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.


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.

How to delete a bad password

October 24, 2006

So, your email password changed, but Thunderbird still has the old one saved and is pitching a fit because the password isn’t correct. You just need to change the password that is saved. Actually, technically, you’re going to delete the old password and save a new one. Here’s how:

  1. Open Thunderbird and go to
    • Mac: Thunderbird > Preferences
    • Windows: Tools > Options
  2. Click on the Privacy tab, then the Passwords sub-tab
  3. Click the button that’s labeled “View Saved Passwords”
  4. Find the account that has the bad password
  5. Click on it, then click the “Remove” button. This will delete that entry in the Password Manager
  6. Close Thunderbird and reopen it
  7. Type in the correct password and check the “Use Password Manager to remember this password.” checkbox

Remove Password

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”

Preferences Interface

September 25, 2006


This is the menu for the Preferences for Thunderbird.  To get here, go to (Mac) Thunderbird > Preferences or (Windows) Tools > Options.

The General tab contains preferences regarding what Thunderbird does when it starts up, new mail notification, and how it connects to the internet.  Check the tutorial regarding this preference tab for more specifics.

The Display tab has three sub tabs; all regarding the appearance of Thunderbird (colors, fonts, etc).  Check the tutorial regarding this preference tab for more specifics.

The Composition tab also has three sub-tabs; all regarding writing messages, like spell check, addresses, HTML options, & Auto-Save.  Check the tutorial regarding this preference tab for more specifics.

The Privacy tab has 5 sub-tabs and all of these have to do with security.  You have options for Anit-virus, Password storage, encryption, script blocking, scam filtering, & certificates.  Check the tutorial regarding this preference tab for more specifics.

The Attachments tab allows you to tell Thunderbird where to automatically save all attachments and what programs open which types of files.  Check the tutorial regarding this preference tab for more specifics.

The Advanced tab has kind of a hodge-podge of other preferences that don’t really fit into the other categories.  You can tell Thunderbird how to check for updates, how long to wait until marking a message as “Read”, offline options, or even get in and manually configure options for Thunderbird.  Check the tutorial regarding this preference tab for more specifics.

When new messages arrive…

September 25, 2006

When new mail arrives, you can Thunderbird do several things to let you know. First, is to show an alert. The second is the animate the dock icon. The third is to play a certain sound. However, to set up one of these options, you must go to the program preferences: (Mac) Thunderbird > Preferences, (Windows) Tools > Options.

On the General tab, you can setup your new messages alerts under the heading “When New Messages Arrive…”. Here is what each options does:

Show an Alert – a message that says, “You have new messages”. It will force you to click OK for the notification to go away.
Animate the dock icon – this bounces the dock icon (on the Mac) until you click on the program. This option can be pretty annoying, but like the Show Alert, it can be good if you need to know right away when new messages arrive.

Play a sound – this does just that; it plays a sound. You can have it play any system sound you want, or you can have it play any .wav you have on your hard drive. To set this up, follow this tutorial.

How to get a sound alert for new messages

September 14, 2006

So you want a sound to play when you get a new message? Start by going to Thunderbird > Preferences (or on Windows – Tools > Options).

On the general tab, towards the bottom, there’s a section that talks about “When new messages arrive; check the option that says “Play a sound”.

Of course, you’ll want to specify which sound you want to play, so you’ll need to hit that “Advanced” button also. This will take you to the Advanced Sound Options screen.


Here, you can either:

a) have it play a system sound (which depends on what type of operating system you’re running, Windows or Mac)


b) have it play a custom sound.

If you want to pick a custom sound, click the “Custom .wav file” radio button and then click the “Browse” button. This will allow to poke through your hard drive to find the file. Keep in mind, the file has to be a .wav file though, no MP3’s. You can change the file type inside iTunes, but that’s another tutorial!

Once you’ve found the sound you want, click on it and click the “Open” button. The name of the file will appear in that text box under “Custom .wav File”. You can preview the sound, if you wish, by hitting the “Preview Sound” button. That should play the sound that will play when you receive a new message.

Interface with boxes

Additional thoughts:

Unfortunately, Thunderbird on the Mac has a minor bug that doesn’t allow it to control what sound it played when new messages arrive. So, the way to get around this is to setup the same sound in Apple’s Mail program, then set it up in Thunderbird too. Here’s the instructions for that:

Open Mail (Hard Drive > Applications > Mail), and go to the preferences (Mail > Preferences). As you can see by the pic to the left, the third drop menu from the top allows you to pick a sound. Click on that drop menu and then pick “New Mail Sound”. This will open a Finder window and allow you to pick a sound file, again only .wav files. Find it and hit the “Open” button. The file will show up in this “New Mail Sound” list and you can choose it here.

Once you’ve set that sound in Mail, go back to Thunderbird and change the sound, just like above.