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Strollin' around
Status: New idea

Currently, while using the toolbar on the left to switch between mail, calender and contacts, Thunderbird opens a new tab. Even if you switch back to mail, the other tabs remain open.

There should be an option to disable the tabs and only switch using the toolbar on the left.

Why: opening tabs is a behaviour expected from a web browser, not an e-mail client. Thunderbird offers a dedicated toolbar, there is no need to open tabs.

Benefits: gain of space, more intuitive for new users

Status changed to: New idea
Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks for submitting an idea to the Mozilla Connect community! Your idea is now open to votes (aka kudos) and comments.

Making moves

Tabs exist in non-web products and have since before the web existed and especially before tabs were incorporated into browsers.  It is not a browser or a web-centric idea.  Even if it were, tabs are a useful way of being able to interact with multiple windows within the same application, without having to continually reload it.

Making moves

I find this annoying as well. I know thunderbird is built on top of Firefox, but the tabs as they exist today don't make much sense in the workflow of email IMO.

Making moves

Currently, while using the toolbar on the left to switch between mail, calender and contacts, Thunderbird opens a new tab. Even if you switch back to mail, the other tabs remain open.

They are designed to 'open in a new tab', so that's what they currently do. They do not open in an 'existing tab' which I believe you are requesting as an option.

But regardless, tabs only stay open if you choose to leave them open. You do not have to leave them open with the exception of Mail for obvious reasons.

The 'Mail' which is the Folder Pane etc is not something you can switch off. If that tab is not displaying then you have a problem.

Ctrl+Tab keys then offer a quick jump between tabs.

Tabs are used in loads of programs not just Web Browsers - since when have tabs been only designed for web browsers?  Ever used Adobe Reader or text editors like Notepadd++ ?

re: gain of space,  more intuitive for new users

When opened tabs are selected, they use the same footprint - so use the same identical space with the exception of the actual name of the tab, but all tabs open in the same tab zone. There is no saving of space.

Why would tabs which you opened seem more intuitive if they suddenly disappeared? Baring in mind there are alot more things in Thunderbird that can be opened in a new tab than appear in the 'Spaces toolbar'.  It's not considered intuitive if a generic format is not used.

Example: You are using the calendar maybe checking Tasks or Events when you need to check an important new mail that had just arrived before you continue dealing with Tasks. Do you think it is more intuitive for the Tasks to auto close before you have finished requiring extra clicks to get it open again just because you put focus on the Mail tab? The answer is no.

Your idea is worth considering, but disabling Mail to allow Address Books to open or indeed anything else in the Spaces toolbar - do you not see a flaw in this arguement ?





Making moves

This would be fantastic. Tabs are counter-intuitive and a waste of space. They are very annoying, too!

New member

I would love to see this as well!

Making moves

@Toad-Hallplease move on if you want tabs. You're wasting your time. No one is here to argue. People have different preferences, that is why we post them. It's an ask, not a demand. It's a suggestion, not a demand. Tabs suck, end of story. You writing a whole article of nonsense isn't gonna convince anyone who came to this post and agreed with it. You like tabs? Good for you. Others, myself included, think they're useless and annoying. Thanks for the article!

Making moves

I agree people have preferences. There is no need to get upset when people point out that it's not that simple as it effects countless other aspects that have not been discussed or considered and it's not nonsense.

It may be more helpful if further comments could be expanded such as exactly which options to open in a tab are desirable and which are not.


New member

I can see that people have different opinions. I would like the bar on the left would sort of jump between workspaces - if I'm in the mail, I will see opened tabs related to my mail, if I'm in the calendar, I would only see the tabs related to the calendar.

If I don't want to use tabs, switching items on the left bar would just change the content of the main area.

I agree that having a tab for a mail and another one for a calendar (contacts, ...) is just a duplication as I already have these "tabs" on the left bar.