Making Thunderbird Accessible

Thunderbird is the e-mail client that I use. It has all of the settings for G mail and many other popular e-mail services.

One way to download and install ThunderBird is to go to ninite and download their installer which will make it very easy. You can go to their accessible programs page at: https://ninite.com/accessible

Thunderbird can be very accessible but there are a few changes that need to be made. Below you’ll find how I have the settings in ThunderBird for my use. I use it with NVDA and this setup works very well for me.

One of the first things you’ll find after setting up your email account is ThunderBird’s Calendar.
I find it a pain and its easy to disable, Press tab or shift tab until you get to:
alert Thunderbird now contains calendaring functionality by integrating the Lightning extension. Disable button Alt+D
After pressing space bar on disable you’ll hear the following message:
alert Lightning will be removed the next time you restart Thunderbird. You can add it again at any time using the Add-ons Manager.
You should restart ThunderBird at this point either by using alt F4 to exit or pressing space bar on the restart button.

In the main screen of Thunderbird
Press alt followed by V for the View Menu.
Today Pane subMenu T 1 of 3
Show Today Pane F11 checked o 1 of 1 level 1
Press enter on that item to uncheck it.
You’ll hear this message after unchecking that item:
alert Lightning will be removed the next time you restart Thunderbird. You can add it again at any time using the Add-ons Manager.
You should restart ThunderBird at this point either by using alt F4 to exit or pressing space bar on the restart button.
After you restart you’ll find that the Today and Calendar options that were in the View menu have gone away.

In the main screen of Thunderbird
Press alt followed by v for the View Menu.
Toolbars subMenu T 1 of 3
I have all of the ToolBars in this section unchecked.

Layout subMenu L 2 of 3
Classic View radio menu item checked 1 of 3 level 1
Message Pane F8 not checked 3 of 3 level 1
The message pane is not something I use, you can toggle it on or off by pressing F8 from within Thunderbird if you want to use it.

To get to Thunderbird’s Options from the main screen press alt, followed by t for tools then o for options.

General 1 of 8
When Thunderbird launches, show the Start Page in the message area check box not checked

When new messages arrive: grouping
Show an alert check box not checked
Show a tray icon check box not checked
Play a sound check box checked

Display 2 of 8
Advanced tab selected 3 of 3
Open messages in: grouping
A new message window radio button checked 2 of 3

Composition 3 of 8
General tab 1 of 3
Confirm when using keyboard shortcut to send message check box not checked

Composition 3 of 8
Spelling tab 3 of 3
Check spelling before sending check box checked
Enable spell check as you type check box not checked

Those few changes should make a big difference in the accessibility of Thunderbird.
If you would like to disable the ability to click on a link in email, you can find directions in another blog post at: https://blindbites.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/how-to-disable-links-in-thunderbird/

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