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Introduction to Thunderbird, part 4, address book and attachments

OK, so you've come to part 4 already.  Well done.  :)

In this article we will look at using the Address Book, as well as attaching files (and even web pages!) to emails.  OK, so start by going to the main Thunderbird window and press Write.  You should get a window like this:


Thunderbird, empty message composition window


What we want to do first, is add a recipient for the message, the email address we're sending to.  But before that, let's make that recipient a contact in our address book. :)  Press "Ctrl-Shift-B" and the following window will appear:


Thunderbird address book, new contact highlight


I've highlighted the "New contact" button;  press it and the following window will appear.


Thunderbird add contact screen


Here you can enter information such as name, nickname, email address and phone numbers.  It is also possible to add chat names, different nicknames used on Facebook, but we'll get back to that in a later article.  So OK, add information as shown above, or add some person or organization you want.  Towards the bottom of the window there is "Prefers to receive messages formatted as" with the options Unknown, HTML and Plain Text.  Now, for this example, we at prefer to receive messages as HTML, because you can embed images etc. of translated articles easily that way.  If you're sending emails to a fairly technical person, chances are they will prefer Plain Text.  Finally to the bottom right, there is the option "Allow remote content".  Check this option if you trust the contact, it is most times OK to check this box when you're adding a contact.

OK, so onwards.  Close the address book and you're now back to the message composition window.  If you now start typing the contact name for a newly created contact, it should look like this:


Thunderbird compose message window, typing part of contact name


As you can see, the contact info (name and email address) now show up for the added contact, the recipient name and address gets "auto-completed".  Creating and sending messages is now easier, because the address book will provide the contact info you've added earlier when you start typing the name.  Nice isn't it? :)

OK, so now we've covered a bit of the address book, using it with email messages.  Articles about more advanced use, such as mailing lists and server-based address books will be covered in a later article.

Now let's proceed to writing emails and attachments.

Thunderbird and attachments (files and web pages)


OK, so let's look at attachments.  I'll start with the message window created above, and send an image to the articles address:


Thunderbird compose message window, add attachment


As you can see, I've clicked on the Attach button menu icon and gotten a couple of options.  We'll focus on two here, the add file and add web page options.  First, click on File(s).. and the following dialog will appear:


Thunderbird message composition attach files dialog


Now, you might get confused by the language (my Windows 7 is set to Norwegian), or that your window looks a lot different, but the principles are the same.  Locate the file or files (convenient to add more than one file), select them and click on "Open" or whatever your system says to open files.  :)

It should be mentioned that it is also possible to drag-and-drop attachments into messages.  To do that, first find the file you want to attach, click on it and hold the mouse button down, then cycle (if necessary) using alt-Tab to the message compose window and drag it over the recipients field, the attachments field should appear to the right and then release the mouse button when the dragged file icon is over the attachment field.

OK, when that's done, let's try a different method of attaching things to the email.  Click on the "Attach" menu button, and select Web page.  A dialog like this should appear:


Thunderbird compose window add web page attachment dialog


I've entered "" - add some web address and press "OK".  When that's added, add a message subject, some content in the body (or no content, if you're just sending files and web pages to your own account for example).  The message compose window should now look something like this:


Thunderbird compose message window with recipient, attachment, subject and message


Voila!  The message is ready to go.  Just press "Send" and the message will end up wherever your pointed it to.  :)

OK, that's it for this article, hope you found it to be fun and interesting.  :)

This is the fourth article in a series about Thunderbird, if you have Thunderbird-related topics you want covered here, let us know. Comments on this article, thumbs up or flames, can be sent to If you need help using Thunderbird, we recommend using the Thunderbird forums.

If you know a language or languages besides English and would like to translate these articles, let us know via as well. :)

The next article is about security, go on to read it now.