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5 Extensions to Add Calendars & Task Manager to Thunderbird 3

Tina Sieber 07-09-2010

Thunderbird is Mozilla’s desktop email client. It’s free, it’s open source, and it supports add-ons. However, in its default version it is just another desktop client.


What really breathes life into Thunderbird is its ability to be personalized with themes, extensions, and plugins. Is your Thunderbird ready for a custom makeover?

Per default, Thunderbird does not come with a calendar. Fortunately, a full calendar can easily be integrated. Here are 2 extensions to add a full-fledged calendar and task manager to Thunderbird and 3 to make use of it.

You will find many more articles on how to best use and personalize Thunderbird at the bottom of this article.


With Lightning you can easily upgrade Thunderbird to become your desktop time and task manager. Once installed, you will see two tiny new buttons on the very right of the tab bar: one opens a new tab for your Calendar, the other a tab for your Tasks.

thunderbird 3 calendar


As soon as you click the calendar tab, you enter a new world. On the left hand sidebar you see the current month and a list of your calendars. Click on > File > New > Calendar… in your Thunderbird toolbar to create a new one. You can add multiple calendars and color code them.

On the right is your calendar in either day, week, multiweek, or month (default) view, with all upcoming events listed at the top of it. Through the menu at the top left you can toggle the list of upcoming events to show today’s events, events in the next 7, 14, or 31 days, events in this calendar month, all future events, or currently selected day. You can also search your events.

thunderbird 3 calendar plugin

I will not go into details regarding the Task features, but it’s just as easy to use, so I’m sure you can figure it out.



This extension adds a set of new calendar buttons to Thunderbird. These buttons are insanely useful because you can now automatically attach email contents to events. This will come in handy, for example if you’re invited to a party and the email contains directions on how to get there. Not only will you be reminded of the event, you also don’t have to dig for the email to retrieve any meaningful details.

After installing the extension, right-click an open space in the Thunderbird toolbar and select > Customize from the menu. This opens the > Customize Toolbar window. In that window find the buttons displayed below and drag them to their new home in the toolbar. Click > Done and that’s what you are.

thunderbird 3 calendar plugin

The > Event… button becomes available when you select an email. The content of the email will automatically be loaded into the event > Description when you click the > Event… button. The > Task… button works the same way. The other buttons just give you quick access to adding a new event or task. The Calendar and Task buttons are redundant, but you may find them useful anyways.



If you can’t be bothered to set up an extension and if you are already using Google Calendar, you will be delighted about this simple solution. What it does is add a toolbar button to Thunderbird that opens Google Calendar in a separate tab within Thunderbird.

Add the new button via the > Customize Toolbar window and enjoy!

thunderbird 3 calendar plugin

You can actually run Google Calendar directly out of Thunderbird with Lightning. This will save you the Google log in every time you want to access your calendar. Check out my article How To Integrate Google Calendar Into Thunderbird How to Integrate Google Calendar Into Thunderbird You're using Thunderbird and Google Calendar and you wonder how you can unite the two? We show you how to fully integrate Google Calendar with Thunderbird. Read More for setup instructions. It’s easy and works like a charm!



Do you always forget people’s birthdays? Did you know you could add personal details, like birthdays to your addressbook in Thunderbird? If you have been doing that or if you’re looking for an easy reminder solution for upcoming birthdays, you must try ThunderBirthDay.

First, open your address book, go through your contacts, open them with a double-click, and add their birthdays in the > Private tab.

thunderbird 3

Since ThunderBirthDay adds events to a calendar, it requires Lightning. When this is done, install the ThunderBirthDay extension. This extension only works with its own calendar.

  • Click > File > New > Calendar… in the Thunderbird toolbar.
  • Select > On My Computer, click > Next.
  • Select > Birthday from the Thunderbird addressbook.
  • Choose the addressbooks to use from the drop-down menu.
  • Click > Next to > Name and > Color code the new calendar.
  • Click > Next again, and finally click > Finish.


With this extension a Timeline is inserted above the status bar in Thunderbird. It displays events coming up during the next couple of hours or days. When you hover the mouse over it you can zoom in and out using the mouse wheel.

The vertical red line indicates the current day and time, while all other entries are events from your calendars. Unfortunately, no event details are shown. However, you can open the edit event window by double-clicking its entry in the Timeline.

thunderbird 3 calendar

Countless articles have been written about Thunderbird on MakeUseOf. Here are a few of my favorites:

I will admit frankly that I slightly dominate this list!

If you’re using Thunderbird, what do you think makes it better than Yahoo! or Google Mail? Is customization a key element?

Related topics: Calendar, Desktop Email Client, Mozilla Thunderbird, Task Management.

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  1. Lena
    March 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I still can't figure out how to access two calendars! I can create a second calendar with a different name, but where it is?

  2. Saikat Basu
    September 10, 2010 at 7:40 am

    The Google Calendar integration and the Timeline should solve my planning problems. a time line feature is important to get an overview of how the future is going to pan out.

  3. groovyspecs
    September 9, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I've been using Lightning for a while now and only recently discovered that it supports multiple calendars. This is a wonderful feature for anyone who has multiple mailboxes. Each calendar's events are displayed in the colour of your choice, which makes organising your events even easier.

  4. Time Tracking
    September 8, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Whoa...looks like it might be time to give Thunderbird another look. The missing calendar feature was keeping me bound to Outlook, but I'd love to break away. Thanks for this...heading over to the Moz now. :)

    • Tina
      September 8, 2010 at 8:53 am

      I almost didn't include Lightning in this article because I thought it was so well known (and I had written about it before). Good thing I did anyways and glad you found it helpful!

  5. laboratory
    September 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Lightning is a really cool addon. I will definately try to use it.


  6. laboratory
    September 7, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Lightning is a really cool addon. I will definately try to use it.