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Install and Configure Thunderbird

How to install and configure Thunderbird

Please note: Accessing your ICTP e-mail via Thunderbird from private computers is possible but problematic because in contrast with data protection rules. We therefore ask you to use ICTP Webmail instead.

Installing Thunderbird

If Thunderbird is already installed, move to the next section (Configuring your ICTP account).

Go to the official web site of Thunderbird,, and click on the button for the Free Download. If you have a very old operating system on your computer, the latest version of Thunderbird might not be compatible. The web page will say so instead of showing the Download button.

In Windows, run the setup program. On MacOS, open the downloaded Disk Image and drag the Thunderbird symbol onto the Applications Folder symbol as indicated. You need administrator privileges for your computer to do this.

Configuring your ICTP account

When you run Thunderbird for the first time, it will give you the choice to set up an existing account. For this, you will have to provide your name, your e-mail address (write, even if your principal e-mail address is different: you can modify this later) and your password. You can let Thunderbird remember your password if your computer is in a safe place. Thunderbird will figure out the correct parameters by itself. Just confirm them when asked.


There is a vast amount of third-party add-ons available to add functionality. Be careful and use only a minimum set of add-ons (if any) necessary. Here's a short list of add-ons you might find useful:
Disable DragAndDrop
This add-on addresses the problem that it is way to easy to accidentally move a folder inside another one, instead of just opening it.
TbSync and Provider for CalDAV & CardDAV
These two add-ons together allow you to access cloud calendars (e.g. the one hosted at from the one integrated into Thunderbird.
Send Later
Allows you to schedule the sending of an email

Modifying your account settings

The Account Settings can be found either from the classic menu on the top (either under Edit or Tools) or clicking on the button showing three horizontal lines on the top right, under Options. Here you can modify your principal e-mail address (if it's different from the form as well as your signature. Please check also the settings for Synchronization & Storage: De-activate the option Keep messages in all folders for this account on this computer.

Setting up Shared Folders

In the Account Settings, click on the button in the lower right named Manage Identities.... In the dialog box you can Add an identity for each of your office/shared e-mail address as follows:

  • In the field Your Name: enter the title (e.g. ICTP Visa Office, SMR1234) optionally followed by your own name so that it is clear who exactly is writing.
  • In the field Email Address: enter the official address (e.g.,
  • Optionally, fill in the Signature field.
  • On top of the dialog box, click on Copies & Folders. Where it says Place a copy in:, select Other: and click on the field to the right which will open cascading menus to choose a folder where to store copies of sent messages. Follow this path: > Shared Folders > sharedfoldername > sent
  • You can do the same thing for the Archive folder, using archive on the last level.
  • Now save your settings, close all dialog boxes, and look for the in folder of your shared e-mail. Right-click on it (in the list of folders of Thunderbird's main window), click on Properties and select the option When getting new messages for this account, always check this folder.

Compact view of folders

When you have a high number of e-mail folders, it can be useful to see only a small subset most of the time. This can be achieved by marking the most frequently used folders as favourites and then limit the view to those.

For each important folder, right-click on it and click on Favorite Folder. When you have marked all that you want, go to the View menu, click on Folders and then Favorite. To return to the view of all folders, return to the menu as before and choose All again.

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