If you’re not using Thunderbird for your email client, you should be. Thunderbird is created by the same development team that makes Firefox. I’m going to show you how to forward AOL mail, Yahoo mail, and Gmail to Thunderbird, and any other email service that allows POP3 or IMAP. Thunderbird can be set up to read from multiple accounts which makes your life easier and more efficient.

First go to http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/products/download.html?product=thunderbird-, and download the Thunderbird email client. (This link will automatically start your download when you visit it)

thunderbird account screenAfter installing Thunderbird, you are going to be presented with a dialog box that asks you for your email account information. The box will look similar to the one on the right. Here you can choose what kind of account you want Thunderbird to set up. As you can see, Thunderbird can be used for your email accounts, RSS feeds, and even newsgroups. For now, choose Email account (even if you’re setting up Gmail) and hit next.

The great thing about using Thunderbird is that it has the ability to have all of these accounts easily accessible in one place. This way your RSS feeds and emails can be read from the same window, instead of going to multiple sites and logging in to multiple accounts to read everything.

On the next screen (shown below) enter your name as you would want it to appear in your friend’s / coworker’s email inbox when they receive an email from you. Enter your email address in the box that says email address. thunderbird account screen 2

Next you want to select the email option that best fits what you want to do. POP3 email will download all messages from your email server onto your computer for you to read. IMAP will read the messages from the email server, but it won’t download them to your computer. All messages will remain on your email providers server. Check with your email service to see which one they offer. Gmail for example, offers both options, AOL, however, only provides the IMAP option.

If you choose IMAP the bottom half of the window will ask for your email service’s outbound address (usually smtp.emailservice.com) as you can see in the windowthunderbird account screen 3 above, my email service is through 1and1.com. The inbound / outbound server options can be seen on the screen on the right.

If you set up multiple email accounts Thunderbird will use the first outbound server you entered.

You can find the correct information for your email service at the following links:

Gmail forwarding help, AOL forwarding help, Yahoo forwarding help (Yahoo only allows POP3 access to yahoo mail plus subscribers)

The following link has information on other email services (this information may be out of date)

Email address information

Click next to go to the next screen after you’ve entered your information.

thunderbird account screen 4On the screen to the left you’re going to enter your user name for your email service. Most users will enter their full email address in this box. When you’ve entered your email address, click next.

If you’ve set up an email account already, your old outbound server will be used by default ss you can see on the bottom of the image. Another post will soon follow to show you how to set up multiple outbound servers.

The second to last screen (see below) will ask you to enter the name for the account. Try and name it something useful, such as Gmail work account, or AOL home email. Once you’re finished, hit next.

thunderbird account screen 5

Once you’ve finished entering all of your information the last screen will show you all the details you entered to make sure they’re correct. Once you’ve verified that your information is correct, hit finish and you’re done.

Click on the inbox and Thunderbird will start connecting to your email server. Enter your password to connect and your email will show up in the main window. In the password window there will be a check box asking to save your password, and if you’ve got an up-to-date anti virus program, then you’ll be safe to save it (saving your password will store it in an encrypted file on your computer, this is generally safe but as with anything, it is vulnerable to hackers). If you don’t trust the password manager to store your password, then don’t check the box, and you’ll have to enter your password every time you connect to check your email.

Stay tuned for a follow-up article explaining how to add more outgoing smtp servers so you can add more email accounts, and have them play nice with each other.