Thunderbird Email Review


While much of the world is transfixed by the Cloud, life as a desktop based email is still hugely popular with much of the community (including myself). There’s something that is reassuring about having access to all your emails on your personal computers without an internet connection.

For the most part if you had a PC, you ran Microsoft Office, but at around $200 Australian it isn’t cheap and really is not necessarily the ultimate email client anymore. It’s a great product but there is another Open Source program from the Mozilla organisation called Thunderbird. It’s a free program that really does everything a start-up, artist or small business might need.

Thunderbird Email Review:

Thunderbird’s awesome features:

  • The program is exceptionally responsive and seems to use less system resources (perfect if you’re a cash strapped artist using an old PC or a Netbook).
  • The Search Function is far superior to Outlook. You can separate your searches a lot easier so if you have a regular client where you’ve sent 300 emails back and forth over the previous 6 months it is quicker finding it in Thunderbird.
  • Calendar integration is a free add-on. Lightning is on par with Outlooks great Calendar. Download Lightning here. As you would expect the Calendar does everything you might require in a small business. You can tag events according to significance, whether its work, family, community and the length of the event.
  • Security is a big feature of Thunderbird
  • You can easy synch your email across your PCs and laptops by using Firefoxes in-built Synch Key
  • Can be used in parallel to Outlook (ie. another of your PCs is running Outlook)
  • It files things into Archive 2011, Archive 2010 which makes things realy easy to go through your emails. I find most people have far too many folders on their email clients with only a fraction being used properly. By having something as simple as:
    • INBOX
    • DRAFTS
    • SENT
    • TO DO
    • ARCHIVE 2011
    • ARCHIVE 2010

It is easy to keep on top of your ever expanding inbox.

  • Thunderbird has thousands of different ‘personas’ or skins so you can personalize your email easily.
  • Huge choice of add-ons from Mozilla.
  • Drag and Drop open emails. Much like modern browsers you can have 5 different windows open with tabs at the top so you can move between emails.
  • Can import contacts from other email clients such as Gmail or Outlook.
  • Tagging, colourising, and separating emails is easy as pie.
  • You can use multiple email addresses from the one screen.
  • The vast majority of SPAM won’t even make your inbox

Some Small Issues with Thunderbird:

  • Due to its security settings it is still often a little tricky to set up (though it is getting better)
  • Some of the formatting of text takes some getting used to. As an example it auto corrects some typing due to your history. This is not inherently a bad thing but it is very different from what most of us are use to.
  • Web addresses don’t natively turn into hyperlinks you need to highlight the text and then override it to link to a website.
  • It has a habit of auto-saving into drafts. So if you’re sending a long email that takes half an hour, you might end up with 3 drafts of the same email which can get confusing. If your computer crashes during this long email then at least you’ve got some recent back-ups though.

The Thunderbird Email Wrap-Up:

Overall Thunderbird is an amazing bit of software that will save you money, increase your productivity, and due to its customisation make your inbox look prettier. There is still a place for emails to be stored on your PC and Thunderbird is my pick of the bunch. If you are already using Outlook then the benefits maybe less discernible but if you have just bought a new PC then Thunderbirds for you.

Download Thunderbird from Mozilla’s Homepage

Small Business Ideas - 24 Nov 2011 - by Rob Jennings

About Rob Jennings

When he found himself embroiled in a conversation with someone talking about their ‘customer-centric core competencies’ he realised it was time to create a Web Design Agency that was less about self promoting buzz-words and more about people and giving them the tools to understand the web.

The idea behind We Push Buttons was to create an environment where business owners can learn about building their organisation, whether it be with an outstanding website, SEO or any other marketing ideas. Coming from the art industry and online retail background he knows first hand the needs of growing a business in a tough environment.