Inspired by Kevin’s post, I decided to give Thunderbird another chance this week. I’ve used it 90% of the time, only going back to Mail.app a few times – but I don’t think I’m ready to switch all the way yet. Unfortunately, there are several features in Thunderbird that I really like, and miss when I’m in Mail.app.
- A ‘Move to’ menu that actually works! It’s much easier for me to navigate a menu to move a message to a folder than it is to drag it to the folders drawer, wait for the folder to expand, hope they don’t scroll as I near the bottom of the area, etc.
- You can open up multiple folder views in different windows and work with them independently – sort of like using webmail in several browsers at once. This can be really handy if you’re doing a search through a folder and want the search to continue, but want to go grab another message while the search is going on.
- There is now an unread count in dock icon, and I like it better than the one in Mail.app. The unread count in the dock icon seems to clear when you bring Thunderbird to the front. I like that, I can leave things unread and and not have it nagging at me until another new message comes in.
- Clicking the dock icon opens the Inbox window if it isn’t already open – yay.
- Right now, it doesn’t read from the Apple Address Book. This is annoying, but having LaunchBar makes it manageable.
- When using a filter to mark an e-mail as read and move it to the trash, the unread count on the trash folder erroneously counts those messages until you click on the trash folder, then it clears.
- In the filters window, you can select multiple filters at once and hit Run Now, but only the first one runs.
- I really wish I could put a keyboard shortcut on a filter, or put it in the toolbar – at least a toolbar item to open the filters window. Anyone know of a hack to do this?
- When I select a collapsed thread and move or delete it, I want to move or delete the whole thread ( not just the first message in the thread). Mail.app does this right.
- I miss the ‘remove attachments’ feature in Mail.app.
- Like the rest of the Mozilla products, there is no tie in to Apple’s spelling service – no spell check as you go.
- Where are the message flags? I just started using this feature in Mail.app and SnapperMail.
- If you can run AppleScripts from within Thunderbird, I didn’t see how to do it – but I didn’t look hard.
- I wish I could hit letters while in the Move To menu to jump through the items like I can on Thunderbird on Windows.
- Nothing’s really ugly at this point, but I really wish I had control over the font size in the folder and message lists. Perhaps there is a hidden setting someone can tell me about? I couldn’t find it in the prefs.
The beauty of centralized data is that you can change your client at will. For example, with a web based application you can jump between browsers and not miss a beat. The same is true for IMAP e-mail. Changing e-mail clients isn’t even painful – all you need to do is enter your server information and bingo, there’s all your e-mail in your new mail client.
My bet is that the new Mail.app from Apple will fix some of the gripes I have with it, and I’ll find it marginally better than Thunderbird – but the bird is closing the gap nicely. On Windows, it’s already my #1 choice.
I use TB as my #1 choice on Windows. On Mac OS X, however, I’m still mainly using Mail.app. My biggest gripe with TB is that the custom ‘new mail’ sound doesn’t work properly under Mac OS X. There is already a bug fix in the works, but I don’t believe it’s blocking 1.0 and I’m not sure it has been merged into the tree. Trivial, yes. But it is stopping me from using Thunderbird exclusively.
Also, I… heard… from some guy that Mail.app in Mac OS X Tiger build 8A294 is really, really nice. Unfortunately I’m not at liberty to say who this alleged… ‘guy’ is…
Alex, you can change the font size in the message list, but not through the preferences window. You need to create a file called userChrome.css in the ~/Library/Thunderbird/(profilename)/xxxxxx.slt/chrome folder. Put this rule inside and tweak as necessary. Restart Tbird for the setting to be applied.
Oh, adjust the font size in the folder pane with a css rule for #folderTree
Excellent, I figured there was a way. Thanks Kevin.
An absolutely invaluable extension for moving messages is QuickFile.
Ok, I installed it… what does it do?
Ah, it started working now. Wonder what I did. 🙂
So then I have to go upgrade to 1.0rc1 and QuickFile isn’t compatible… blast. 🙁
That’s the most frustrating parts of both FF and Thunderbird. When I upgraded just from FF 1.0PR1 to 1.0 I had to upgrade all of my extensions.
Fortunately the quickfile developer is pretty responsive. Have you dropped him a note?
Have now. 🙂
I try to keep the compatibility options in the install file for Quick File pretty restrictive to try and avoid people managing to install a non-functioning combination. That said, the 0.14 release is set for 0.8-1.0+ so it should work until a 1.1 release of TB. Lets hope they don’t break/change any of the interfaces during the RC -> Release patching.
Thanks Paul, it’s a fantastic extension!
What annoys me the most is the lack of Services. Yes, this bug is pretty old – 253283 in bugzilla. I sure hope it’s one of the first bugs to get fixed after 1.0 is released.
Keyboard Shortcuts on Mac OS X
One of my complaints in my Thunderbird Notes was the inability to access certain commands from the keyboard. While downloading Thunderbird 1.0 from VersionTracker, I noticed this in the comments:
In OS X 10.3, go to your Keyboard/Mouse Preference Pa…
Re: Collapsed thread behavior
Please saunter over to
And vote for that bug. I have been begging for Mail.app/Outlook Express style handling of collaped trheads for a LONG time.
Are there any ThunderBird extensions that treat actions related to a (set of) marked, collapsed thread(s) as applying to the whole thread and not just the top message?
Hi! I’ve switched from Mail.app to Thunderbird.
What I miss is the feature that gives me the chance to select part of an e-mail and hit ‘reply’ in Mail.app
I tryed QuickQuote extension in the Thunderbird but is not as good as in the Mail.app
Do you know any extension that permits me that feature ?
I’m wrestling with the change from Safari/Mail/Calendar to Firefox/Thunderbird/Sunbird, which I have replacing Evolution on my Linux machines. With a room full of workstations accessing different mail servers, I need distinctive, long running sound files, and the bouncing dock icon for the Mac. Also need “read receipt request” not provided by Mail. Any updates, as I can live with other development issues?
To make quickfile-0.15 run under Thunderbird 1.1:
(a) unzip the file (the .xpi is just a zipfile)
(b) edit install.rdf
(c) change maxVersion to 1.1
It worked for me, haven’t done extensive testing but I can use it.
[…] up with Mail.app that I tried switching to Thunderbird. The switch didn’t last too long, but I was told about QuickFile, an extension for Thunderbird. Even though it didn’t do everything I wanted, […]
I def. like the idea of the fox/bird-ensemble. but it still lacks “functionallity” – compared to progs like “the bat”. that one is unable to organize mail folders personally is a pain in the … – espacially when work (german: arbeit) is above more important stuff (personal, etc…).
also the prob. that, when you selected more than one mail, the “preview” turns “blank”. when u are organizing your folders and buissily moving mails from one to another, that bothers me, because i have to know exactly, what mails i`m going to move. if it would show the last activated, one could work through ones mail, while scanning them via preview…
but, it still is a work in progress and as such…