Outlook Replacement: Tricking Out My Thunderbird With Custom Signature Lines

Ok, Thunderbird is up and running. As I go through and trick it out to make it nicer and add all the little personalized extras, I thought I’d keep a running list here and share it with my blog readers. I hope it will help anyone else who is attempting to do the Microsoft to opensource journey.

After you download and install Thunderbird, you may want to consider doing what I’ve done below, step-by-step:

  • Install Lightning and check all your appointments for correct times and repeat cycles. Depending on how you converted these, you may have a mess to clean up. (I’m still cleaning up mine.)
    • Be sure to configure Lightning and check your time zone setting: Tools–>Options–>Lightning–>Timezone.
  • Shorten the time it takes you to respond to emails by setting up the Quicktext plugin.
    • This little gem lets you set up seldom used signature lines, and even entire “often used” email text & layout so you can auto-fill with a single click.
    • I’m using this to make my billing process a bit faster, since I send all invoices by email.
    • I’m investigating dozens of other ways to set this up to do my work faster and to be more quickly responsive to people who contact me.
    • This is not a plug and play — you will need to read the directions on the website and spend the time to set it up, but so far, it looks like it’s going to become a must-have tool.
  • Create customized signature lines for Thunderbird
    • If you don’t already have your signatures created, you will need to visit this tutorial on creating signature lines for email in Thunderbird (update 6/2011 – link is defunct) and place these in your customization folder on your computer.
    • If you want your new signature to be the default for a particular account, you can do this by opening Thunderbird –>Tools –>Account Settings –> and highlight the account and check the “attach this signature” box and use the browse button to find your new little signature file.
  • Signature Switch plugin: Once you download the plugin and reboot Thunderbird, open up a new, blank email and go to Options–>Signature switch –> Options to set up your own personalized signature lines.
    • You will need to “customize” your toolbar to include the Signature switch (right click on your toolbar in an email and select customize, then drag and drop the signature icon there. Hit the OK button.)
    • The Signature Switch plugin makes it easy to right click on any signature in your email and change it to any in your signature library. Two clicks!

That’s all I’ve managed to complete today on my switch over to opensource. It’s a one-day-at-a-time sort of process when you are working fulltime with the machine you are converting!

I’ll share more information, links, tips, how-to information and hacks as I find and test them. G’nite!

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