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Extending Thunderbird's wings

By   |  August 23, 2006

All the focus these days seems to be on Firefox extensions. Web Developer this, FlashGot that. But what about Mozilla Thunderbird? Here are five super extensions for the open source email client. (All were used on Thunderbird

Thunderbird Header Tools enables you to change the header information on emails you’ve received. You can change the subject line, date, and even who sent it to you. Email hoaxers will enjoy the “edit full source” button, which enables you to change every detail of the email transmission. (The next political email scandal could be around the corner.) But for regular use, quickly editing ambiguous subject lines (such as “RE:FW:RE: It’s ready”) to something more meaningful can go a long way to reclaiming your inbox.

Thunderbird Status Msg History keeps a record of all Thunderbird status messages during a session. It gives you a good overview of what your email client has been doing in the background all day. The list isn’t saved, so you’ll need to copy them into a text file before exiting if you want to keep them for good times’ sake. The extension also provides more detailed information than the default status bar, including the download progress in “xx of yy Kb” format rather than a percentage bar. Only for Thunderbird 1.0+

The Remove Duplicate Messages extension, as the name suggests, removes duplicate messages from your mail folders. You’d be surprised to find messages that have either been downloaded twice, or are relics of a mail merging/restoring exercise gone wrong. This extension searches through your email folders and recommends duplicates for deletion.

NestedQuote Remover cleans up your replies by deleting the deep-nested quotes that often accompany long email threads. In most instances, it is only the last message you need to respond to, not the gazillion other messages that have been appended. The remover can be set to automatically remove nested quotes deeper than a user-defined level, or it can be manually activated via the context menu.

Finally, an extension for extension lovers. InstallTimeOut stops Mozilla Thunderbird and Firefox from displaying an irritating countdown every time you install an extension. A real time saver!


2 Responses to “Extending Thunderbird's wings”

  1. dpop
    August 24th, 2006 @ 12:00 am

    Sadly lacking still is an extension that allows one to delete all attachments from messages, or all attachments older than X days… Given that the useful attachments are almost always downloaded and stored elsewhere on the filesystem, this space-saving technique for mail is a must that Thunderbird STILL can\’t do on its own… Though 1.5 does allow removing attachments one message at a time (which is, basically, useless).

    If anything, I think this article makes it all too clear why there is no hubbub around the thunderbird extensions – there really aren\’t that many that are kept up to date/do something useful… But, in large part that\’s because the functionality of thunderbird usually \’eats\’ these extension features within a rev or two. Simply put, it\’s still a growing/immature application that lacks primary features. Once it\’s completely caught up to the likes of Outlook, Evolution, Apple Mail, etc on features, I think we\’ll see some truly interesting plugins sprout.

  2. Steve
    August 24th, 2006 @ 12:00 am

    I was really interested in the Thunderbird Header Tools, so I downloaded it. Too bad it hasn\’t been updated to work with version Installation won\’t complete, which is curious, considering that has been out for more than a month. It would have been helpful to see an article that covered the latest version of Thunderbird.

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