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Revision as of 14:03, 9 March 2007 by Erik Krause (talk | contribs) (How to use thunderbird as list reader)

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Yahoo mailing list interface is known to be clumsy and inconvenient and many mail readers are not very good to follow a high traffic mailin list like Panotools NG. Hence NNTP usenet news feed was provided in order to use more appropriate tools - i.e. newsreaders - for that task. This page introduces some newsreaders and shows how to configure them.


Being not only a powerful and free mail client Thunderbird has a reasonably news interface as well. Even better: It can be greatly enhanced with some extensions.



If you don't already have it, get Thunderbird f.e. from and install it. A standard installation would do.

  • On a fresh install you get the Account Wizard automatically. On an already running version you choose Account Settings from the Tools menu and click Add Account.
  • In Account Wizard check "Newsgroup Account" and proceed.
  • Enter your name, proceed.
  • Enter as Newsgroup Server, proceed.
  • Name the account to your liking, proceed.
  • Finish the wizard.

Now your account should show up in the left pane. Click it. In the right pane you should be presented, with some options. Choose "Manage newsgroup subscriptions". You also can right click the account name and choose Subscribe.

In the Subscribe dialog expand the newsgroups tree and check local.panotools.main which should be the only available group from this server. After you click Ok the (abbreviated to l.p.main) name of the group should show up in the left panel.

Once you click the name you are asked to download headers. Checking Download all headers will download all headers (which is subject line, sender etc. but not message body) from the server. Message bodies are downloaded on request.


Presumable you want to write and reply to messages as well. Since the newsgroup is readonly this has to be done directly to your mail server. If you don't use Thunderbird as a mail reader already you need to specify a mail account:

From the Tools menu choose Account Settings. Click Add Account. In Account Wizard

  • check Email account and proceed.
  • Enter your name under which you are already known in Panotools NG and your email address you use on the list, proceed.
  • If you don't want Thunderbird to fetch your mail you can enter "None" for Incoming Server, proceed.
  • Add your mail account user name as Outgoing User name. If you don't want Thunderbird to fetch your mail you can enter anything you want as Incoming User Name, proceed.
  • Name the account to your liking, finish.

If you don't want to use Thunderbird for incoming mail got to Tools->Account Settings again and disable automatic mail downlaod and checking. You can even delete the incoming mail account since outgoing is a different one.

You will need to use "Reply to Sender only" from the context click menu, since the "Reply" button will always try to reply to the newsgroup directly (which isn't possible). For a more convenient solution see below.


There are a couple of extensions to make the Thunderbird a more convenient newsreader.

Reset Quote Header

Highly recommended. Allows to select text before replying such that only the selected text is quoted in the outgoing mail (this is required by the etiquette). As another benefit you can edit your quote header: [1]

Reply In Group

This extension provides some useful buttons for the main toolbar, f.e. a "Reply to Sender" button (see above): [2]


Allows to color quote levels with the additional benefit of altering the default blue line quoting: [3]

Right Click Watch Ignore

Adds "Watch Thread" and "Ignore Thread" to the right click menu: [4]


adds a couple of useful toolbar buttons to easily filter for watched threads. Can also color watched threads.


Thunderbird has some neat features to make following discussions easier.

Filter to detect own messages

A filter to automatically mark threads with own messages is easy to create: With the newsgroup selected in the left pane choose Tools->Message Filters from the menu. Click New and add name the filter to your liking. Choose "From", "contains" and add your name you use in the list. In the action pane below choose "Watch Thread".

If you like you can additionally color your own messages if you press the + button in the action pane and choose "Label Message As", "Personal".

(to be continued) --Erik Krause 15:03, 9 March 2007 (CET)