I am using thunderbird 14.0, where i am facing few issue. Is it possible to make thunderbird look like outlook. I didn't mean the theme or look, i mean the way that how outlook express replies. It has a neat line on the end of every reply, where as thunderbird doesnot do the way like outlook does. It doesn't show the details of From, To Subject & Date while replying..I just to overcome this issue by customizing the settings or i just want to know is there any other email client which serves like outlook for ubuntu?

Outlook Screenshot:

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Thunderbird Screenshot:

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Update - 1:

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Update - 2:

  • Outlook express / outlook has a nice look on forwarding mails. Like it highlights the From field in light grey color. Pls find the snapshot below. How to get this style in thunderbird on forwarding mails?

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Update - 3:

  • Can i have the below style? All the informations should be highlighted in light grey color, like the one on screenshot below. Also i dont want the email id to be displayed, on mouse over it should show the email id like outlook. You can find it in below screenshot.

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Update - 4:

  • Help me in adding signature for all outgoing mails.

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6 Answers 6


This is fairly easy to do with Thunderbird 14.0, using the SmartTemplate and ReFwdFormatter extensions.

1. Install SmartTemplate and ReFwdFormatter

  • Start Thunderbird, go to Tools...Add-ons
  • Search for smarttemplate and install:

    enter image description here

  • Search for refwd and install:

    enter image description here

  • Restart Thunderbird to activate the extensions.

2. Configure ReFwdFormatter to remove the quote vertical bar

  • Go to Tools...Add-ons and select the Extensions option in the left sidebar.
  • Click on the Preferences button for ReFwdFormatter:

    enter image description here

  • Make sure all the choices you need are selected, and close.

3. Configure SmartTemplate to reply like Outlook

  • Go to Tools...Add-ons and select the Extensions option in the left sidebar.
  • Click on the Preferences button for SmartTemplate
  • In the "SmartTemplate Settings" window, click on the Reply tab:

    enter image description here

  • Set up the checkboxes as above, and paste this basic Outlook reply template in the text box:

    <b>From:</b> %from%
    <b>Sent:</b> %X:=sent% %A%, %B% %d%, %Y% %l%:%M%%p(3)%
    [[<b>To:</b> %to%]][[<br><b>Cc:</b> %cc%]]
    <b>Subject:</b> %subject%
  • To see what the fields mean and a list of all available fields, click on the Help button to expand the window with this useful section (or see list on website):

    enter image description here

  • You should also paste the same template in the Forward tab, with the same settings.

4. Demo:

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5. Further customization

  • This requires minimal knowledge of HTML. If you need specific help, please post in the comments below.

Specific customizations for karthick87

  • Makes horizontal line blue
  • Makes header font size smaller
  • Gray highlight/background for headers
  • Date/time in Outlook format
  • Only email names displayed in headers, with clickable mailto: links and a tooltip displaying the email address on mouse hover
<hr style="color:#62B3FF">
<div style="background-color: #DDDDDD; font-size:10pt"><b>From:</b> <a title="%from(mail)%" href="mailto:%from(mail)%">%from(name)%</a>
<b>Sent:</b> %X:=sent% %A%, %B% %d%, %Y% %l%:%M%%p(3)%
[[<b>To:</b> <a title="%to(mail)%" href="mailto:%to(mail)%">%to(name)%</a>]][[<br><b>Cc:</b> <a title="%cc(mail)%" href="mailto:%cc(mail)%">%cc(name)%</a>]]
<b>Subject:</b> %subject%</div>

enter image description here

  • This is really nice, the one problem which i am facing now is while replying it is taking the current time not the one from which mail has been send. Any fix?
    – karthick87
    Aug 18, 2012 at 13:20
  • Sorry about that. I modified it to mimic the sent date/time format of Outlook 2007 with a US locale -- hopefully that matches yours. Please see the edited %Sent% line and let me know with an example if you need a different format.
    – ish
    Aug 18, 2012 at 13:49
  • Thanks a lot, it did the trick :) I want to change the color of the line which is placed below the reply /forward. How to change it from grey to blue ???
    – karthick87
    Aug 18, 2012 at 14:58
  • @karthick87: just change the <hr> in the second line to <hr style="color:#62B3FF">, where you can get your desired hex color value from a Color Wheel like here.
    – ish
    Aug 18, 2012 at 16:06
  • 1
    SmartTemplate4 is still active, but stopped being free. Jan 30, 2020 at 3:11

Please Note: Kindly let me know about improvement, I'm glad to edit it. Instead of deleting it!

There is an alternative to SmartTemplate4 add-on for Message Attribution aka Outlook like reply in Thunderbird. ReplyWithHeader brings capabilities of outlook like message attribution, header typography, line spaces for Thunderbird. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/replywithheader/.

RWH Preferences screenshot: Preferences Screen

Disclaimer: Author of ReplyWithHeader add-on.


You can give ThunderBird Conversations Extension a try.

Here is a screenshot. enter image description here

  • I have tried it already, this doesn't suits my need. I want thunderbird replies to look exactly as outlook..
    – karthick87
    Aug 8, 2012 at 17:52
  • @karthick87 can you be more specific about the format? The conversation plugin does have an inline replying capability where you can easily view date, subject, To, From etc. and it also separates replies. But if you choose to reply from a new compose window then those things will not be visible in that window, are you talking about that?
    – Samik
    Aug 8, 2012 at 18:16
  • On reply it doesn't shows the complete information like From, To, Subject & Time as i said earlier.
    – karthick87
    Aug 9, 2012 at 14:46
  • @karthick87 Maybe a screen-capture will let me explain what I'm talking about :)
    – Samik
    Aug 9, 2012 at 16:19
  • See i want the same as outlook, thunderbird conversation extension is a pain. Please see the updated snapshot..
    – karthick87
    Aug 18, 2012 at 4:26

This worked for me (thunderbird v17) except it disabled my signature for creating new mails. I discovered I could switch sender addresses and back, and that would put the signature in. I discovered that in the smartTemplate options when I enabled the 'use html' box in the Write tab signatures became enabled right from the start of creating a new mail.

  • @mitch - I do not know, how to reach you so added comment here. Can you please review updated post and undelete the answer. If you need further info, please let me know.
    – jeevatkm
    Jun 2, 2015 at 23:22

Great sample for SmartTemplate to make ThunderBird more familiar with Outlook. I improve your code, because for some reason that i unknow, in href mailto the system add mailto:<a>[email protected]</a> I hope that this more simple code help to new users of Thunderbird. Thanks.

<hr color="#b0b0b0"><div style="font-family: tahoma,geneva,sans-serif; font-size:12px"> <b>From:</b> %from(name,link)% <b>Sent:</b> %X:=sent% %A%, %B% %d%, %Y% %l%:%M%%p(3)% <b>To:</b> %to(name,link)% <b>Cc:</b> %cc(name,link)% <b>Subject:</b> %subject%</div> <br>

I am sure that this kb article has everything you need to know about custom reply header : http://kb.mozillazine.org/Reply_header_settings

  • That is an older post.. That doesn't contains enough informations and things has been changed a lot in newer version.
    – karthick87
    Aug 8, 2012 at 19:45
  • 2
    Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – nanofarad
    Aug 20, 2012 at 16:52

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