I’d love to be 100% on the terminal with my email. I did run alpine for a while. But I have to admit, I actually do like Thunderbird.
Plaintext email composition in Thunderbird
Let’s get right to it. These instructions are valid for Thunderbird version 102.7.1:
Right-click on your account (e.g. email@example.com)
Select Composition & Addressing
Uncheck Compose messages in HTML format
Optional: Select from the drop-down: When quoting, start my reply below the quote. (See note below.)
Click the Global Composing Preferences… button (will open new tab)
Under Sending Format, select Only Plain Text
You can close the settings tab(s) now, changes are saved as you make them
|"When quoting, start my reply below the quote is known as "bottom posting". I respond to 99% of emails with inline replies, where I respond to a specific portion of the quoted email. I also delete anything I’m not replying to. So I don’t actually write my entire response at the bottom after the quote! (By contrast, Outlook and Gmail default to "top posting", which is why that style is so popular.)|
I know the ship has sailed on HTML email, but I refuse to be part of the problem!
Unfortunately, Thunderbird’s settings are a bit all over the place. I initially made this page to FINALLY write down the instructions to set this up so I don’t have to keep figuring it out by trial and error.
But then I discovered https://useplaintext.email/ which is awesome.
There are an excellent set of instructions there for a ton of email clients, including Thunderbird.
Since my focus is on Thunderbird specifically, my instructions above are a bit more verbose.
Here’s the semi-official wiki page I used to use to help me, which may or may not have additional info: Plain text e-mail - Thunderbird (kb.mozillazine.org).
I also use Thunderbird as my RSS reader. I’m sure other specialized feed readers are better, but the reason Thunderbird is the best for me is that I see it every time I check my email. If I had to open a separate program to read feeds, I probably wouldn’t bother.
(Imagine a rant here about how a feed reader should absolutely be built into every browser by default.)
TODO: add feed instructions for the latest tbird