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Thunderbird 45.1: What's new

Monday, 23 May 2016 07:00

Dear SoftMaker customers:

A new version of Thunderbird has been released: Thunderbird 45.1 not only offers bug fixes, but also adds numerous new features. This blog article tells you what has been improved in this popular e-mail client.

All users of SoftMaker Office 2016 receive the improvements, too. Why don't you check right now if your version of Thunderbird is up-to-date? Open the Help menu in Thunderbird, choose the command About Thunderbird and click on the button Check for updates.

In the next step, you should refresh the SoftMaker add-ons, as only the latest revisions are compatible with Thunderbird 45.1. Proceed as follows: In Thunderbird, use the Tools > Add-ons command to open the add-on manager. Click on the Gear icon in the top right of the window and choose the command Check for updates in the menu that appears.

So... What's new in Thunderbird 45.1 after all? Read on...

Automatic paragraph breaks with the Enter key

This is a change you will notice immediately: Whenever you press the Enter key while writing an e-mail, Thunderbird will no longer insert a line break, but a paragraph break – just like in a word processor. If you want to suppress the extra space below, press Shift+Enter – again, just like in TextMaker or Word.

It is likely you will be annoyed with this change on the first day – just like the writer of this blog article was. But then you will get used to it and probably don't want to go back to the old ways. Give this change a chance. If you absolutely do not like it, you can disable it in Tools > Options > Composition: Switch to the dialog tab General and remove the checkmark in front of When using paragraph format, the enter key creates a new paragraph.

Freely selectable "From" address

Does spam annoy you as much as us? Many internet services require registering with your e-mail address. A pretty efficient way to find out if a company has sold your address or has been hacked is to use a different e-mail address with each service:

  • etc.

If you start receiving unsolicited e-mail at such an address, you know not only the culprit but also can set up a filter in Thunderbird that discards future messages to this address unread.

Employing this strategy in Thunderbird was quite complicated until now, since you had to create a separate account for each such address. With Thunderbird 45.1, you can now enter an arbitrary e-mail address when sending out an e-mail message:

Thunderbird 45.1: User-defined From address

Just click into the "From" field, choose "Customize From Address" and enter the desired e-mail address.

This function requires your e-mail server to be configured that it (a) allows sending messages with such a sender address, and (b) forwards replies to this address to your regular e-mail address. If you run your own mail server, you should set it up that all e-mails to any address in your domain are forwarded to you.

Some commercial e-mail providers let you create distinct e-mail addresses on-the-fly, too:

Improvements to spell-checking

Thunderbird's spell checker now also checks the subject line of the e-mail that you are writing. If you have installed multiple dictionaries, you can switch between them with a button in the Mail Compose window.

Thunderbird 45.1: Improved spell checker

One more thing: If you have installed several dictionaries, the active language is shown in the bottom right of the Mail Compose Window's status bar.

Selecting the font size easily

When you create an e-mail, you can not only change the font size with the "Larger" and "Smaller" buttons, but now also pick a font size directly from the menu:

Thunderbird 45.1: Selecting the font size easily

Even better protection from being spied on

One of the key goals of the Thunderbird developers has always been to protect your privacy. As protection against spam and tracking, external images in e-mail messages are not displayed automatically. This prevents the ad industry from employing tracking pixels that track if you opened their advertising e-mails.

You can add trustworthy senders with just a click, resulting in their images to be displayed automatically. Thunderbird 45.1 now offers more fine-grained control by letting you whitelist not only by sending address, but also individually choose the web servers from which the images are loaded. This way, you can see relevant pictures but skip ad images.

Thunderbird 45.1: Protection from being spied on

Exporting from the address book

If you want to export an address book into CSV or text format, Thunderbird now offers the UTF-8 character set in the export dialog. UTF-8 handles all Unicode characters.

Thunderbird 45.1: Export from the address book

In addition, you can now export all address books in one step. For this, place the highlight bar on the entry All Address Books in the list of address books, then start the export.

Change mail overview

Thunderbird 45.0 introduced a change that was not liked by all users: In the mail overview, the "From" column was automatically replaced by a new column, "Correspondents". If you collect e-mails that you receive as well as those that you send in the same folder you will see the recipient's name instead of your own. The "sending direction" is indicated by an arrow that either points left or right.

Thunderbird 45.1: Anzeige der Gegenseite in der E-Mail-Übersicht

Yes, this takes getting used to. But many of those who tried this change appreciate it. What users didn't like was that this change was implemented silently for all users. With 45.1, this option is off by default and must be activated manually. If you want to try it out in single folders, click on the icon in the top right of the mail overview, remove the checkmark in front of "From" and set a checkmark in front of "Correspondents".

If you want to activate the "Correspondents" option by default for new folders, proceed as follows:

  • Choose Tools > Options and click on the icon Advanced in the top right of the dialog box.
  • Switch to the dialog tab General and click on the button Config Editor.
  • As soon as you acknowledge the warning message by confirming that you know what you are doing, Thunderbird's configuration editor will appear.
  • Type correspondents in the search field.
  • Only one entry should remain in the list: mail.threadpane.use_correspondents.
  • Right-click on it and choose the Toggle command.
  • You can now leave the configuration editor and the settings dialog box.

Sending correct e-mail messages to Asia

Thunderbird now sends correctly formatted e-mails in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Previously, unnecessary spaces were inserted, and Japanese-language messages violated the internet RFCs.

Tip: Thunderbird "powered by SoftMaker"

If you use SoftMaker Office 2016, Thunderbird "powered by SoftMaker" is included. You not only profit from the improvements that come with Thunderbird 45.1, but additionally from the add-ons developed by SoftMaker. These improve Thunderbird's user interface and add powerful functions for filing messages and for folder navigation.


  • posted by
    Thursday, 14 July 2016 06:16

    Anneli: Sorry, I must have been asleep at the wheel when I wrote this. The link goes to an internal SoftMaker site. I just edited my old comment to point to the correct, world-accessible URL which is:

  • Anneli posted by Anneli
    Wednesday, 13 July 2016 22:23

    Is the meaning that we all can't go to the add-ons page?:
    I have an username and password to the forum, but it doesn't work in the add-ons link.
    Can I download the add-ons from some other page?

  • SoftMaker posted by SoftMaker
    Wednesday, 29 June 2016 05:33

    Michael: Such issues are best discussed with our technical-support team (just e-mail them at

  • Michael Walsh posted by Michael Walsh
    Wednesday, 29 June 2016 02:55

    In Thunderbird 45.1.1
    Address Book > Import > Address Books (from a CSV file) The field choices are Web Page 1 and Web Page 2, but the Address fields are Business Web Page and Private Web Page; which one is which?
    When I try to import from a CSV file which has 42 fields, with Notes in the 40th column, the Import field list only shows the first 37 fields.
    I see that the Import Field List mapping is saved, which is wonderful, but sometimes I need to Import addresses from different CSV sources. Is it possible, or practical to enable a user to save a few different mapping schemes with names that can be retrieved as needed?
    Thank you and I love your product and the way you are improving Thunderbird.
    Michael Walsh

  • Michael Walsh posted by Michael Walsh
    Wednesday, 29 June 2016 02:17

    Dear SoftMaker,
    I have been using Thunderbird for about 10 years and I like it very much.
    In Ver 45..1.1, I Exported addresses from my Address Book to a VCF file, but I found that the field Additional Email was NOT included in the VCF file that was wriitten by Thunderbird.

  • posted by
    Tuesday, 07 June 2016 10:41

    Saif: Mozilla has already decided to pull out of Thunderbird, they are just looking for ways to not endanger the project. But that doesn't matter since Mozilla hasn't provided any development manpower for a long time anyway, and Thunderbird is pulling ahead anyway. Thanks to its team of dedicated volunteers, it is making more progress than under Mozilla's reign. And SoftMaker will keep supporting it.

  • Saif posted by Saif
    Tuesday, 07 June 2016 09:44

    What is the prospect of this relationship continuing if Mozilla chooses to abandon Thunderbird (if it hasn't done so already)

    Best wishes


  • Bryan posted by Bryan
    Thursday, 26 May 2016 09:56

    I really like the appearance of Thunderbird, with the Softmaker UI. Now, if they could also add it to the 'compose' window as well. It reminds me (slightly) of the old Outlook Express.

  • posted by
    Tuesday, 24 May 2016 07:21

    Dan: You could even be using Thunderbird 47 if you are adventurous enough. The Thunderbird developers use a "rolling" release model, where there is a stable release (45.1) and several severely less stable (alpha, beta etc.) releases. However, the one that has been tested and can be foisted upon the public is still 45.1.

    You can download our add-ons from and follow the installation instructions near the bottom of the page. No guarantee, though, that they work beyond Thunderbird 45.1. Whenever a new stable release of Thunderbird is created, our add-ons will be ready. But we don't target alphas or betas.

  • Dan Cater posted by Dan Cater
    Tuesday, 24 May 2016 00:31

    You're talking about the "new" Thunderbird 45.1. I'm already using Thunderbird 46.0.1. I also use Softmaker 2016 Professional, upgraded from an earlier version. It didn't come with Thunderbird and I installed it independently. I have updated both Softmaker and Thunderbird Addons. I have tried to manually install the Softmaker addon to Thunderbird, but searching for "Thunderbird" in the addons produces zero results.

  • Nilo Parconius posted by Nilo Parconius
    Monday, 23 May 2016 19:08

    "Freely selectable "From" address"
    The extension "Virtual Identity" has been doing this for years already.

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