Thunderbird and Lightning How To

How to add a shared calendar

First someone has to share the calendar with you. Then, go to the calendar tab, right click on the calendar and select "delegate calendar"
Go to "other's calendar" tab. Enter the Email address of the person who shared their calendar with you in "shared with me" box. Click on the checkbox next to the new entry (hard to see, it's a field to the left of the email). You might need to wait a little for it to sync but the shared calendar will show up in the list of calendars in Lightning.

How to make the whole Thudnerbird/Firefox appear bigger or smaller, including the UI

Particularly important on Mac's Retina screen. Open config editor and set


to something like 1.3

How to read a PST mailbox with Thunderbird

Get the tool

sudo apt-get install readpst

Convert the PST, keeping deleted messages

mkdir pstmailfolder; readpst -D -o pstmailfolder <yourmailbox.pst>

Create the proper folder structure and copy the converted mailbox:

touch ~/.thunderbird/''random string''.default/Mail/Local Folders/pstmailfolder;
mkdir ~/.thunderbird/''random string''.default/Mail/Local Folders/pstmailfolder.sbd;
cp pstmailfolder/* ~/.tunderbird/''random string''.default/Mail/Local Folders/pstmailfolder.sbd/

Where random string is your Thunderbird profile identifier. Restart Thunderbird

How to simulate Outlook responses with Thunderbird

Install the SmartTemplate4 add on and use the following reply message heading:

 <b>From:</b> %from%
 <b>Date:</b> %X:=sent% %A%, %B% %d%, %Y% %l%:%M%%p(3)%
 [[<b>To:</b> %to%]][[<br><b>Cc:</b> %cc%]]
 <b>Subject:</b> %subject%

How to ignore/suppress/do not show alarms on a calendar

  • Open the config editor: Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Config Editor
  • Look for a calendar by typing its name, write down its guid, or at least part of the guid. Guid is the string after "calendar.registry"
  • Now type in the guid, find calendar.registry.guid.suppressAlarms and change it to true

How to use Thunderbird with Outlook calendar, address book and mail

I use Ubuntu as my OS of choice. But most of the business world is planted firmly in Microsoft's turf and as such they run Windows and use Exchange. If you want to access your corporate account with Thunderbird you will quickly find out that, while Exchange can use SMTP/IMAP/LDAP, it does not have CalDav or iCal for the calendar and, moreover, access to these protocols may be closed from the Internet.

So, how do you integrate Thunderbird with Exchange to access your mail, manage your calendar and see a corporate address book all in Mozilla's excellent piece of software? Have no fear, as long as there is Outlook Web Access access from the Internet, there is a solution. Actually there are two solutions:

One is called DavMail. Essentially, it is a piece of software that translates Exchange Outlook Web Access (OWA) screens into open protocols that Thunderbird can understand. DavMail runs in a server mode on your computer and provides content on demand to your productivity suites. It's very easy to configure.

What is more impressive is by using DavMail with Thunderbird you can actually connect to many Exchange servers at the same time, use many calendars (like work and personal) and many address books! This is something Outlook can not do right now and probably will not do in any foreseeable future.

Another solution is to use Lightning-Exchange data provider Thunderbird Add-on. You need to configure a new calendar to point to: https://mycompany\username@exchangeservername/EWS/Exchange.asmx. The add-on is, however, limited to just the calendar, so if you have to pipe SMTP, IMAP or LDAP you are better off sticking with DavMail.

Here is how you set up DavMail on Ubuntu:

Set up up DavMail

  • Get and install a deb from here. davmail needs java 1.6 as a default system java to run. To see/change your current java run

sudo update-alternatives --config java

  1. Set it to run when your Gnome session starts. Go to System->Preferences->Session, create a new item for davmail
  2. Start "davmail". Right click on the taskbar icon, select configure.
  3. Put in your OWA URL:
  4. On the advanced tab put in a log location, something like "/tmp/davmail.log". It might help you troubleshoot DavMail later.

Set up e-mail

  1. Actually, you are better off using Exchange's native IMAP if you can. Only use DavMail's IMAP only as a last resort. DavMail is a little slow with all the screen scraping that it has to do and does not support push email (IMAP's IDLE spec). If you have to, configure Thunderbird to use localhost as your IMAP server and use port 1143
  2. DavMail's SMTP seems to work well, but, again, if you could use Exchange's native SMTP, use it. If anything it is faster. If you must, then configure a new SMTP server in your Account Preferences (last entry in the list) and set localhost as the server, 1025 as the port.

Set up Global Address List

  1. In Thunderbird go into Account Settings. Select "Composition and Addressing", check "Use a different LDAP server" and add a new server.
  2. Set the host name to "localhost", base dn to "ou=people" and port number to "1389". Bind DN is the name you use to login to OWA.
  3. Don't worry about it not being SSL. This setting only affects traffic between Thunderbird and your local DavMail server. DavMail in turn talks HTTPS (SSL) to Exchange's OWA.
  4. Now, open your address book, click on the new server, enter the password and search for some entries. That should confirm that it is working.
  5. To get LDAP content for offline work, you could go back to the screen where you edited LDAP server properties, click on the offline tab and hit "download".

Set up calendar

  1. I am assuming you are using Tunderbird's Lightning extension for you calendar. Sure, it's not perfect, but it gets the job done.
  2. Now, go into your calendar and select Calendar->New Calendar. Check "On the Network". Format: "CalDAV". Location: http://localhost:1080/users/your-owa-name/calendar
  3. Set the name and the color on the next screen.
  4. Try scheduling a meeting - even the free/busy time scheduling functions seem to work.

You are done. Now you have the best productivity tool for Linux on your hands. Go ahead and use it.

How to configure multiple davMail Exchange OWA proxies for Thunderbird and Lightning

Make a copy of ~/ Edit it as desired. Start

davmail <your new properties file>>

Lightning 0.9 mail notifications are broken, activate Caldav notifications to outbox instead. Go to Edit->preferences->advanced->generic->configuration editor (or just edit lightning.js deep in .mozilla-thunderbird folder). Set


If you are experiencing issues with the calendaring system set debugging to true by adding the following values