Browse the Web in Your Email Client with ThunderBrowse

February 15, 2011, By Christian Cawley

One of the great things about email is the ability to share links to different webpages. While more methods have emerged for doing this over the years, such as Facebook and Twitter, email is the best choice to get the link you want to share to everyone you know; after all, not everybody is one Facebook!

Discovering a useful new website is often a good experience, but there can be an enforced delay in checking it out as you wait for a browser to load. This depends on your email client, however.

For instance, Microsoft Outlook users can view web pages within that application, useful for checking web-based calendars and schedules. With the Outlook address bar all you need to do is enter an address, and with the email client settings configured correctly the main Outlook window can be used as a browser.

If you use Mozilla Thunderbird, however, it isn’t as easy – but there is now away to do something similar thanks to the ThunderBrowse add-on.

ThunderBrowse browser plugin for Thunderbird

Installing ThunderBrowse

In order to take advantage of this great extension and turn your open source email client into a multifunction email and web browser tool, visit or find the extension in Thunderbird via Tools > Add-ons > Get Add-ons and search for “thunderbrowse”. In the search results you should see the extension listed – select this and click Add to Thunderbird….

By following the on-screen instructions following this you will then be able to install the add-on, which will require you to click the Restart Thunderbird button to continue.

Note that ThunderBrowse is also compatible with the PostBox and SpiceMail email clients.

Configuring ThunderBrowse

As Thunderbird restarts, the ThunderBrowse add-on will require some configuration, as indicated in the ThunderBrowse Setup box that will appear. Click Next to begin; the first choice is to specify how you will use ThunderBrowse. Select Browse websites in Thunderbird unless you want to use the email client exclusively as a browser.

After clicking Next again, specify whether or not you want to enable tabbed browsing before proceeding to options about this followed by some various extra features for enabling things such as URL completion. A few more clicks of Next and the tool should be fully configured.

Using ThunderBrowse

Opening webpages in ThunderBrowse is easy; all you need to do is open an email message that features a link and then click this.

When you select your first email message to view in Thunderbird after installing ThunderBrowse you should notice that things have changed slightly – there is now an address bar across the top of your email messages!

Clicking a link within a message will open the selected page in a new tab within your email client; if you view emails in preview mode, this new tab will appear in the preview pane. Conversely emails opened fully in their own tabs will then have a set of “sub-tabs” open for each link from that email message that you click.

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