Feature Comparison: Mozilla Thunderbird - Microsoft Outlook

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If you want to see the comparison of LibreOffice suite vs. MS Office, see here: Feature Comparison: LibreOffice - Microsoft Office.


This page compares the features of Mozilla Thunderbird 60 (download) and Microsoft Outlook 2019. LibreOffice does not have a PIM⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg module and therefore users looking for a suitable PIM⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg software need to seek alternatives for email, calendars, contacts, tasks, and chat features. This comparison table has the objective to assist users in this search. Mozilla Thunderbird is a fully-featured PIM⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg tool. Like LibreOffice, Thunderbird is a free, open-source, cross-platform program. There are alternatives to Mozilla Thunderbird available, such as Evolution⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg and Kontact⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg.

Please note that neither the LibreOffice developer team nor the Document Foundation gives any official recommendation for a PIM software replacement for LibreOffice.

This table separates major and minor feature differences and also includes notes on Thunderbird add-ons. The comparison highlights differences and therefore does not display any features which are present in both PIM⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg programs.


The feature comparison table is work in progress and currently incomplete.
This table is a compilation by users and not an official document by the Document Foundation or by the Mozilla Foundation⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg.
Please feel free to improve this page. Last update to this table was made at 14.05.2019

General Personal Information Managers: Mozilla Thunderbird vs. Microsoft Outlook

Major Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Availability free of charge Yes [1], donations are accepted [2] No, proprietary software plus additional charges for language packs
Open-source software (OSS)⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg Yes, licensed under MPL⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg No, proprietary and closed-source software⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg
Portable version that runs on USB flash disks (without installation) Yes [3] No
Sharing a profile between different operating systems Yes [4] No
Cross-platform availability BSD, Linux, macOS, Unix, Windows  macOS, Windows (based on different code bases [5])
Supported versions of Microsoft Windows Windows 7, 8, 10; Windows Server 2008 R2 [6] Windows 10; Windows Server 2019 [7]
Eco-system of add-ons/extensions Complex ecosystem of over 1,200 valuable add-ons [8] Many proprietary add-ins available [9]
Message store type/profile data Supports one large file (mbox⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg) per mailbox and file per message (Maildir⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg) [10] Supports only one large file (.pst⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg and .ost) [11]
Localization 100 languages (59 fully localized [12] and 41 partially localized) 96 languages (60 main languages for purchase, 44 more languages (in total 60) from Language Interface Packs (LIPs) for free download) [13]
Changing language of the user interface on the fly Yes [14] Supported, but requires additional purchase of language packs / download of local LIPs
Officially available as native 64-bit application on OS Linux [15], macOS [16], Windows [17]  macOS, Windows
Bi-diectional text support (eg. right-to-left languages) Mediocre support under the hood, but mostly unexposed by default. Better but incomplete support using the BiDi Mail UI extension, including most advanced features Outlook lacks) All fundamental functionality supported out of the box for HTML mail, not for plain text. Lacks per-paragraph direction and charset auto-detection capabilities and charset error correction support
MAPI (Microsoft Exchange server protocol) No, but supported via ExQuilla for Microsoft Exchange, DavMail add-on or How to connect Thunderbird to Microsoft Exchange Supported
Encrypt email/PIM database Partial, several methods (from weak to strong) described in Protecting the contents of the profile Supported (via password setting for .pst file)
Deployment method On Premises On Premises, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)/Online
Support for ActiveSync No, but supported via TbSync add-on

TbSync supports via Exchange ActiveSync: Freenet, Hotmail, Kopano, Office 365, Outlook.com, Strato, EAS v2.5 or v14.0 compatible servers.
TbSync supports via CalDAV/CardDAV: Fruux.com, GMX.de, mailbox.org, Nextcloud, ownCloud, posteo.de, sabre/dav compatible server, SOGo server

Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Not supported Supported with Developer tab in Ribbon
Minor Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) Supported Not supported
Usenet News Reader Supported Not supported
User Interface XUL⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg interface can be user customized via the use of themes (which can reposition and skin controls) [18]. Ribbon UI; Classic UI available as third-party paid extension
Unicode paths support Thunderbird does not appear to support UNICODE paths on Windows [19] Supported [20]
User interface improved to enable use on touch screen devices on desktop operating systems No Slightly adjusted user interface for touch screen devices, but no redesign
Versions of PIM for mobile operating systems No Outlook App (for Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android) with reduced functionality [21]
Online/cloud version of PIM No Outlook web apps with reduced functionality. [22]

Email module: Mozilla Thunderbird vs. Microsoft Outlook

Major Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Send large attachments via web services Supported (Inbuilt support for Box, Hightail; support for other services available via WebDAV add-on Not supported
Unified/Global Inbox Supported for multiple POP accounts (see Global Inbox) Not supported
Unified folders Supported (see Unified folders) Not supported
UTF-8 Supported

support for various ‘Latin letters with double acute’ (eg. ő) representations: entity (ő), decimal (ő) and hexadecimal (ő) [23].

No support for ‘Latin letters with double acute’ representation: entity (ő Ő ű Ű) [24]
Spell checker, AutoSpellcheck, Spelling as you type 130 languages supported [25] Limited, requires additional purchase of language packs
Email Merge No, but supported via Mail Merge add-on Requires the same versions of Outlook and Word [26]
File size limit [27]

IMAP⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg: available storage
local folders: 4 GB
maildir⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg: available storage
mbox⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg: available storage
POP3⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg: 4 GB


default: 50 GB
user-defined: via the Windows registry

Delay sending email No, but supported via Send Later add-on Supported
Conversation view No, but supported via Thunderbird Conversations add-on Supported
Email tracking read (date and time) receipt collated in sent email Not supported Supported
Follow up attribute Not supported Supported with ability to set: sender flag {Call, Do not Forward, Follow up, For Your Information, Forward, No Response Necessary, Read, Reply, Reply to All, Review}; start, due and reminder dates/time; recipient flag
Email voting Not supported Supported with voting buttons {Approve;Reject}, {Yes;No}, {Yes;No;Maybe}
Minor Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Bottom-posts replies Supported No, but via add-on
Edit received email messages and subjects Not supported by default, but workaround Supported [29]
Set permissions on IMAP⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg mailboxes/folders No, but supported via IMAP ACL extension add-on. Not supported
Email category Not supported Supported

Calendar module: Mozilla Thunderbird vs. Microsoft Outlook

Major Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
CalDAV (Calendaring Extensions to WebDAV) Supported No, but via add-on
Connect Calendar to MS Exchange server No, but supported via Exchange EWS Provider add-on Supported
Show birthdays from address book in calendar No, but supported via CardBook add-on Supported
Connect to Google Calendar No, but supported via Provider for Google Calendar add-on Supported
Viewing more than one calendar next to each other Not supported Supported
Minor Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Auto-detect date information in emails Supported Not supported

Contacts module: Mozilla Thunderbird vs. Microsoft Outlook

Major Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Chat/IM/VoIP details Supported (Google Talk, AIM, Yahoo!, Skype, QQ, MSN, ICQ, Jabber, IRC) Partial support (Skype, IM address)
Automatically add contacts to address book (recipients of emails or replies) Supported No, but via add-on
CardDAV (vCard Extensions to WebDAV) No, but supported via CardBook add-on

CardBook supports: 1&1 MailXchange, atmail, Baïkal Server, Cozy, DAVdroid, DAViCal, Deepen Dhulla OpenSync App for Android, Fastmail, Framagenda, GMX, Google, Horde, Hover, iCloud, Kolab, Kolab Now, Kopano, macOS Contacts Server, Mail Fence, Mail-in-a-Box, mailbox.org, MDaemon, Memotoo, MyPhoneExplorer, Nextcloud, Open-Xchange, outlook.com/hotmail, ownCloud, Posteo, Radicale, sabre/dav, SecureBlackbox, Synology, Tine 2.0, WebDAVBlackbox, Xandikos, Yahoo!, Yandex, Zarafa, Zentyal, Zimbra, Zoho, and more

No, but via add-on
Storing multiple phone numbers of the same type No, but supported via CardBook add-on Partial support (Business, Business 2, Home, Home 2; however, problems occur if contacts have multiple mobile phone numbers or more than 2 business/home phone numbers)
Categories No, but supported via CardBook add-on Supported
Notes Plain text in default AddressBook and CardBook add-on Supports complex formatting and pictures
Search Name or email when using default Address Book
name, email, telephone number, address, notes when using CardBook add-on
Name, email, telephone number, address, notes
Viewing options No, but better support with CardBook add-on Supported (People, Address Cards, By Category, Detailed Address Cards, Business Cards (with photos showing), Card, Phone, List)
Support for editing LDAP address books Only support for reading LDAP address books (moz#86405) Supported
Attaching files to contacts Not supported Supported
Rich text editing in notes field Not supported Supported
Show posts from social networks in address book Not supported Supported (Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing)
Minor Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Telephone number verification No, but supported via CardBook add-on Supported with “Check Phone Number” dialog box
Address (home, business, other) displayed in correct format for country No Supported with “Check Address” dialog box

Tasks module: Mozilla Thunderbird vs. Microsoft Outlook

Major Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Tasks Supported Supported
Minor Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019

Chat module: Mozilla Thunderbird vs. Microsoft Outlook

Major Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019
Chat networks (group limit) Facebook Chat (varies [30]), Google Talk⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg (100 [31]), IRC⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg (varies), Twitter⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg (unknown), XMPP⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg (user defined [32]), Yahoo (unknown) Freemium⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg Skype for Business⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg (Free 20; $2 per month per user 250) [33].
Minor Feature Differences Thunderbird 60 Outlook 2019

Important Thunderbird add-ons

Many add-ons are available for Mozilla Thunderbird. Most add-ons can be found at ATN. Below is a small sample of some Thunderbird add-ons:

Email module

  • CompactHeader. Switch between compact and expanded view.
  • Enigmail. OpenPGP message encryption and authentication.
  • ExQuilla for Microsoft Exchange. Connecting to Microsoft Exchange Web Services.
  • ImportExportTools. Adds some tools to import and export folders and messages.
  • Mail Merge. Mass mail and personal mail.
  • Mail Redirect. Allow to redirect (a.k.a. "remail") mail messages to other recipients.
  • QuickFolders (Tabbed Folders). Turn your favorites into tabs - open folders and subfolders, move mails without scrolling around or searching.
  • Send Later. True “Send Later” functionality to schedule the time for sending an email.
  • Signature Switch. Switch the signature on/off or choose a new one from your predefined set of signatures.

Calendar module

  • Lightning Calendar Tabs. Displays tabs which allows quick navigation between time periods in Lightning calendar.
  • More Snooze. This add allow to customize the snooze delay when snooze popup appears.
  • Purge Events Plus. Purge events from Sunbird and Lightning files and thereby cleans the calendar.
  • TbSync. Synchronize calendars, contacts and tasks to Thunderbird via Exchange ActiveSync or CalDAV/CardDAV.

Contacts module

  • CardBook. A new Thunderbird address book based on the CardDAV and vCard standards.
  • Contact Tabs. Enhances Thunderbird to give you quick access to all your contacts directly from Thunderbird's main window: Use the powerful search field to find your contacts and open them in a new tab for viewing and editing.
  • gContactSync. Synchronizes contacts & groups between Thunderbird and Google Contacts. Imports Facebook friends, contacts you follow on Twitter, and more.
  • TBDialout. Place phone calls directly from Thunderbird's address book.
  • TbSync. Synchronize calendars, contacts and tasks to Thunderbird via Exchange ActiveSync or CalDAV/CardDAV.
  • Telify. Converts telephone numbers into clickable links for use with CTI applications, SIP clients, Skype, Netmeeting, snom phones, the AGFEO TK-Suite Client and SerVonic IXI-PCS.

Tasks module

  • Chromatasks. Color task rows with calendar color.
  • TbSync. Synchronize calendars, contacts and tasks to Thunderbird via Exchange ActiveSync or CalDAV/CardDAV.

LibreOffice extensions for the integration with Thunderbird

  • EuroOffice Mail Archiver. Store and organize your e-mails in an OpenOffice Document. This version works only with Thunderbird mail folders, IMAP⁠Wikipedia logo v3.svg folders are not supported.

See also