Edit Thunderbird emails in an external text editor
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README.md

External Editor

Latest release

Purpose

Thunderbird mail client extension which allows to open and edit your messages in an external text editor such as NEdit, emacs, etc...

Installation

The External Editor button is not visible by default; you must customize your composer toolbar:

  • Open the compose window
  • Select the menu View/Toolbars/Customize..., or right click on the toolbar and select Customize...
  • Drag and Drop the new icon External Editor on your toolbar
  • Click OK

Then, open the extension option window and set your editor (without path or with an absolute path)

Usage

Just click on the extension button or use the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-E), edit your message in your editor (while editing, the compose window is disabled), save, close, and the message will be updated in the compose window.
Emacs users can install this major mode designed for EE (look here for details).

HTML Edition

When editing a HTML message, the External Editor button provides a drop-down menu allowing to edit as HTML (thus keeping all text enhancements), or as plain text.

Unicode support

Starting with version 0.6, unicode is supported. You must set unicode encoding in the Compose window before launching External Editor: Menu Options/Character Encoding: Unicode (UTF-8).

Headers Edition

Headers can be edited in the external editor, given as a comma separated list in a paragraph before the message content.

Supported headers are: Subject, To, Cc, Bcc, Reply-To, Newsgroup.

Subject:  Here is the subject  
To:       adressTo1, adressTo2  
Cc:       adressCc1  
Bcc:  
Reply-To:  
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=# Don't remove this line #=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-  
... the mail content begins here ...

But you can then modify it, use multiple lines, and add as many headers type as you want. Example:

To: adresseTo1, adresseTo2  
adresseTo3  
adresseTo4, adresseTo5  
Cc: adresseCc1  
adresseCc2, adresseCc3  
To:adresseTo6  
To:adresseTo7  
...  
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=# Don't remove this line #=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Warnings

  • Your external editor must run in foreground, i.e. must not return before you close the file.
    • NEdit: use "nedit" or "nc -wait"
    • gvim: use "gvim --nofork"
    • and for vim: use "xterm -e vim"

Supported platforms

External Editor has been tested on Windows (XP and later) and Linux. It also works on Mac OSX, beginning with Thunderbird 1.1.

How to build

Make sure you have perl and zip installed on your system and run:

make

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