How to Chat in Mozilla Thunderbird

Set up and use the helpful chat feature

What to Know

  • In Thunderbird, select File > New > Chat Account. Enter a username and password for your chat service, then click Finish to exit.
  • To chat, go to Tools > Chat Status > Show Accounts. Click Connect next to the account you want to go online with, then select Chat.
  • Thunderbird is compatible with the following chat services: IRC, XMPP, Twitter, and Google Talk.

This article explains how to set up and use the chat feature in Mozilla Thunderbird so you can use instant messaging with your contacts. Instructions apply to Thunderbird 15 and later. To chat in Thunderbird, you'll need an account with an online instant messaging or chat provider, such as IRC, XMPP, Twitter, and Google Talk.

Start the New Account Wizard

Thunderbird's New Account Wizard makes it easy to configure chat.

  1. At the top of the Thunderbird window, select File > ​New.

  2. Select Chat Account.

  3. Enter a Username. For IRC, you'll have to enter your IRC server name, e.g. irc.mozilla.org for Mozilla's IRC server. For XMPP, you'll also have to enter your XMPP server name. 

  4. Enter the password for your chat service. A password is optional for an IRC account and is only required if you have reserved your nickname on the IRC network.

  5. When you reach Advanced Options, just click Continue, as you won't need these settings.

  6. You will be presented with a Summary screen. Click Finish to finish the wizard and start chatting.

How to Use Chat

Once you have your chat account configured, here's how to start chatting:

  1. Select the Tools menu and click Chat Status.

  2. Select Show Accounts.

  3. Click Connect next to the account you want to go online with.

  4. Click on the Chat tab next to the Write tab to start and join conversations.

More on Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free email program that offers a range of options for PC users without access to robust paid software like Microsoft Outlook. Allowing you to integrate multiple mailboxes with SMTP or POP protocols, Thunderbird is a lightweight, responsive piece of software. Thunderbird is developed by Mozilla, the group behind Firefox.

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