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How to Set Up Chat Accounts in Mozilla Thunderbird

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Some will talk only via Google. Some chat by Facebook exclusively.

Some discussion channels are on IRC. Some chat rooms are built on XMPP. Some conversations take place on Twitter.

Mozilla Thunderbird can talk to them all. If you like instant messaging programs that let you connect to many a chat and IM service, how about an email program that can do just that, too — in addition to helping you manage email messages?

Setting up accounts with various protocols, services and servers is relatively easy, and Mozilla Thunderbird brings conversations using all your accounts together in a simple, unified chatting window.

Add and Set Up Chat Accounts in Mozilla Thunderbird

To set up a new chatting account in Mozilla Thunderbird:

  • Select Tools | Account Settings… (Windows, Mac) or Edit | Account Settings (Linux) from the menu in Mozilla Thunderbird.
  • Click Account Actions beneath the accounts list.
  • Select Add Chat Account… from the menu that pops up.
  • To add a Facebook Chat account:
    • Make sure Facebook Chat is highlighted.
    • Click Continue.
    • Enter your Facebook user name under Username:.
      • Do not use the email address or phone number you may use to log on to Facebook.
      • You can type either the plain Facebook user name or @chat.facebook.com ("me@chat.facebook.com", for instance and excluding the quotation marks, if your Facebook user name is "me").
    • Click Continue.
    • Type your Facebook password under Password:.
    • Click Continue again.
    • Optionally, enter a name for your account in conversations — say, "me" — under Alias:; only you will see this name.
    • Click Continue.
    • Now click Done.
  • To add a Twitter account:
    • Make sure Twitter is selected under Chat network.
    • Click Continue.
    • Enter your Twitter user name under Username:.
    • Click Continue again.
    • Optionally, type an alias for the account in conversations under Alias:; the alias will be used for yourself in conversations (and only you can see it).
    • Optionally, to track keywords (and get a message when one of them is mentioned on Twitter):
      • Click to expand Twitter Options.
      • Enter the keywords you want to track under Tracked keywords; separate keywords with commas (but no spaces).
    • Click Continue.
    • Make sure Connect this account now. is checked.
    • Click Done.
    • In the Twitter authentication window that appears:
      • Make sure your Twitter user name appears over Username or email.
      • Type your Twitter password over Password.
      • You can leave Remember me unchecked; Mozilla Thunderbird will still be able to log you into Twitter automatically.
      • Click Authorize app.
  • To add a Google Talk account:
    • Make sure Google Talk is highlighted.
    • Click Continue.
    • Type your Google Talk user name (say, your Gmail email address) under Username:.
    • Click Continue.
    • Now type your Google Talk password under Password:.
    • Click Continue.
    • Optionally, enter a name you want to appear next to messages you send (and visible only for you) under Alias:.
    • Click Continue once more.
    • Now click Done.
  • To add an IRC server and account:
    • Make sure IRC is selected.
    • Click Continue.
    • Type your user name at the IRC server under Username:.
      • Mane IRC servers let you make up a user name without registering separately.
    • Enter the IRC server under Server:.
    • Click Continue.
    • Type the password for your IRC account under Password.
      • If you need no password to log on to the IRC server (or want Mozilla Thunderbird to ask you for your password every time you connect to the server), you can leave the Password: field blank, of course.
    • Click Continue again.
    • Optionally, enter the name you want to appear in chats and conversations when you post something under Local Alias.
    • Optionally, too, flip open IRC Options to specify a different server port, SSL for an encrypted connection and other settings.
    • Click Continue.
    • Now click Done.
  • To add an XMPP (Jabber) account:
    • Double-click XMPP under Please choose the network of your chat account..
    • Enter your XMPP account's name under Username:.
    • Click Continue.
    • Type your XMPP account's password under Password:.
    • Click Continue.
    • If you want a different name than your XMPP user name to appear in chat transcripts, type the desired alias under Alias; only you will see this name.
    • To specify the XMPP server:
      • Expand XMPP Options.
      • Enter the XMPP server name under Server.
      • Optionally, set the server port under Port.
    • Click Continue again.
    • Click Done.
  • Click OK.

You can now chat with contacts and in chat rooms right inside Mozilla Thunderbird.

(Updated September 2012)

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