Install the “External Editor” Thunderbird extension from http://globs.org/download.php?lng=en
Configure the external editor.
Option 1: use gvim
This is an easy method which use gvim.
In External Editor’s Preference, set the Text Editor to:
Option 2: use vim in a terminal
If you prefer to use vim in a terminal as me, you may consider this option. Setting vim in the editor will simply fail.
First, create a script “callvim”:
# we need a little trick to use vim inside gnome-terminal.
# Update on Oct. 22, 2013: This trick does not work on gnome-terminal 3.8.4
# the "--disable-factory" trick does not make the terminal run in foreground.
# You can use `gvim -f` or `xterm` instead.
# gnome-terminal --geometry=80x40 --disable-factory -e "vim $*"
# use xterm
xterm -e vim $*
Save it to a directory in your $PATH, such as ~/bin/, and remember to give
it executable by ‘chmod +x callvim’.
Then, set the Text Editor in External Editor’s Preference to
How to use it
When creating or editing email, invoke vim to edit it by the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+E.
Edit the email in Vim and save and exit. The email in Thunderbird’s editor is changed.
Customize Vim for editing email
We can customize Vim to be a better email editor by set email-specific configuration in
~/.vimrc. Below is my configuration in .vimrc which set the text width to 68 charactors, set automatic spell check, default file encoding to be iso8859-1 and utf-8. Abbreviation is also available, which may be frequently used in writing email.
My email configuration in
au FileType mail call FT_mail()
" reformat for 72 char lines
" normal gggqGgg
setlocal spell spelllang=en
" setlocal fileencoding=iso8859-1,utf-8
iabbr gd Good Day!