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.

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 “unjunk” messages

October 17, 2006

You’re in a panic.  A whole batch of new messages just showed up, then disappeared from your Inbox.  You check the trash, they’re not there.  You check some of your saved messages folders, they’re not there.  You know one of them was important, but you don’t know where it is!  Calm down, everything’s going to be fine.  You’ve just experienced the magic of the Junk Mail Filter.  Until you’ve trained it to know what you think is or is not junk, it will continue to think lots of things are junk and do what you just described.  Here’s how to help the filter learn and retrieve your messages.

  1. Go to your Junk folder.  Inside this folder, you will find a list of messages.  Some are probably “keepers” and others are ones you’d like to throw away.
  2. Click on one of the “good” messages.  When you do this, it will show you the message, but at the top, there is a green section that says “Thunderbird thinks this message is junk” and a button labeled “This is Not Junk”.
  3. Hit that button.  Unfortunately, hitting this button doesn’t magically put this message into your Inbox, so…
  4. Drag the message back to your Inbox.
  5. Repeat this process for the messages in the Junk folder that you would like to keep.

Junk Mail Folder

This is a small hassle, but it’s worth it to not have to read through a thousand ads for “male enhancement” or other solicitations for who knows what.  Keep training that filter and it will, eventually, start getting it right more often than it gets it wrong.

How to sort messages

October 11, 2006

So your friend Judy says she sent that important report to you already, but doesn’t remember exactly when and you’ve got to print it right away for the boss? You know it was an attachment on an email from Judy, but since your Inbox shows the newest emails first. This is a simple problem to solve. The solution: message sorting. The best part is, it doesn’t involve reprogramming Thunderbird and diving into the preferences or account settings.

message headers

When you’re looking at your Inbox, check out the line of boxes that are right above that most current email. The column headers tell you what you can expect to find in that column; things like Sender, Date, Subject, etc. The other thing those column headers do is allow you to sort messages by that header. You might notice that the Date column is blue instead of that silver/gray-ish color that the rest of the Thunderbird window. That tells you that the messages in that box are being sorted by Date.

To sort by a different header (like Sender in our story), click on that header. The first time you click, the messages will rearrange themselves in order A to Z by that header. Try clicking around on the different headers and notice the differences. From our story, we’d click on the Sender header, find all the messages with Judy all clumped together, then find our message with the report attachment.

How to spell check messages

October 5, 2006

Thunderbird has a great little spell checker built-in and it’s actually turned on by default. Let’s say for whatever reason, your’s isn’t on and you want to stop embarrassing yourself with your poor spelling. There ‘s a simple fix:

Spelling Options

  1. On a Mac, go to Thunderbird > Preferences; on a PC go to Tools > Options.
  2. Go to the Composition tab, then the Spelling sub-tab. You have two options for spell checking: “Check spelling before sending” & “Enable spell as you type”. The first one checks the spelling in the email after you hit “Send”, and alerts you to any typos. The second one actually underlines typos with a red squiggily line.
  3. Just check both of those options (for spelling safety) and you’re good to go!

How to change how messages are forwarded

October 5, 2006

When messages are forwarded from Thunderbird, by default, they are sent as an attachment to the new message. If, like me, you prefer that the forwarded message be sent inline (as in readable at the bottom of your new message), then you’ll need to change the default setting. Here’s how:forwardingprefs

On a Mac, go to Thunderbird > Preferences; on a PC, go to Tools > Options.

Go to the Composition tab, the General sub-tab.
The first option at the top deals with how messages are forwarded. Switch that setting from “As Attachment” to “Inline”

How to Save Mail in a Folder

October 5, 2006

So you have mail that you want to save, but you don’t want it hanging around in your Inbox? Thunderbird allows you to create a folder that will store emails. Here’s how to do it:

New Folder Dialog

Go to File > New > Folder

Give the folder a name and choose where you want to put the folder. To pick a location that already has folders in it (like your account name), keep going through the menus until you find “choose this for the parent”; that will choose that folder as the place to make your new folder.
Click Ok.

Start moving messages to your new folder.