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7 Great New Features Coming To Thunderbird 102

Welcome back to the Thunderbird blog! We’re really energized about our major 2022 release and cannot wait to put it in your hands. Thunderbird 102 includes several major new features for our global community of users, and we’re confident you’ll love them. So grab your favorite beverage, and let’s highlight seven features from Thunderbird 102 we’re most excited about.

Before we jump in, it’s worth mentioning that we’ve been rapidly expanding our team in order to power up your productivity and improve your favorite email client. From major milestones like a completely modernized UI/UX in next year’s Thunderbird 114 (codenamed “Supernova”) to smaller touches like new iconography, elegant new address book functionality, and an Import/Export wizard, all of it happens for you and because of you. Thunderbird not only survives but thrives thanks to your generous donations. Every amount, large or small, makes a difference. Please consider donating what you can, and know that we sincerely appreciate your support!

OK! Here's an overview of the new features in Thunderbird 102. Stay tuned to our blog for in-depth updates and deeper dives leading up to the late June release.

#1: The New Address Book In Thunderbird 102

We’ve teased a new address book in the past, and it’s finally coming in Thunderbird 102. Not only does the refreshed design make it easier to navigate and interact with your contacts, but it also boasts new features to help you better understand who you’re communicating with.

Complete address book entry in Thunderbird 102
Address Book gets a new look and enhanced functionality in Thunderbird 102

The new Address Book has compatibility with vCard specs, the defacto standard for saving contacts. If your app (like Google Contacts) or device (iPhone, Android) can export existing contacts into vCard format, Thunderbird can import them. And as you can see from the above screenshot, each contact card acts as a launchpad for messaging, email, or event creation involving that contact.

We’re also adding several more fields to each contact entry, and they’re displayed in a much better, clearer way than before.

Your contacts are getting a serious upgrade in Thunderbird 102! There’s so much more to share on this front, so please watch this blog for a standalone deep-dive on the new Address Book in the near future.

#2: The Spaces Toolbar

One of the underlying themes of Thunderbird 102 is making the software easier to use, with smarter visual cues that can enhance your productivity. The new Spaces Toolbar is an easy, convenient way to move between all the different activities in the application. Such as managing your email, working with contacts via that awesome new address book, using the calendar and tasks functionality, chat, and even add-ons!

The Spaces Toolbar, on the left-hand side of Thunderbird
The Spaces Toolbar, on the left-hand side of Thunderbird

If you want to save screen real estate, the Spaces Toolbar can be dismissed, and you can instead navigate the different activities Thunderbird offers with the new pinned Spaces tab. (Pictured to the left of the tabs at the top)

Pinned spaces tab showing the different activities, to the left of the tabs.
Pinned Spaces Tab

#3: Link Preview Cards

Want to share a link with your friends or your colleagues, but do it with a bit more elegance? Our new Link Preview Cards do exactly that. When you paste a link into the compose window, we’ll ask you (via a tooltip you can turn off) if you’d like to display a rich preview of the link. It’s a great way for your recipient to see at a glance what they’re clicking out to, and a nice way for your emails to have a bit more polish if desired!

Embedded Link Previews in Thunderbird 102
Embedded Link Previews in Thunderbird 102

#4: Account Setup Hub In Thunderbird 102

In past releases, we have improved first-time account setup. When setting up an email, autodiscovery of calendars and address books works really well! But managing accounts and setting up additional accounts beyond your initial setup has lagged behind. We are updating that experience in Thunderbird 102.

Want to use Thunderbird without an email account? We know you exist, and we’re making this much easier for you! After installing the software, from now on you’ll be taken to the below account hub instead of being forced to set up a new mail account. You’re free to configure Thunderbird in the order you choose, and only the elements you choose.

New Account Setup Hub in Thunderbird 102
New Account Setup Hub in Thunderbird 102

#5: Import/Export Wizard

And that’s a perfect segue into the brand new Import and Export tool. Moving accounts and data in and out of Thunderbird should be a breeze! Until now, you’ve had to use add-ons for this, but we’re excited to share that this is now core functionality with Thunderbird 102.

A step-by-step wizard will provide a guided experience for importing all that data that’s important to you. Moving from Outlook, SeaMonkey, or another Thunderbird installation will be easier than ever.

A screenshot from the new Import/Export wizard
A screenshot from the new Import/Export wizard

We’ve also taken extra precautions to ensure that no data is accidentally duplicated in your profile after an import. To that end, none of the actions you choose are executed until the very last step in the process. As with the new Address Book, watch for a deeper dive into the new Import/Export tool in a future blog post.

#6: Matrix Chat Support

We obviously love open source, which is one of the reasons why we’ve added support for the popular, decentralized chat protocol Matrix into Thunderbird 102. Those of you enjoying the Beta version know it’s been an option since version 91, but it will finally be usable out-of-the-box in this new release. We’re going to continuously develop updates to the Matrix experience, and we welcome your feedback.

#7: Message Header Redesign

Another UX/Visual update can be seen in the redesign of the all-important message header. The refreshed design better highlights important info, making it more responsive and easier for you to navigate.

Redesigned message header in Thunderbird 102
Redesigned message header in Thunderbird 102

All of these improvements are gradual but confident steps toward the major release of Thunderbird 114 “Supernova” in 2023, which is set to deliver a completely modernized overhaul to the Thunderbird interface.

Thunderbird 102 Availability?

We think you’re going to love this release and can’t wait for you to try it!

Interested in experiencing Thunderbird 102 early? It should be available in our Beta channel by the end of May 2022. We encourage you to try it! We’ve entered “feature freeze” for version 102, and are focusing on polishing it up now. That means your Beta experience should be quite stable.

For everyone who’s enjoying the Stable version, you can expect it by the end of June 2022.

Thunderbird is the leading open-source, cross-platform email and calendaring client, free for business and personal use. We want it to stay secure and become even better. A donation will allow us to hire developers, pay for infrastructure, expand our userbase, and continue to improve.

Click here to make a donation

28 responses

Andrew Kantor wrote on

I’m looking forward to these and all the improvements you folks will undoubtedly come up with to make a great product greater. I hope, though, that you keep in mind how important customization is — not just to the theme, but via addons and about:config.

I obviously can’t speak for everyone, but I can say that being able to tweak Thunderbird to my liking is my favorite feature. So much software these days tries to tell me what’s important … and is usually wrong. (Looking at you, Microsoft Office.) Never forget the geekier users who love Thunderbird!

Ryan Sipes wrote on

Hey Andrew,

We just completed a few conversations about our core values and “customization” is among them. I know that our team very much wants to ensure a high degree of customization, and in our discussions about the message header and Spaces Toolbar, the ability to customize has been a constant topic.

TL;DR: There are people on the team who think customization is very important and want to maintain it as a core part of Thunderbird.

Miguel Useche wrote on

Nice features! I love them all.

I like the support to matrix, now I don’t need to have an extra tab in my browser to be connected to matrix sites.

Larry Archer wrote on

What I’ve read about the new Thunderbird is exciting, it’s hard to make a “screw” up with these new features….. well done.. When will I get mine?

Jason Evangelho wrote on

Hi Larry, if you’re on the Beta version, you should see these features start appearing near the end of May.
Stable users will get version 102 at the end of June. Not long now!

john wrote on

Wow!!!

Great news!!!

And thinking that Thunderbird was an almost dead project (what a shame)!!!

Glad to see it back and kicking!!!

Just one question: is there a place where we can follow the Thunderbird 114 Supernova UI/UX modernization progress???

tks

Jason Evangelho wrote on

We’re very active now on both Twitter (https://twitter.com/mozthunderbird) and Mastodon (https://mastodon.online/@thunderbird>). And we intend to post regular reports here on the blog!

Thunderbird 102 to include an improved Import Tool - gHacks Tech News wrote on

[…] least for some data imports. The team highlighted the new import feature in a new blog post on the official site. The new feature was revealed in late March on Twitter by a development team member, but the blog […]

John wrote on

Awesome. Will keep an eye on them (blog and Mastodon)

just an idea: It would be great to have a non-beta rapid-release channel (like in FF) instead of having just this LTS channel. I love new features, but i’m not very fan of installing beta versions

Ryan Sipes wrote on

Hey John,

I actually agree with your sentiment. The team is actively discussing a monthly release channel, like FF has, but we still have a lot to figure out. Fortunately, our Beta is pretty darn sacred – so there shouldn’t be too many dragons there. But I understand the desire to keep your communication on a stable piece of software.

Maybe I’ll have more to say on this front, once we have concluded looking into what it takes to release more frequently.

Ryan

Keith plunske wrote on

I used Thunderbird for years and I’m getting older and I needed the font size to be increased to see my mail in the inbox and I found it very difficult and had to give up switch back to Gmail. What we need is an easy way to increase the font size wherever we need it to be again especially to see our mail in the inbox.

Ryan Sipes wrote on

We are working on this. Hope to include an update in 102 that makes font modification of the whole application better.

Ryan Sipes wrote on

Actually, I have an update right after I posted this. This improvement just landed on Thunderbird Daily today, so expect to see this in the 102 release.

SHIRLEY wrote on

I use TB email for my work that was set up over 10 yrs ago. And still hoping and waiting if there’s going to have an OUT-OF-THE-OFFICE reply. So is that something to be looking forward to any time soon/future?

Please do not say I have to set up under the templates because it kinda screw up my email at all.

Thanks,
Shirley

Jason Evangelho wrote on

Hi Shirley! It’s probably best to set up an Out of Office response via your webmail account. Having this one and active 24/7 during your absence would require the client to remain loaded and active — which could represent a security risk for you.

Tim wrote on

Looking forward to all these awesome improvements, which I look forward to using!

On another note, I TRULY want to get off of the Beta version and onto the stable version of TB, which I have found difficult/impossible to accomplish. Currently, I’m “stuck” on 95.0 beta and am hanging with that version.

My plan is to wait until a stable version is released that’s higher than 95, and “leapfrog” up to that stable version (102). I really hope that works because I like TB, but don’t want to be on the beta version any longer.

Here’s my vote that you guys make changing from the beta version/channel to the stable version of TB much easier in the near future. I haven’t been able to figure out how to do it (other than “wait for the stable version to be a higher number than the beta version.”)

Thank you for all the awesome work!

Jason Evangelho wrote on

Hey Tim, I know this is a pretty limited set of conditions, but does this help at all? https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/thunderbird-beta#w_how-do-i-get-from-a-beta-version-back-to-a-release-version

Istvan Tetenyi wrote on

Hi,

These might be novice questions.

But before that I congratulate you that the Thunderbird team got so far in development over the years.

Wish no 1:
I wish threads can be much more similar to Gmail’s.
Meaning: thread’s date is the latest message in the thread. And the thread is linked from newest to oldest.

Wish no 2:
Could we have a permanent comment field to messages/threads

Wish no 3:
Could Thunderbird learn contacts from mail archive? I have mails over seven years from an outlook/exchange server. When I reach the outlook server and download (IMAP) the messages, thunderbird does not automatically learn the e-mail addresses.

You can reach me on my e-maill address.

Thanks and congratulations.

Ryan Sipes wrote on

Hey Istvan!

Thanks for the comment!

In regards to wish no 1, we have planned updates to the thread behavior for 114 that I think will improve this for you! The behavior may not turn out to be exactly the same, but we are looking hard at how to improve threads to make them the most useful they can be.

In regards to wish no 2 – you want an ability to take notes on messages and threads that are visible only to you? If that’s the case, I also want this and we are currently discussing how to do it.

Finally, wish no 3 – that is a feature that would be really great, even if it is optional. I’ll write that one down and talk about it with the team!

Julian wrote on

Good news. Like many I was afraid of TB losing internal support and stagnating, but that obviously isn’t the case, so congratulations on achievements to date and thank you all for your dedication and hard work.

Rodrigo wrote on

Hi Thunderbird Team,

As user of screenreader software for blind (JAWS) I appreciated very much that up to TB 91 I could navigate to my contacts in the address book by pressing the first letter. In the current beta version 101 that does not seeam to be possible any more. I would be happ if this navigation feature would be possible in the final version.
By the way, please do also describe the use of all new features without mouse (key strokes of the normal keyboard only)!

I am looking forward being able to use the new version efficiently.

Rodrigo

István Tétényi wrote on

Many thanks! 🙂

Thunderbird By The Numbers: Our 2021 Financial Report wrote on

[…] 7 Great New Features Coming To Thunderbird 102 […]

Thunderbird for my phone wrote on

I look for Thunderbird for my phone

Jason Evangelho wrote on

We’re working on something, and will have news to share in the next 2 or 3 weeks. Please watch this blog for the details.

Frances Heaton wrote on

Thanks very much for the update. Have been using Thunderbird for many years, and it works perfectly. Glad to read about all the new features being created, along with improving software.

Wondering whether it might be possible to enable users to send an email without needing to add a subject? You always get the warning message saying no subject stated, which is frustrating. Many users woud appreciate this flexibity.

Jason Evangelho wrote on

Hi Frances! Thanks for the feature suggestion. I agree with you that maybe Thunderbird could display the warning once, and then offer a “Do not display this warning again” checkbox to disable further warnings. I’ll run it by the team.

Jason Evangelho wrote on

I went ahead and filed an enhancement request for this on Bugzilla: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1770906

Comments are closed.