When I try to open a PDF file from an attachment in an email in Thunderbird, I only get a few applications and none of them are appropriate to open PDF files:

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When I save the file to my HD, it opens by default with the correct application (Document Viewer) and I can also choose a lot of other applications:

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Edit: When I go to Preferences -> Attachments -> Incoming I don't see any filetypes that I can set any action for:

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Why can't I open this file with the correct application from Thunderbird? How to fix this?

  • 1
    Go to Preferences / Attachments / Incoming. You should be able to select "Document Viewer" next to PDF documents. – Jos Jan 10 '19 at 12:45
  • @Jos thanks for the reply, I did find the Preferences -> Attachments screen but it was default on the "Outgoing" tab and I didn't even notices the tabs, they are very easy to overlook. Anyway, in this tab I couldn't do anything useful either, see my updated answer and added screenshot. – gitaarik Jan 10 '19 at 13:51
  • There should be a file handlers.json in your profile directory which contains defaults for incoming files. If there isn't (or if it's empty), create a new user profile and copy over the handlers.json file from there to your original profile directory. – Jos Jan 10 '19 at 13:58
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    Your incoming tab is empty because you haven't set any defaults for any filetypes. If you set the default for PDFs as e.g. calculator, then PDF files should show up in the incoming tab. – mrp May 23 '19 at 16:44
  • @mrp where do you set these defaults? – gitaarik May 23 '19 at 18:28

Did you install thunderbird via snap? I had the same issue.

After deleting the snap instance and reinstalling via

apt-get install thunderbird

it worked well.

(Be aware: deleting the snap instance will automatically delete all the data, so backup your emails before doing that!)

| improve this answer | |
  • This is just absurd how few litterature can be found of the subject. Snap really messes with basic features, I'm baffled. – pHneutre Jun 25 at 10:19

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