10 reasons you should be using Thunderbird

As an Internet marketer, I do a lot of Internet based research every day. Opening and closing applications to get to the content I need can be a huge pain. Luckily, Thunderbird has a whole host of features and add-ons which together provide an all in one interface for reading and organizing email, RSS, web pages, and newsgroups.

1. Open Source Add-ons: Forget waiting around for Microsoft to update Outlook with that killer feature you know would rock. There is a whole community of developers out there doing just that with Thunderbird add-ons. If someone else hasn’t gotten around to developing your ideal feature, you can always do it yourself!

2. RSS Management: Sure, there are a ton of RSS readers in both software and web form, but wouldn’t you prefer to read your RSS feeds in the same application as your email? Thunderbird has integrated RSS support. Even better, you can browse through the list of messages for each feed in its own folder and delete the posts you’ve already read or don’t want to read. New messages automatically appear the next time Thunderbird checks for new messages. I’m able to keep up with 70 some odd RSS feeds with ease.

3. Unread Folders: If you have tons of email, newsgroup, and RSS folders, you may not want to browse your whole folder list looking for the folders with unread messages. Thunderbird includes an unread folders view which makes it much easier to focus on the folders that need attention.

4. Thunderbrowse: Outside of Thunderbird’s RSS management capabilities, this is by far the best part of my Thunderbird experience. Thunderbrowse is a Thunderbird add-on which turns your email message pane into a browser. Load links in emails directly in the message pane. Of course it wouldn’t be Mozilla without tabs, and Thunderbrowse gives you the option to load links into separate tabs in the message pane. The only drawback to Thunderbrowse, is that it doesn’t handle JavaScript very well so you may have to load certain pages in a browser. Oh, the agony.

5. The Mozilla Foundation: Mozilla is the nonprofit organization behind Firefox and Thunderbird. Besides producing some really great products, Mozilla and their network of developers are just a swell bunch of people. I’ve worked on one project with the Mozilla Foundation and I can personally attest to their commitment to quality and the people who use their software.

6. Subject or Sender Quick Search: While browsing through folders you may have the need to quickly find an email by subject or sender. Thunderbird provides a quick search bar where you can find the message you’re looking for with one click and a few keystrokes.

7. Export Features: Transitioning to a new computer can be a giant nuisance, but Thunderbird makes it easy. Select from built in export / import features or download a whole host of add-ons designed to make sure your experience on your old computer is the same as your new one. The RSS export feature is also a great way to share your RSS feeds with your friends.

8. Usenet Support: While not the best newsgroup reader of all time, Thunderbird is a very capable Usenet program in its own right. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the same sorting and organizing features available with Thunderbird’s email and RSS capabilities.

9. Sort By: Choose from a wide variety of sorting options to make finding messages in your folders much easier. Sort options – date, star, order received, priority, sender, size, status, subject, read, tags, junk status, attachments, ascending, descending, threaded, unthreaded.

10. Adaptive Junk Mail Filtering: By flagging spam in Thunderbird you can use adaptive junk mail filtering to train Thunderbird to recognize spam. Over time, Thunderbird will “learn” what you consider spam and filter accordingly. Adaptive junk mail filtering also works with RSS feeds so you have the option to tag specific types of posts as junk.

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