Unless you use keyboard shortcuts to operate Thunderbird -more on that later- the Mail Toolbar is the feature you will use most. It will control most aspects of the way you use email.
Please find below a summary of Thunderbird's Mail Toolbar keyboard shortcuts.
To customize the Mail Toolbar's buttons and settings, please see our Customize the Toolbars tutorial.
Thunderbird's "Default Set" Mail Toolbar Buttons
|This button checks for emails on the server. Thunderbird will check the mail server on its own, at a configurable interval, but this gives you control. Besides, there is a drop down arrow on the right of the icon: if you have multiple email accounts, this lets you select for which email account to check the server.
|This button creates a new, blank, email message.
|This button pulls up Thunderbird's address book, in which you create and manage contacts. It is useful to have at least the email address of the persons you email frequently.
|This button (only enabled when an email is selected in the right pane) lets you reply to the current email. This replies only to the sender of the email, (see next.)
|This button allows you to reply not only to the send of the email currently selected, but also to all the other people who received the email, ("recipients.") Example: Jane emails you and other friends about a party tomorrow evening; by clicking "Reply All" you will let her and all the others know that this time isn't convenient for you.
|Enabled only when an email is selected in the right pane, this button allows you to forward the current email to another recipient.
|This button deletes the email currently selected. And actually, the selected email(s) aren't really deleted yet: they are moved to the "Trash" folder, from where they can be restored. Once the emails are deleted from the Trash folder, they are gone forever.
|This button toggles between "Junk" and "Not Junk," and determines how Thunderbird treats the email. Since images can let the sender know that the email was read (i.e. that the email account is active) Thunderbird and other email clients have started blocking images when an email is perceived as junk, to protect your privacy and fight spam. (More on that later.)
|This button lets you print the email currently selected; (unlike other email clients, it will not print directly to the default printer, but pop open the print dialog and let you choose where to print.) The drop down arrow on the right of the icon allows you to see a preview of how the email will look on paper, ("Print Preview.")
|This button stops the current incoming transfer. (It does not let you stop outgoing data, i.e. an outgoing email.)
Thunderbird's "Other" Mail Toolbar Buttons
|This button allows you to file the selected email or emails: clicking on the File button deploys a menu of folders and sub-folders available for filing. This is especially practical when you have more folders in your folder tree than available vertical space on your monitor.
|This button goes from the current email to the next unread email, from bottom to top. It stops once it reaches the last read email, going upwards (even if there are still unread emails in the same folder, below the starting point).
|This button goes from the currently selected email to the next unread email, downwards. If it reaches the end of the current folder, it will start from the top of the current folder if there are still some unread emails in it. Otherwise, it will ask you if you want to read the next unread email, in folder [blank].
|This button toggles the Read/Unread status of the email or emails currently selected, when you click on the glasses icon. The arrow pulls a drop-down menu which lets you define a "Read by Date" range.
|This button launches a web browser window pointing to Thunderbird's Homepage.
Functions covered above can also be performed using keyboard shortcuts. ("Ctrl+M" means "Hold down the control key and at the same time press the M key.")
F5 Send + Receive
Ctrl+M Create blank email
Ctrl+N (Also works)
Ctrl+2 Address Book
Ctrl+R Reply to email
Ctrl+Shift+R Reply to all recipients
Ctrl+L Forward email
Del Delete selected email
J Marks current email as junk
Ctrl+P Print current email
P Go to Previous unread email
N Go to Next unread email
M Toggles Read/Unread status