Add Address Book into Thunderbird

Thunderbird default address book is using a localized system. It is not native to facilitate remote address book system. Yet, we depends on remote address book system so much that we can’t detach the dependency from it.

Therefore, this section guides you on how to connect Thunderbird with remote address book.

Frequently Asked Question

There is a TBSync extension in the Store. Why don’t we use it?

Tested on our side that it’s not working alongside its sister extension on November 29, 2019 with Thunderbird 68.

Also, we are not interested to maintain a forked version of TBSync.

Preprations

There are a number of information needed to add address book.

Get App Specific Passwords

By 2019, major email service providers (e.g. Gmail, ZOHO, ProtonMail, etc.) all had implemented 2-factor/2-step authentication with its App Specific Passwords system for enhancing security countermeasures.

Hence, in all our email account guides, whenever we mention password, we strictly refer to App Specific Password. If your email service provider does not provide such security feature, there are only 2 options left:

  1. Use your normal email password but change it periodically.
  2. Raise the security feature request to your service provider.

obtain app specific password from service provider

Get Thunderbird Version

Head over to Help > About Thunderbird. You should get your Thunderbird version number. We need this to download the corresponding add-on later.

getting thunderbird version from about

Obtain your CardDAV URL

Different email service providers provide different CardDAV URL for your mailbox. Hence, you need to obtain it from your service provider.

Install SOGO Connecter Add-On

Thunderbird relies on an external connector called SOGO. Hence, we need to instlal it into the Thunderbird.

Download SOGO Connector

Firstly, you need to go and download it. You must ensure the add-on version matches your Thunderbird version.

The link is available at:

https://sogo.nu/download.html#/frontends

Download SOGO Add-On

Install the Add-On

Once done, head over to Thunderbird. WE can install the add-on via the Adds-On Manager. To open the manager, Goto Tools > Adds-on. Then:

  1. On the top panel, click the setting gears.
  2. Select Install Add-on From File....

Install Add-on From File

Look for the downloaded SOGO connecter .xpi file and open it.

seek sogo xpi add on file

Thunderbird will prompt for installing the add-on confirmation, you can proceed to press Add.

confirm add on sogo connector

After adding, Thunderbird will ask you to restart itself. You should proceed with Restart Now. Upon returning, your SOGO connector is ready and you can close the manager tab.

restart thunderbird with new addon

Setup Remote Address Book

Now, we will proceed to setup remote address book.

Open Address Book

Head over to Tools > Address Book.

open address book

Create New Remote Address Book

You do:

  1. select File > New > Remote Address Book

NOTE: if you do not have Remote Address Book, it means the SOGO connector is not properly configured. You can remove and reinstall again.

create address book

Once opened, you can proceed to setup accordingly:

  1. Give the book a name (ZORLab recommends “Remote” so you know which book is higher priority).
  2. Insert your CARDDAV URL into URL field.
  3. Check Periodic sync and keep the value to minimum. You may check the preferred notification style.
  4. Check Show Notifications for Manual Synchronizations.
  5. Check Show Notification when saving a card.
  6. Check Show Notifications on startup.
  7. Un-check Read Only as you would want to add/update/remove the address book over time.
  8. Select OK.

configure new remote address book

Configure Remote Address Book As Default

Now that everything is setup correctly. It’s time to configure it. Right-click on your remote address book and select Default startup directory.

set remote address book as default

Synchonize the Remote Address Book

To begin synchronization, right-click again on your address book and select Synchronize.

You will be prompted to enter “email username/address” and “password” for authentication. You may fill them in accordingly, especially and preferably with app-specific password when available.

synchonize remote address book

Test Out Synchonized Connection

When no error occurs, it means you’re connected. If you see a blank list, it means your remote server is having an empty contact list. Do not worry, any new email addresses will be captured and update to the remote server as backup.

check synchonized remote address book