Learn to Quickly and Easily Integrate Skype Into Mozilla Thunderbird

Clicking on Names or Numbers in Thunderbird to Place Calls

Illustration of smart phones and cloud against blue background
Endai Huedl / Getty Images

The concept of unified communications aims to put your contacts within reach wherever you are. It is convenient to click on a contact's name or personal information in an email message to initiate a call, without being required to launch a softphone. This can be achieved by integrating a VoIP softphone service such as Skype into your Thunderbird email client. 

How to Make Skype Calls From Inside Thunderbird 

Your computer uses a protocol handler to govern how things are done—how calls are initiated or how data is transferred, for example—over the internet. Each application works with a protocol represented by a prefix such as http: for web pages, sip: for session initiation protocol, and ​skype: for Skype calls. The integration app identifies phone numbers in email messages and elsewhere and uses the protocol handler to map the number to the respective identifier in the service. As a result, a single click triggers the calling app to call the contact. 

Here are a couple of Mozilla add-ons for making Skype calls by clicking on contacts in Thunderbird. There are not many of them around. Of the few that exist, these two are the most up to date. They have ongoing support and deliver the goods satisfactorily. 

You can call directly from an email
You can call directly from an email. Herro Images / GettyImages

The Telify add-on works both on Thunderbird and Firefox, which means that you can use it to click on numbers and contact information in email messages and on web pages. Telify identifies numbers and presents a context-sensitive drop-down menu that allows the user to choose which service to use for calling. It works with several Skype and a number of SIP clients, Netmeeting, and a couple of third-party VoIP clients. 

The TBDialOut add-on adds toolbar buttons and gives context-sensitive menu options and clickable links for phone numbers. It also links directly to your Thunderbird address book. TBDialOut works exclusively with Thunderbird, which is why it is well integrated. However, TBDialOut has not been updated since 2012, so it may not be compatible with the most recent Thunderbird release.