Add-on Recommendations

One of the great advantages of Thunderbird is that it has a wide variety of add-ons that you can install, enhancing the usefulness of the software. You may want to visit to see other add-ons that might be helpful to you. We include a few of our recommendations here. To find any of these add-ons, visit the site above and search for the add-on by name. Instructions for installing add-ons are given below.

Contacts Sidebar

Recommended? Yes!

The Contacts Sidebar is a neat little tool that gives you quick access to your contacts. You can view, add, and delete contacts right from the main window in Thunderbird. This saves you the trouble of opening the “Address Book” every time you want to look at your contacts.

The Contacts Sidebar also allows you to write to a specific contact by right clicking on their name and choosing “Write.” You can select multiple recipients for the email by pressing the Ctrl key and clicking on multiple contacts before right-clicking and choosing “Write.”

The only drawback of Contacts Sidebar is that it takes up space. If you have a lot of folders in Thunderbird, it might crowd the left side of your main window.

Language Support

Recommended? Maybe

Thunderbird allows you to download and install foreign language dictionaries so that you can spell-check in other languages. If your correspondence crosses language boundaries, this might be a very attractive feature of Thunderbird.

The dictionaries should work for all Mozilla products, so you could load the same dictionary into Firefox if you wanted to.

Thunderbird also has other lanuage support, including tools for using many dictionaries, a Japanese pop-up translator, and tools for inputing non-English letters into Firefox. Look around on the Thunderbird add-on site to find the tools that work for you.


Recommended? Maybe

Lightning is a calendar and task list add-on by Mozilla. You may like the Lightning calendar a lot, but some reviewers have mixed feelings. Development cycles are slow, so don’t expect bug fixes quickly. Don’t use the Lightning task list for anything—it is not TRO-capable and can activate a few bugs.

If you use Lightning as your calendar, be sure to select it in your online training Dashboard.


Recommended? Maybe

This add-on gives you a lot of powerful keyboard shortcuts. The purpose is to give users the functionality they enjoyed in Eudora. If this means nothing to you, installing this add-on might not be very useful.


Recommended? No

We are proud to say that you have graduated beyond needing this add-on. ReminderFox is a reminder system for to-dos and important events. Since you have a task list and calendar that will fill this function, you don’t need the add-on. In fact, the add-on would be redundant, like an additional collection point. Don’t install it.


Recommended? Maybe

Thunderbird isn’t very pretty when you first install it. If that bothers you, you can download and install a “Theme” for Thunderbird. The theme will change the colors, look, and feel of Thunderbird. Generally, themes add nothing to the usability of the program, but they can make opening it less painful if you have an artistic eye.

However, some of the themes you can download are specifically designed for people with vision problems. If you have trouble seeing or need a high-contrast environment, take a look at some of their themes.

Installing Add-ons

Once you have selected a add-on or theme to install, you will want to download it and save it to a folder. Make sure that you know where you saved the file.

  1. Open Thunderbird.
  2. Go to Tools > Add-ons.
  3. Click the Install… button (lower-left corner).
  4. Browse to the file where you saved the add-on.
  5. Select the add-on (extension .xpi) and click Open.
  6. Thunderbird will install the add-on.
  7. Before the add-on will be active, you may have to restart Thunderbird.