How to put links in your messages

March 5, 2007

The most beautiful (and useful) part of the Internet is linking.Copy URL Every picture, document, and file on the Internet can be linked to each other so you literally have a “web”, thus the name… Linking inside an email gives us the convenience of showing someone where to find a particular something, whether it’s a picture of junior, an interesting news article, or that funny video (or not-so-funny video) on Youtube. Including a link in an email using Thunderbird is fairly simple, try this:

  1. Go to your web browser and copy the URL (the address) of the thing you want to link to
  2. Open Thunderbird
  3. Click the Write button
  4. Type out your message
  5. Highlight the word you want to use as the link
  6. Create the Link. There are two ways of doing this:
    1. Go to Insert > Linkinsert link menu
    2. Click on the Page Icon on the formatting toolbar and choose LinkPage Icon menu
  7. Paste your URL (from step 1) into the Link Location field and click OKLink Location Form
  8. This will create the link!

link location menuYour link should be created and you can either finish typing your message or send it on its way. There is one thing to look out for though, make sure your recipient can get HTML messages. Linking only works for HTML messages and if your recipient only does plain text messages, they will only see the long URL instead of a link.


How to format strike through text

March 5, 2007

Struck ThroughI recently received an email from a reader asking about how to get text that has a strike through it. Luckily, Thunderbird already has this ability built into its formatting options. Here’s the easiest way to set this up:

  1. Type out some text
  2. Select the text you want formatted with the strike through
  3. Go to Format > Text Style > Strikethrough

Strike Through

There is a second way, which involves editing HTML code, a.k.a the language that all websites use and allows us to put pictures, links, and all kinds of cool things into our emails. The <strike> </strike> tag shows text with the strike through it, just put your text in between the two tags. Of course, this way isn’t as easy as the first, so I would recommend the built-in way.

As far as I know, the built-in method should work, even if the person doesn’t use HTML formatted messages.

Thunderbird released today!

March 2, 2007

Thunderbird was released today.  Here are the release notes:

  • Improvements to product stability.
  • MFSA 2007-06 Mozilla Network Security Services (NSS) SSLv2 buffer overflow
  • MFSA 2007-01 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:

Have fun updating!

How to thread (or unthread) messages

March 1, 2007

Someone recently approached me and asked about an odd behavior with their Inbox. Apparently messages that weren’t remotely related to each other were showing up grouped together and the user wanted to know if there was a way to stop this. Ends up, the user had turned on “threading” and unrelated emails were being grouped together as a thread. Threading is grouping messages together as if they are part of a single conversation. In essence, it’s a specialized type of sorting. If you have ever used Gmail, Google’s free webmail service, you’ll be very familiar with threading, since a message and your replies appear together as a “conversation”.

Threading is very useful if you’re working on several projects at once and you email people back and forth regarding those projects. Threading would keep the messages together so you can easily find the conversations without having to perform a search. Personally, I don’t keep lots of mail in my Inbox, so sorting by date works best for me.Threading Menu

If you want to have your messages threaded together, here’s how to turn on threading:

  1. Open Thunderbird
  2. Click on the folder you want to thread
  3. Go to View > Sort By > Threaded

You’ll notice a slight change in your box headers as the thread column changes to an active state:

Thread Column On

Currently, each folder can have separate threading preferences, so you could sort Project 1’s folder by threads, but not Project 2’s folder.

Turning Off Threading

If, by some chance, you have threading turned on (by accident or not), you can turn it off by:

  1. Click on the folder that is threaded
  2. Go to View > Sort By > Unthreaded

Viola, threading is turned off for that folder.

How to set up an out-of-office auto-reply

February 16, 2007

I’m sure lots of people who are used to using Outlook & Exchange are looking for this one. Unfortunately, Thunderbird doesn’t have this capability built in and I couldn’t find an extension that offers this function either. However, there is a way to rig a simple out of office reply:

BEFORE DOING THIS, PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR IT DEPARTMENT AND MAKE SURE YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE A WAY TO DO VACATION MESSAGES!  This should be a measure of last resort because you don’t have another option.

  1. Open ThunderbirdTemplate Save
  2. Click on the write button. This should bring up a new email message
  3. Make the subject something like “Out of Office” or “On Vacation” and type something appropriate about how you’ll be gone in the message body. Don’t address it to anyone.
  4. Go to File > Save As > Template. This sets up the template that will be mailed to people who email you while you’re on vacation.
  5. Save the template as “Out of Office” or something else suitable
  6. Close the Out of Office template
  7. Now go to Tools >Message Filters
  8. Click the New button
  9. Change the name of the new filter to Out of Office Reply (or whatever you want to call it)
  10. Select “Match all of the following”
  11. Under the “For Apply Filter When” section, change the “Subject” drop menu to “To” and put your email address in the blank at the end of that line.
  12. Click the Plus button at the end of the “To” line, which adds another criteria.  Change the “To” drop down to “Status”, leave the middle drop menu at “is”, then select “New” in the last drop menu.
  13. Click the Plus button again and change “To” to Status, change the middle one to “isn’t”, and change the last one to “Replied”.
  14. Click the Plus button one more time, change “To” to Status, change the middle one to “isn’t”, and change the last one to “Forwarded”.  (Thanks Richard!)
  15. Under the “Perform These Actions” section, change the “Move Message To” drop menu to “Reply With Template”.
    Filter Setup
  16. Change the next drop menu to your Out of Office template.
  17. Click Ok to close the filter.

Operating Instructions:

Don’t send yourself a test email from this account! This will start an email loop and will fill up your Inbox and your Sent Mail. Not pretty…


Filter List

  • To turn the filter on – check the Enabled column for that filter’s line on your Message Filters list
  • To turn the filter off (once you’ve returned from vacation) – uncheck the enabled column on that filter’s line in the Message Filters list.

Third, you will need to leave your computer on and Thunderbird open the entire time you are gone for this to work (this process works differently on Outlook).

Fourth, don’t be annoying and leave the filter on for forever after you’ve gotten back from vacation. Be courteous and uncheck that filter when you get back, so people can email you without getting the auto-reply. I’ll post some more about different things you can do with these filters, managing templates, etc.

How to NOT add addresses automatically

February 12, 2007

I recently got this email:

My problem isn’t deleting addresses but not adding them. I seem to have Tbird set such that any new replies get added to the address book. I’d rather put all new entries in manually (mostly because ‘m a lecturer and don’t need all my students’ emails in my address book). I can’t seem to find a way to unset this. Can you help?

After poking around, I think I found what you would need to stop adding entries to your address book automatically.

Auto Add

  1. Open Thunderbird
  2. Go to:
    1. On a Mac: Thunderbird > Preferences
    1. On Windows: Tools > Options
  3. Go to the Composition tab
  4. Uncheck that last checkbox that says “Automatically add outgoing e-mail addresses to my:”.

This should stop adding addresses to your Collected Address or Personal Address Book when you reply to an email.

Thunderbird 2 beta 2 released!

January 25, 2007

I’ll be posting more about this later. I couldn’t find anything on Mozilla’s site about changes they’ve made from 2 beta 1, so I’ll have to check it all out manually.

How to save attachments

January 24, 2007

On the Mac, the default place that Thunderbird saves attachments is on the desktop, which can get messy pretty quickly if you get lots of attachments. You can easily change where Thunderbird saves attachments though, try this:

Attachments Tab

  1. Open Thunderbird
  2. Open Preferences
    1. On a Mac: go to Thunderbird > Preferences
    1. On Windows: go to Tools > Options
  3. Go to the Attachments tab
  4. Change the “Save all attachments to this folder” location by hitting the Browse button
  5. Pick a spot on your hard drive and hit the Choose button
  6. Now all your attachments should save to that new location from now on.

Thunderbird released today!

December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas to us! Mozilla released Thunderbird today. They also released Firefox, which is cool, because I’ve been waiting for the first update to give 2.0 to my clients at the school. Anyway, here are the changes for this new version:

  • Improvements to product stability
  • Several security fixes:
    • Mail header processing heap overflows
    • Mozilla SVG Processing Remote Code Execution
    • XSS by setting img.src to javascript: URI
    • LiveConnect crash finalizing JS objects
    • Privilege escallation using watch point
    • CSS cursor image buffer overflow (Windows only)
    • Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:

2beta1 Impressions – Folders & Filing

December 20, 2006

This is the fourth & final article about my impressions of the 2.0 beta 1 version of Thunderbird.

2b1 Folder View BarFolder Views

I was really confused by this one when I read this on Mozilla’s site, and like I said last night, I was hoping it would become clearer once I played with it. It is very clear now. Right above the folder pane, there is a new bar there that currently reads “All Folders”. This was such a subtle change, I missed it while looking around the UI. At the right end of that bar, you’ll see some arrows. Start clicking those arrows and it will switch to a different set of folders. The defaults right now are:

2b1 All FoldersAll Folders

2b1 Unread FoldersUnread Folders

2b1 Favorite FoldersFavorite Folders

2b1 Recent Foldersand Recent Folders.

I don’t see a way to add more categories to these, but maybe that’s something they will add…or let some enterprising Add-on developer take care of it…who knows.

Anyway, you can add folders to your Favorites list by right clicking (control click for Mac) on the folder and choosing Favorite Folder. You can also go to Edit > Favorite Folder. I can see this2b1 Adding Favorite Folders becoming very popular with those who have a huge volume of email. You could have different pages of folders based on different projects, or one for Family, one for Work, one for your Rocket Club, etc with each view having different folders in them.

Folder Summary Popups and New Mail Notifications

I’m not getting either of these. Since this is only a developer’s release, I won’t gripe too much. I’m sure they are cool features, but I’m not getting either one to work.

Improved Filing

I can see how this would be helpful if you move lots of your messages. They added a “Recent Folders” at the top of the Move To dialog. I use Message Filters to move most of my messages, so I probably won’t see this feature very often.

Speaking of Message Filters, they added a “Match All Messages” option to the filters, but I don’t see this as much of an improvement. I’m still waiting for them to allow me to say match all these rules, and any of these rules. That way, I don’t have 30 rules just to move certain messages into a certain folder. It frustrating to have all the messages with the same subject line, but not ALL messages with that subject line need to be moved, just ones that have certain things in the message. Maybe someone will develop a filter-related add-on that will allow this.

Ok, so I’ve probably bored you to death and worn you out with my reviews so far. I read on the Monkey Bites review that he thought it was a little snappier performance-wise, but I didn’t really notice a major change.

I think my next article will be a wish list for things I still want to see added into the 2.0 release. Get ready to write!