Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mozilla Thunderbird Message Composing Tip

I have been a longtime fan of Mozilla Thunderbird as my primary home desktop email client.

I’ve tried a number of alternative ones but just haven’t been convinced they offer me anything that T-Bird isn’t providing.

One side-enjoyment that I have is collecting fun and fascinating links I think my family members might enjoy based on their interests and hobbies.  My RSS feed list is pretty large and expansive and I usually find material for them without trying.

Once every few weeks I’ll sort the saved bookmarks and categorize them in Firefox, then I will copy the lot in the Bookmark Manager and paste them into a new message composition window in Thunderbird.

That works great but there is a single “space” between each of the links.

I like to split each URL link out on it’s own line and sometimes it’s hard to see just where that space is.


I could (temporarily) ramp up the font size formatting of the message content to make it more visible for the editing work, but that seemed silly. Could I just “zoom” the view up instead?

I looked and looked (and even tried some T-bird Add-ons) but they just didn’t work like I wanted, nor could I find a zoom control.

After just a minute of the Googles I found the solution was coded into T-bird for some time, but accessed via key/mouse hot-key combinations rather than a menu/GUI solution:

New in Thunderbird 10 | How to | Keyboard shortcuts - Thunderbird

Keyboard shortcuts

  • The scroll wheel can now be used to zoom and unzoom a message in the message reader and compose window:
    Ctrl + |scroll wheel| Command + Control + |scroll wheel|. In the message reader only, with Ctrl + “0” |Command| + “0”, you can reset the zoom to 100%.

Say what?

Windows users…if you are viewing a message in the reading pane OR composing a message in the new message composition window, press and hold the “CTRL” key while scrolling your mouse wheel up or down, the viewable text size increases or decreases.  This does NOT change the actual font size coding of your message…just how large it is displayed for you you.


To reset the view size back to “100%” normal size -- in the reading pane view only -- press “CTRL” key and “0”.

Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be a reset method in the composition window so you will have to “CTRL” + scroll-wheel it back to what looks like your normal size.

On my system with Thunderbird version 17.0.7, it appears the zoom level you set is persistent. Meaning that if you close the zoomed/shrunk composition window, any new composition windows you open will retain that last zoom setting. YMMV.

Good enough for me!


Claus V.

P.S. -- Yes I hear you giggling at me Alvis with my “old-man” eyes…I’m blaming it on my HD 1920 x 1080 15.6-inch spanking-tastic super-fine laptop display. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

1 comment:

Miles Wolbe said...

Hey Claus!

Always glad to see new GSD posts!

Instead of making the font size larger so that you can manually go through and change spaces to carriage returns, you can automate the process with a utility like sed or tr. For example:

$ cat links.txt
1 2 3 4 5
$ tr ' ' '\012' < links.txt

There are plenty of options for running UNIX text tools in Windows.

You can also use a GUI text editor like Notepad++:

Click "Search" then "Replace"
Find what: (enter a single space)
Replace with: \n
Select "Extended" under Search Mode
Click "Replace All"