How to View Web Pages From Directly Within Thunderbird

This tutorial will guide you through the process of configuring Thunderbird so that when you click on a link in an email the web pages open in a new tab within Thunderbird itself (without having to open your web browser).

Note: the screenshots in this guide are taken from Thunderbird running in Windows 10. If you’re using macOS or Linux you’ll have no trouble following along as the steps are virtually identical.

  1. Get started by launching Thunderbird. Click the Menu button (the one that looks like 3 lines on top of each other, see screenshot below) and select Add-ons from the list.
  2. the Thunderbird menu button with the list expanded

  3. When the Add-ons Manager opens, select the Extensions item from the column on the left side of the window, and then search for BrowseInTab in the Find more add-ons field.
  4. the Extensions tab for Thunderbird

  5. Locate BrowseInTab from the list of add-ons and then click the + Add to Thunderbird button.
  6. an arrow pointing to a + Add to Thunderbird button

  7. When prompted, click the Add button.
  8. an arrow pointing to an Add button

  9. After BrowseInTab has been installed, click the OK button.
  10. You can now close the BrowseInTab tab in Thunderbird, but keep the Add-ons Manager and Inbox tabs open.
  11. the tabs at the top of Thunderbird

  12. Go back to your Inbox and locate an email that has a link somewhere in it. Right-click (Mac users ctrl + click) the link and select Open Link in New Tab.
  13. thunderbird right click on a link to open web pages

  14. This will open up a new tab in Thunderbird and display that web page right inside of it.
  15. thunderbird opening web pages in a new tab

  16. If you click on the link “normally” (click once using the left mouse button, Mac users just single-click) it will still open up in a browser. If you’d prefer to have web pages open in a new tab inside of Thunderbird when you “normal” click them – and have links open in a browser when you right-click them (ie. swap the default behaviour) – keep reading. Otherwise – you’re done!
  17. To switch the default behaviour so that links open in a new tab within Thunderbird when you click on them and will only open in a browser when you right-click them, head back to the Add-ons Manager tab and locate the BrowseInTab entry. Click the “3 dots” button (see screenshot below) and select Options from the list.
  18. the Thunderbird Add-ons Manager with an arrow pointing to the Options section

  19. Choose the Options tab and then place a check in the box labelled Link click opens in a new tab instead of an external browser. Now the link clicking actions are reversed – click on a link and it opens in a tab in Thunderbird, right-click a link and it opens in your browser.
  20. setting thunderbird to open web pages inside of itself with a single click

  21. All done! You can now view web pages right from within Thunderbird and don’t have to open a browser at all.

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