Use emacs for thunderbird emails

Some people use emacs as their email client with e.g. gnus, wanderlust or mu4e. I am not quite hardcore enough for that, and do my emailing in Thunderbird. I don’t have to give up on emacs completely when sending emails though. Using the external editor extension for Thunderbird, I can quickly compose your email in emacs and then send it in Thunderbird.

To use it, install the extension in Thunderbird, and then in its preferences, set the text editor path to your emacsclient with a -c option. For example, on my Mac, this is

/Applications/Emacs.app/Contents/MacOS/bin-x86_64-10_9/emacsclient -c

See this post about using emacsclient if you are not sure about that.

Now, when composing a mail in Thunderbird, I can click the emacs button that has appeared on the tool bar of the compose window (if it is not there, right click and add it from the list), or just hit Command-E. This launches an emacs window with the email text ready to go. Type in your text and when you are done, hit C-x C-c to save and close the window. Your emacs text should now be in your Thunderbird compose window.

One last point is that I like to use org-mode style structures in my emails, so I add the following to my emacs config file to tell emacs to open .eml files in org-mode.

;;use org mode for eml files (useful for thunderbird plugin)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.eml\\'" . org-mode))
  • Ever since coming accross your post I’ve been using the external editor extension for my mail-writing needs. As a reference for other users wanting to utilize this: with TB52 (2017) the extension stopped working, but a fix by another user (working for me, no liabilities) can be found here: http://globs.org/thread.php?lng=en&pg=3108&fid=1&cat=1

    And again: many thanks for the blogpost.

    • Thanks for this information. I myself have switched full time to mu4e and can’t recommend it highly enough – have you considered giving it a go?