Since TB has multiple address book capability, it would be great to have a TB address book named "Google Contacts".
    Thanks for consideration.

    • Tina Sieber
      March 6, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Thank you for your comment, Lee.

      Just a heads-up: I removed your email address from your comment. I'd recommend you not to publicly post your contact details, unless you welcome spam.

  12. likefunbutnot
    February 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    gContactSync, for keeping your desktop Email client 's contact list updated with information entered via an Android phone.

    • Tina Sieber
      March 6, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Thank you for the recommendation!