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Getting Started With The Main Window Of Thunderbird 115 “Supernova”

Thunderbird 115 “Supernova” has been released! During the next several weeks, you should begin to see your installation of Thunderbird 102 automatically update to Thunderbird 115. Whether you’re upgrading or coming in as a brand new user, now is the perfect time to introduce you to the various elements of the software. This guide will introduce you to the main window of Thunderbird (in its Classic layout and new “Vertical Cards” layout), get you familiar with the terminology, and help you navigate Thunderbird like a pro!

(If you enjoy keyboard navigation, we encourage you to learn the many keyboard shortcuts available in the main window to help you quickly perform functions, such as message actions and navigation, searching, and calendar actions.)

So, let’s take a tour around the various sections of your main Thunderbird window.

Classic View Layout with “Table” View

The following screenshot shows the Classic View Layout with Table View. This is still the default layout for new Thunderbird installs, and it’s what you’re probably used to if you’ve used Thunderbird 102 or older versions.

Here are the 11 main components of the user interface when using the main window:

The main window of Thunderbird 115, presented in classic Table view. The screenshot shows numbered arrows indicating the various components of the user interface such as Folder Pane, Spaces Toolbar, Quick Filter Bar, Message List Pane, and more.

1. Spaces Toolbar

Since version 102, Thunderbird has had a central Spaces Toolbar for fast and easy access to your most important activities. Click on the buttons to move between the various “Spaces”: Mail, Address Book, Calendar, Tasks, Chat, and your add-ons. At the bottom of the Spaces Toolbar, there is a button for hiding the Spaces Toolbar. Above this is a button to change the application Settings.

2. Unified Toolbar

There is a new “Unified Toolbar” on top of the Tab Bar, which is fully screenreader and keyboard accessible. This toolbar is used for all “Spaces” of the Spaces Toolbar, which are Mail, Address Book, Calendar, Tasks, Chat, and Settings.

3. Tab Bar

In Thunderbird 115, the Tab Bar is only displayed if you have two or more tabs. For example, if you have a Mail tab and a Calendar Tab, the Tab Bar is visible. If you just have one tab like the Mail tab, the Tab Bar automatically disappears.

4. Message List Header

The Message List Header is new in Thunderbird 115. It shows the current folder name, number of messages, “Quick Filter”, and “Message list display options” icon tb115-display-options-icon-offical-from-micah .

5. Folder Pane

The Folder Pane is where your accounts and folders will appear. It will show the account name(s) specified in the account settings window, with the default account first, and any additional accounts listed in the order you added them. (Want to rearrange them? Read this!)

Within each account, special folders (Inbox, Sent, Trash) will be listed first with unique icons, while other folders will appear in alphabetical order.

Sub-folders will appear underneath the parent folder. To expand or collapse an account or parent folder, click on the arrow beside the account or parent folder, or double click on the name.

TIP: You can choose your preferred view(s) of the Folder Pane.

6. Quick Filter Bar

The Quick Filter Bar helps you sort your message list based on specific criteria. See Quick Filter Bar for more details and help.

7. Message List Pane

The Message List Pane contains the list of messages in the selected folder, including details like the date/time, subject, sender, and more. To pick which details are displayed, and how wide each column is, see this Message List Columns article.

8. Message Header Pane

The Message Header Pane will show you information about the selected message, such as the From, To, and Subject headers, as well as the date/time of the message.

Tip: Clicking “More” at the top of the Message Header Pane, then “Customize” will let you change this area’s appearance and options.

9. Message Pane

The Message Pane is where you see the content of the selected message. To show/hide the Message Pane, press F8.

10. Today Pane

The Today Pane will display information from your calendar, such as any events scheduled for today, tomorrow, and upcoming events within the next 5 days. Click on the arrows at the top of the Today Pane to switch to the Events and Tasks view, which will include your calendar tasks as well as events, or the Tasks view which will only include your calendar tasks, not events. To hide the Today Pane, click on the X beside the arrows. To bring it back, click on Today Pane in the Status Bar. You can also show/hide the Today Pane, by pressing F11.

11. Status Bar

Here’s a breakdown of the Status Bar from left to right:

New Vertical View Layout with “Cards” View

In this example we’ll show you the main Thunderbird window with “the Supernova look.” That’s when the Vertical layout is activated in Thunderbird 115, along with the new “Cards” view.

Card view (one of the cards is highlighted in red, see #11), is a multi-line, non-column alternative view of the message list. Currently there is a two line “card” for each message in the Message List Pane (our plan is to eventually expand this to 3 or 4 customizable lines). The first line has the sender’s display name and time, and the second line displays the subject.

Here’s what it looks like, and how to enable it:

The main window of Thunderbird 115, presented in the new "Cards" view. The screenshot shows numbered arrows indicating the various components of the user interface such as Folder Pane, Spaces Toolbar, Quick Filter Bar, Message List Pane, and more.

To see this view:

  1. Select “Vertical View” as follows: click ≡ > Layout > Vertical View.
  2. Select “Card View”: (to the right of Quick Filter), click on the “Message list display options” icon tb115-display-options-icon-offical-from-micah > Cards View.

This configuration has most of the same components with the same features as their counterparts in “Classic View Layout with Table View”:

We hope this gets you more comfortable with Thunderbird. Stay tuned for more guides specific to Thunderbird 115 “Supernova” coming soon.

9 responses

Yoseph wrote on

The update has damaged viewing substack rss feeds, they make the message header pane wider than fits in the window, with no way to scroll across other than squishing up the other panes. Only happens to me with substack feeds

Wojtek wrote on

While I do like the update, there are still a couple of quirks (already reported to bugzilla but no response)… problem with UnifiedInbox missing stuff (even in your screenshots it seems it’s garbled? with duplications…). Problems with viewport jumping to the top fo the list and back to current place…

Ani Emil wrote on

Can we please work on some real features? Examples:

– integrate “Send Later” to the application
– improve XMPP functionality to include phone calls (audio), video calls (video), OMEMO, message deletion, message reply, and similar; this will make TB a real killer app (surprised no one else has combined chat + email)

Florian Berater wrote on

Wow, Supernova looks awesome. I can’t wait to use it… Keep on rocking!

Marco wrote on

Yes, it’s great to see TB going into the right direction but I am also sad about changes of userexperience.
I am no Mac fan boy but you can feel that TB isn’t a Mac app.
TB has so much great features, but usability and design is so much lagging behind nower days – thats a pitty.
I really would like to see Thunderbird with a modern and intuitive UI and come back using also the great features, that are there. It feels like there is a long way to come to that point ;-(

DavidGB wrote on

Can it still be configured to have just the folder pane and the message list pane in the main window, NO message header or message panes in the main window, but messages opening in separate windows? That’s how I’ve had all my email clients since the mid-90s, and if Supernova won’t do that, then forget it. And can the folder pane still be set to show columns of unread and total numbers per folder? I can’t stand left side ‘spaces toolbars’ and have them not showing in every program and web interface that uses them that I have; can ‘tool’ buttons to open the calendar, add-ons, tasks etc be added to the toolbar as in 102? And I REALLY don’t like not having the tab bar at the top.

I think I need to check out how to install 115 alongside 102, because I’m getting the impression I’ll end up just sticking with 102 and never updating after 102’s last security update.

Jason Evangelho wrote on

Hi David, I can’t answer this with authority, so I will suggest posting this issue on the Thunderbird Community Support page here:

Or you can always ask in our Matrix chat room:

Stephen Tolbert wrote on

Ignore all the negative reviews! Super Nova looks great! I love the new layout. All appears to be in the right place. I especially like the card view. Thanks for the update and keep up the good work.

Jay wrote on

Now please focus on bug fixes (only). I love Thunderbird, but it does have a lot of annoying bugs.

Thank you for a wonderful product!

Comments are closed.