15 ThunderBird Addons for Better Organization and Efficiency

Mozilla’s Thunderbird is a popular email application that is used by many freelancers and designers. Like Firefox, one of the great things about Thunderbird is the ability to extend it with a wide range of add-ons that are available. In this post we’ll highlight 15 that are likely to be appreciated by designers and developers who are looking to improve their efficiency.


Keeping your inbox organized can be a major challenge when you’re getting tons of email every day, but it’s important for making the most efficient use of your time and for staying on top of things. QuickFolders allows you to set tabs for your most important folders, making it quicker and easier to manage.

This extension adds an extra toolbar to Thunderbird. When you drag a mail folder to it, you get a (rename-able) shortcut to that mail folder. This supports full drag and drop, like the corresponding folder in the folder tree – You can drag messages on it to move/copy them to the folder, and access the bookmarked folders through keyboard shortcuts. This is handy when you have a large tree of folders for clients or projects, but use only a few of them at the same time.


Sometimes as you are going back through your inbox it is difficult to remember the circumstances or details surrounding a particular message. XNote can help by allowing you to post notes to yourself for specific messages.

Persistent sticky notes for Thunderbird associated to mails. XNote allows you to create a note for each mail. Thus, you can add for example the phone number of that contact or when you have to contact the sender back.


Lightning enhances Thunderbird by adding multiple features that allow you to manage your schedule. There is also a related experimental add-on, Remember the Milk Provider, that allows you to manage your Remember the Milk tasklists through Lightning.

Upgrade Thunderbird to a full Personal Information Manager with Lightning. It allows you to manage your daily schedule (events and tasks) directly within Thunderbird.

Provider for Google Calendar

Provider for Google works with the Lightning add-on to integrate with a Google Calendar.

This extension allows Sunbird and Lightning to read and write events to a Google Calendar.


Designers typically get a lot of emails that contain links to various websites. With Thunderbrowse you can click on links and view that right from ThrunderBird rather than going to a browser.

ThunderBrowse adds browsing functions to Thunderbird, allowing you to be able to view websites without having to open another application. You can easily save time, space, and memory usage by opening up the website within Thunderbird. ThunderBrowse is easy to use and unobtrusive.

Tag Toolbar

One way to help keep your inbox organized is the use of tags. With Tag Toolbar you can tag your messages and manage them from a handy toolbar within Thunderbird.

This extension adds new toolbar and display the tags you have created as toggle buttons; the added toolbar is called “Tag Toolbar” and the space for showing tags is called “Tag Bar”. You can attach/remove tags to/from the selected messages. The tag buttons’ states are changed automatically, so you can easily know what tags are attached to the message. Moreover, you can filter the tags to be displayed by categorizing tags. You can create and change category from the listbox on Tag Bar.


eMarks is another add-on that aims to help you organize your inbox, this time with the ability to bookmark your messages.

Do you have an email that will need to revisit/attend later on ? Would you like to keep it handy and get it with a simple click ? Bookmark your important emails with the eMarks addon.

Contacts Sidebar

Between potential clients, current clients, co-works, friends, other designers, you’re probably in touch with a lot of people on any given day. Contacts Sidebar makes it easier to deal with your address book.

Contacts Sidebar displays all available address books in a sidebar in the 3-pane-window of Thunderbird. It makes all your contacts easy accessible from the main window to quickly write messages, or to edit the properties of a contact card. There a quite some features in the Contacts Sidebar that you can change to match personal preference.

Auto Zip Attachments

Most designers frequently send emails with attachments. This plugin (Windows only) will compress your attachments to a zip file from with ThundeBird.

Auto Zip Attachments allows you to easily compress (zip) attachments. A new button named “AutoZip” is added to the compose toolbar. Upon pressing the button all the attachments would be compressed into a single file. Then the attachments are replaced with the zipped file.


While the previous add-on will help with sending attachments, AttachmentExtractor will make it easier if you’re receiving a lot of emails with attachments. You can quickly and easily unzip and manage the attachments.

Extracts all attachments from selected messages and then can delete, detach or mark-read. Just select the messages containing the attachments you want to extract and select ‘Extract Attachments’ and this extension does the rest. No more having to go through each message to extract the attachments!

Attachment Sizes

Attachment Sizes simply allows you to see the size of any attachment without leaving ThunderBird.

Ability to see attachment sizes
a) in the attachment box on messages
b) in the attachment box on composes


If you are a productivity junkie you no doubt prefer to maximize efficiency by using keyboard shortcuts. Nostalgy gives you control over keyboard shortcuts.

Adds keyboard shortcuts to change folder, move/copy messages, with folder name auto-completion (using only the keyboard). Same for tags. Also includes a system of rules to suggest a target folder for saving messages; re-creates Eudora’s Alt-Click; facilitates navigation in the 3-pane window; makes it easy to change between To/Bcc/Cc fields in the composer; facilitates tag-oriented operations. All that with the keyboard only!


Do you find yourself typing responses to very similar messages all the time? Quicktext will allow you to create email templates for these types of messages. Additionally, it can be used to select from multiple signatures.

Quicktext is an extension for Thunderbird that lets you create templates that can be easily inserted into your own emails. Quicktext is the perfect tool to help you quickly answer routine, repetitive emails. Quicktext performs both simple and complex tasks. The program can insert different signatures into your emails depending on whom you are sending the email to.

Mail Redirect

With Mail Redirect you can bounce or redirect messages to another account without forwarding.

Allow to redirect (a.k.a. “bounce”) mail messages to other recipients. When redirecting email, body and headers are leaved untouched, so fields like Received:, From:, To: in redirected message are the same as in original one.

Clean Subject

Clean Subject will strip subject prefixes in messages.

The extension “Clean Subject” for Thunderbird cleans the subject of an e-mail from multiple occurrences of subject pre- and postfixes such as (“Re: Re-2: Re: Re-4:”) or similar variants that other clients (Outlook for example) add as reply or forward prefix. The prefixes that should be erased from the subject can be configured in the extensions preferences. Regular expressions are supported for each prefix. Moreover it is possible to define the standard pre- and postfix that Thunderbird should insert when replying or forwarding an email. “Clean Subject” can also clean the subject from notifications like “[SPAM]” or “****SPAM****”.

For more helpful resources see:

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design, a popular design blog.
  1. November 17, 2009

    thank for this great addons

  2. November 17, 2009

    Nice list…I will definitely be trying some of these add-ons. Thanks.

  3. November 18, 2009

    Thank you for this helpful list!
    QuickFolders looks like a very useful Addon to me.

    Best regards,

  4. November 18, 2009

    Nice list, lightning and Google calendar support sounds promising. I didn’t know for those two!

  5. November 18, 2009

    @janko already use it and it works nicely 😀

  6. November 19, 2009

    Thanks very useful.

    Best wishes.

  7. November 19, 2009

    Indeed a powerful list of resources, helpful for everyday needings!
    Thanks =)

  8. November 20, 2009

    Very useful list but what is still missing is a good archival system. I’d like messages XX days old to go to an archival file without any user intervention.

  9. November 21, 2009

    Great list, although I think you can add more tools here. XNote is very cool and easy to work with and Contacts Sidebar is the answer to address book woes

    Keep the good stuff coming.

  10. Thunderbird user
    November 23, 2009

    Nice list. Thanks! 🙂

    I use many of the other extensions you’ve mentioned, but Tag Toolbar, Quick Folders and eMarks will come in really handy.

  11. July 21, 2010

    this is such a good collection of ad ons
    Vaseem Ansari

  12. August 4, 2010

    I use many of the other extensions you’ve mentioned

  13. May 25, 2011

    Thanks for posting these. I already used some but have chose another three useful ones form this list.

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