South Central logo SCLS Home

What's New with Thunderbird 10


First time launch of Thunderbird 10x:

  1. Click "Next" through a set of "Gee Whiz" screens. Accept all of the defaults.
  2. Click "Close" on the 'final' screen.
  3. If you have any "Add-ons", you'll be prompted to reactivate them by placing an check mark in the "Keep" column.

Adjusting the font size and type:

This upgrade is know to inconsistently modify your default font type and size. Should that happen to you, here's how to change it to your liking:

  1. From the "Tools" menu, select "Options".
  2. Select "Display from the menu bar.
  3. The "Formatting" tab contains a "Fonts" section.
  4. Modify the "Default font" and size here.
  5. Click the "OK" button when done.
  6. Test what this looks like by sending yourself an email. Modifiy as needed.

Differences and different experiences with Thunderbird 10x:

This section will give a quick listing of some of the main differences. Read the rest of this document for a brief but further elaboration on each of these.

  1. Tabs (for reading email)
  2. Where'd my Inbox go?
  3. Attachments
  4. Text formatting icons
  5. Where did things move?
  6. Obscured incoming emails (depending on how you've personalized Thunderbird)


  1. Tabs (for reading email):

    1. Reading email: Thunderbird 10x works in a way similar to Firefox when reading an email. If you double click an email, it will turn into a tabbed instance within Thunderbird. Click another email and you will get another tabbed instance.

    2. Thunderbird 10 Tabs

    3. Writing email: Thunderbird 10x works similarly to the previous version of Thunderbird when composing emails. If you click on "Write", a "Write" screen will appear. If you're simultaneously composing multiple emails, they will all sit in your Windows task bar in the lower part of the screen.

    Thunderbird 10 Taskbar

  2. Where'd my Inbox go?

    Thunderbird 10x still has an Inbox. It will always be available either directly or indirectly by going to the left-most tab.

    Depending upon your email habits, the Inbox can 'disappear' because of either too many tabbed instances or accessing email from a folder.

    Thunderbird 10 Inbox Tab

    1. Too many tabbed instances: If you have too many emails open (as tabs), the Inbox will scroll off the screen to the left. When scrolling occurs, a left-pointing arrow will appear. To regain access to the Inbox, click on the left-pointing arrow until the Inbox appears.

      Thunderbird 10 Inbox off to the left

    2. Accessing Email from a folder: If you open an email that's contained in a folder, the left most tab takes on the name of the folder. To regain access to the Inbox, click on the left-most tab (it will have the folder name). that will bring up your email structure. The Inbox will be near the top.

      Thunderbird 10 Email folder open

  3. Attachments

    1. Sending attachments: The new Thunderbird has two ways to send attachments:
      1. Similar to the previous version, you can click on the paperclip icon in the tool bar
      2. Or, in the body of the message, you can type the word "attach" and an "Add attachment" popup window will occur in the bottom of your email.

      Thunderbird 10 Add Attachment Popup
    2. Receiving attachments:
    3. In the previous version of Thunderbird, attachments were conspicuously placed in the bottom of the email. In the new Thunderbird, attachments are 'veiled' behind a '+' sign

      Thunderbird 10 Attachment indicator

    4. Reading attachments: You can read an attachment in one of two ways:
      1. Click on the '+' symbol associated with attachment and double click on the attachment to open it.
      2. Click on the "Save" button to the far right of the '+' symbol, save the document and then launch it.

    5. Saving attachments: You can save the attachment in two ways: one is easier than the other.
      • Easiest way: Click on the "Save" button to the far right of the '+' symbol. The default save location is your "Desktop". Navigate to where you want to save the document and click "Save".
      • Less easy way: Click on the '+' symbol associated with attachment and double click on the attachment to open it. The default save location is a "Temp" folder which will not actually save in this location. Select "Save As". Navigate to where you want to save the document and click "Save".
  4. Text formatting icons
    The new icons for text formatting are less than intuitive. Until you get used to the new design, your best bet is to hover your mouse over an icon until a description balloon pops out to describe the function associated with that icon.

    Old icons: Thunderbird Old formatting icons

    New icons: Thunderbird 10 New formatting icons

  5. Where did things move?
    The major menu change is that email handling beame context sensitive. In other words, by default you'll only be able to select "Reply", "Forward", "Junk" and "Delete" after the email is opened.

    Old Menu:
    Thunderbird Old menu

    New Menu:
    Thunderbird 10 New menu

    Email handling options once an email is opened in the new Thunderbird:
    Thunderbird 10 Email handling icons

  6. Incoming emails may be obscured depending on how you've personalized Thunderbird:
    This section ONLY applies to people who have Thunderbird configured as follows:
    1. The "preview email" window is disabled.
    2. Email is sorted by date and the newest emails are at the bottom of the list, not the top.

    If points "a" and "b" do not apply to your configuration, you can skip this section.

    Workaround: After you check for mail, use your mouse to scroll the vertical scroll bar full down to the bottom of the screen. Any newly received emails that are "hidden" will be revealed.