Manage multiple email addresses with Thunderbird

Multiple email addresses can be managed with software such as Thunderbird, even if these addresses have been created with different providers. This way, all your e-mails arrive in the same place. We explain how installing Thunderbird works and walk you through the most important settings.

Thunderbird is open source and therefore free to use. During the installation you can directly indicate that Thunderbird should become the default mail program on your PC. You can also arrange this later via the Windows settings. Once the installation is complete, you can specify the first email account. That can be an account from any provider, we take Google Mail as an example.

You enter the name to be shown to others, the e-mail address in question and the corresponding password. Depending on the security level you have set with Google Mail, you may need to confirm in a separate window or on your smartphone that you want to allow Thunderbird access to your account.

Once this has been arranged, you can view, reply to and, of course, compose new messages at your leisure. It is important to know that all mail is still stored in the cloud with Google Mail. So you can still access it through your phone’s browser or any computer, just like with something like the Gmail app on your smartphone.

If you want to change something about the account settings, right click on the account name in the left column and choose the option Settings. Or click on the menu icon (the three horizontal lines) in the top right of the program. Choose the option there Account Settings.

Here you can immediately enter a signature; the default text that is automatically added to the bottom of your post. You can type the text or point to a file with an already formatted signature. By the way, you can also make a traditional menu bar appear at the top of the program window with a tap on the Alt key.

Add accounts

Do you work with multiple Gmail accounts? Then you can also easily add it to Thunderbird, so that you can access everything with one program. To add additional accounts go to the tab Account Settings and click on the bottom left Account actions, Email account add. The same window will now appear as after the installation of Thunderbird. The procedure is therefore the same.

In addition to a Gmail account, you can of course also specify accounts that you have with other providers. For example, if you have your own domain with associated mail servers. Strikingly often, Thunderbird fully automatically finds out the settings that are needed to access such an account.

If this doesn’t work or do you prefer to configure the account yourself? Then click in the window in which you enter your name, e-mail address and password, in the bottom left corner Configure manually. Additional input fields will appear that allow you to specify the properties of both the incoming and outgoing mail server.

Tabs and Windows

You can message directly from Inbox or view another mailbox using the preview at the bottom of the program window. You can enlarge or reduce that window to your liking by dragging the mouse. You can also double click on a message or press the Enter key to open it in a new tab. This is immediately a handy way to keep a good eye on a series of messages that you want to deal with today, for example.

If there are all tabs open with messages that you no longer need, you do not have to close them individually. In that case, right-click on the tab of the mailbox you are viewing (the left tab) and choose Other messages Close. If you do this with an email, all other message tabs will be closed, but not this one.

If you accidentally close the wrong tab, right click on any tab and reopen it via the option Recently Closed Tabs. If there are tabs active when you stop Thunderbird, they will be opened again at the next program start.

Do you prefer to read a message in a separate window? Then right click on it in the mailbox and choose Open message in new window. To always open messages in separate windows, choose in the menu for Options, click left on General and scroll down quite a bit to Read & Display. Change the option there Open new messages in to A new message box.

Save emails offline

Instead of leaving all mail with the provider and letting it continue to accumulate there, you can also store your mail locally by moving it to your computer. For example, only the messages that still need to be done with are left online for a while. Or you leave all mail from, for example, the last few weeks or months, while you post all older and completed mail locally. In this way you keep the operational mailboxes of your account(s) clear.

On the left under the mailboxes of your e-mail account(s) you will find the section Local Folders. Here you can create as many local folders as you want to store your mail in. Just right click on Local Folders and choose New map or New subfolder. Just like on a regular disk, you can put together a clear, hierarchical folder structure.

Think of a folder for e-mails with invoices, everything that has to do with taxes, your insurance, but also a holiday folder, work folder, a folder for newsletters and so on. By grouping similar posts together, you’ll never have to worry about which email account to look for again.

Post that you want to save locally, you simply drag from the mailbox of an account to your own folders. It is important to know that these messages are no longer online after that and can therefore no longer be consulted via your telephone while on the road. If the messages you send yourself are also important, you can move them from time to time in the same way from your mailbox sent (per account) to a local folder.

Securing data

Especially if you move mail to your computer, it is very important that you regularly backs up this data, just like all your data files. This can be done relatively easily, because Thunderbird stores all data together in a folder structure. Not only your local mail, but also the configuration of all the email accounts you have entered. So you just need to secure this folder structure.

If something goes wrong, stop Thunderbird for a while and put these folders back in exactly the same place. Changes made after the last backup will unfortunately be lost (as always). Optionally, you can quickly restore messages moved later in your online e-mail account before performing the restore.

The program itself tells you which folders you need to back up. Just go to the menu and choose Help, Troubleshooting Information and click behind Profile folder on Open a folder.

In the window that now opens, go up two levels. This can be done by pressing the Alt key twice together with Up Arrow. You can also click Thunderbird directly in the address bar. Then right click anywhere in the empty part of this address bar and choose Copy address as text.

You then include this path in your regular backup. Make sure that you secure this folder including all subfolders. Are you switching to a new computer? Then set it up, install Thunderbird, quit the program without setting up an e-mail account, restore the folder structure saved on the old computer and Thunderbird immediately works as before.

That was Thunderbird at a glance!


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