8 July 2015

Mozilla Thunderbird - A Serious Contender

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free, open source, cross-platform email, news, and chat client, that is very similar to Microsoft Outlook. Thunderbird supports a wide range of email servers including cloud based email services such as Google Apps for Business Microsoft Exchange and Office 365. With, its' Mail Account Setup Wizard, Thunderbird can be easily configured to meet its users needs by importing settings from their existing e-mail accounts.

Mozilla Thunderbird can be easily utilised on multiple platforms including Microsoft Windows, Linux and Apple Mac OS X. Unlike Outlook 2013, it is also compatible with Windows Vista and XP. Thunderbird also allows users to migrate contacts, email settings and folders from Outlook, by following a few simple steps. Additionally, not only does Thunderbird support multiple emails accounts, but it also provides users with added functionality which allows them to subscribe to various RSS feeds and newsgroups. Furthermore, if users prefer to have a personalised email address, Thunderbird can provide one at a minimal cost.

Like Firefox, Thunderbird also allows its users to open emails in a new tab by double-clicking or pressing enter on the email, hence allowing them to multi task and work on different emails at the same time if desired. Additionally, Thunderbird incorporates a search function which allows users to search emails by typing a keyword in the Search Bar located on the Mail Toolbar. Searching the web is also possible via the Search Bar or by highlighting words (which you would like to search) in emails. Furthermore, a Tags button in the Mail Toolbar allows users to apply built-in or custom tags to the email. The Quick Filter bar lets users filter their unread, starred or untagged emails, emails with associated contacts in their address book and emails with an attachment. Users can also create custom filters with the Message Filter functionality that can be easily accessed via the tools link in the Menu Bar. 

Thunderbird's address book functionality further indicates the software's ease of use as typified by the fact that it allows  its users to add contacts with just one click on the star located next to the received message. You can also add more details like photos, important dates and any other important information to the contact with a couple more clicks. Additionally, if you are trying to send an email with the 'write' or 'attachment' word in your email body, the Attachment Reminder ensures users attach a file before sending the email. Thunderbird also supports multi-channel chatting, allowing users to start a conversation with any of their contacts from Thunderbird, by utilising their favourite chat client. The in-built search functionality also allows users to search through the conversation if desired. 

Additionally, Thunderbird's Message Archival Tool is an advantageous functionality for users as it allows you to keep your inbox organized in an effective and efficient manner. This is due to the fact that you can move emails to an archived folder for later search or store them to an external storage device. This keeps you inbox clean and organized. If users desire Thunderbird can also sort out large files with Cloud Storage service providers such as Box, Ubuntu One and YousendIt, all you need to do is upload the file to one of these cloud storage services and share the link instead of the file itself. 

With the industry standard spam filtering technology, Thunderbird also keeps your inbox spam free by utilising predefined spam filters or custom filters that have been designed to meet the users needs. Additionally, Thunderbird respects user privacy by blocking images in messages and supports the Do Not Track initiative which prevents websites from tracking your actions in order to show advertisement based on them. Furthermore, it comes with built in phishing protection, which provides warning messages to users, preventing them from entering personal information into unknown sources which stem from accessing links that appear in some emails. 

In our opinion, Thunderbird is a reliable alternative to Microsoft's Outlook. It offers a heap of the features that Outlook provides. With plenty of help from the open source community, you can install and configure it in order to meet either personal needs or business requirements.