• Thunderbird: How to get a Contact e-address to automatically appear in ‘TO’

    Home » Forums » AskWoody support » Questions: Browsers and desktop software » Questions: Browsers and desktop software – other » Thunderbird: How to get a Contact e-address to automatically appear in ‘TO’

    Author
    Topic
    #2480092

    I am new to Thunderbird and just learning how it works. I have a question about how to get a contact’s e-address to appear automatically in the ‘TO’ line of the ‘Write’ window.

    BACKGROUND: Initially, all of the choices for Address Book (All Address Books, Personal Address Book, Collected Addresses) were empty even though I had been sending e-mail (mostly to myself to test things). I had expected that every new ‘TO’ address that I used in a TB e-mail would be added to a TB Address Book. And I had expected that that ‘TO’ address would appear when I began to type it in the ‘TO’ line of a new TB e-mail. But, that didn’t happen. I was having to type in a ‘TO’ address anew each time I composed a TB e-mail.

    So, I went to my provider’s e-mail and exported its list of contacts to a cvs file, saved it with a filename on my PC, and then created an Address Book in Thunderbird by clicking on that provider’s account in TB in the left panel and then in the right panel under the heading “Import from Another Program”, I clicked on “Import”, and brought that .cvs file into TB.

    Now when I click on the Address Book tab, I see that .cvs filename in the left panel. I can click on a contact in that particular Address Book and the e-address will then appear in the ‘TO’ line of a TB e-mail.

    But, right now, this is the only way that I know of that will get the ‘TO’ line filled in, unless I manually type it out in full.

    Is there some setting in TB that will automatically fill in the ‘TO’ line once I begin typing the contact’s name (or at least give me some choices)? Or do I always have to click on a contact in a specific Address Book to get the ‘TO’ line to fill in?

    Viewing 4 reply threads
    Author
    Replies
    • #2480111

      WCHS: This might be somewhat different between different versions of TB, and also whether they are meant for Windows or macOS. But let’s give it a go:

      (1) Do you see in the top bar, or second one from the top, in the TB window a book-like icon labelled “Address Book”?

      No?

      Then right click on that bar and choose from the drop down menu that appears “Restore Defaults”, then click a button that says”Done” (or words to that effect) that closes the menu, and the “Address Book” icon should appear on the bar. {[( If you are really lucky.)]}

      The icon appeared. So now left-click on “Address Book.” That will open a window where you’ll see some similar icons, each named after one of the different address books you have available in TB.

      Click on one of these icons and see if there is anything in its address book. If it is empty, click on the next. And so on, until you: either find one book with addresses already in it that are from your previous correspondences, so those addresses will come up automatically in the email-to-be address field, when you start typing the address, or several possible ones will appear in a drop down list for you to choose. Do so and the one you choose will appear in the address bar: Success!!

      If  the “Address Book” icon does not show up on the upper bar, when it should have, or all the address books are empty, and you have already been sending emails …

      That will be weird but, hey! This is TB. Welcome to weird!

      And here we have reached the end of my TB science.

      Good luck trying the above, or best of  luck finding a better TB guru.

       

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

    • #2480324

      Thanks for your reply, Oscar. I thought I could ask my question by describing what is going on with TB and me, but it looks like I will have to provide screen shots to make my description and question clear.

      Yes, I see the Address Book icon. Earlier, when I first set up TB, I had dragged it to the Menu Bar. (attachment 1st screen–Menu Bar.JPG)
      1st-screen-Menu-Bar

      This is what I see when I click on the Address Book tab. A list of contacts opens up in the center column under All Address Books. It is the default startup directory. This same list of contacts also opens up in the center column under contacts in my bellsouth.net …. I imported this .cvs file from my e-mail provider (bellsouth). There is no list of contacts under Personal Address Book. There is only one contact under Collected Addresses — my bellsouth.net e-address, but I have no idea how it got there. (attachment 2nd screen–at Address Book.JPG)
      2nd-screen-at-Address-Book

      Now, the ‘TO’ line in a message fills in, when I click on 1) ‘Write’ or 2) the blue linked e-address of the contact in the screen above. (attachment 3rd screen–Write window from contact detail in imported contacts list.JPG)
      3rd-screen-Write-window-from-contact-detail-in-imported-contacts-list

      I don’t want to use that method (too many steps). I want to click on ‘Write’ in the Menu Bar (see the first screen for its presence on the Menu Bar) and type in the contact’s name in the Message/Write screen. But when I do, I get this: (See 4th screen–Write Windows from Menu Bar – address is in imported contacts.jpg. For some reason, it doesn’t show up in the text of this message even though it is supposed to be inserted in the message content.)

    • #2480335

      WCHS: Have you tried, before trying to write the very first email after that, first tapped on one of the Address Books you get to choose from and chosen that one?

      I would suggest trying that out now, even if you have already sent that very first TB email.

      (I’d thought TB gave you the choice, when setting it up, to import your addresses to an existing  Address Book in Windows, in your case, macOS in mine, so you did not have to create a cvs. file for that)

      If this last suggestion and commentary does no work for you, then this will put me right past the very end of my TB wisdom on this matter.

       

      Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

      MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
      Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
      macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

      • #2480345

        Have you tried, before trying to write the very first email after that, first tapped on one of the Address Books you get to choose from and chosen that one?

        Yes, I have tried that, as you see in the attachment “3rd screen–Write window from contact detail in imported contacts list” <here>.

      • #2480368

        (I’d thought TB gave you the choice, when setting it up, to import your addresses to an existing Address Book in Windows, in your case,

        I have no existing Address Book in Windows. My only address book exists with my e-mail provider.

        Long before I installed Thunderbird, I had set up the Windows 10 Mail, connecting it to my provider-e-mail account — the only e-mail account I have. (I wear only one hat and don’t need to separate vocation from avocation from home.)
        When I send mail with the Windows 10 Mail app, the ‘TO’ line gets automatically filled in with an address in my provider-e-mail contact list. So Windows 10 Mail is dynamically linked not only to the providers e-mail, but also to its contacts (and its calendar).

        Yes, you’d think that TB could do that, too, but apparently not, not without jumping through some presently unknown hoops.

    • #2480349

      Since creating this topic, I’ve discovered a few more things:
      A. The only contact that gets automatically inserted into the ‘TO’ line is MY e-address, which is the only one in Collected Addresses. As I say, how it got there in the first place, I do not know — maybe, because that is the e-address that was used to get TB up and working at the outset. However, if I add Anglin’s e-address to the list of Collected Addresses, then when I begin to type ‘Anglin’ (just starting out with ‘a’ ), it appears in full as a choice for filling in. (attachment is 2480357]
      5th-screen-Write-Window-address-is-under-Collected-Addresses

      B. I’ve tried making the contacts in my bellsouth_net Address Book the default startup directory (even closing and opening TB again and even restarting), but no address from there makes the ‘TO’ line fill in automatically.

      C. So, the Collected Addresses Address Book seems to be the source for automatic-fill-in of the ‘TO’ line.

      D. To the best of my understanding, then, all of my bellsouth contacts need to be in the Collected Addresses Address Book, if I want them to automatically fill in the ‘TO’ line. How do I do get them there?

      E. To try to answer that question, I’ve tried deleting the Collected Addresses Address Book and importing the contacts in my bellsouth_net .cvs file under Collected Addresses, but afterwards, none of the addresses, including my own which is in that list, will automatically fill in the ‘TO’ line, even after closing and opening TB and even after restarting.

      F. But when I deleted all of those imported addresses in Collected Addresses and manually entered my own e-address and Anglin’s e-address there, then my e-address and Anglin’s e-address automatically fill in the ‘TO’ line. That seems to point to a conclusion that an address has to be manually entered into Collected Addresses for it to automatically fill in the ‘TO’ line. It can’t be an imported address.

      None of this seems intuitive to me. Why will an address that is imported into Collected Addresses not automatically fill in, but the same address manually entered into Collected Addresses will?

      • #2480377

        @WCHS

        What do your Composition preferences look like? (Hamburger menu->Preferences->Composition->Addressing) The settings there will affect a) addresses being added to Collected Addresses (or wherever you choose) and b) autofilling addresses in outgoing mail.

        • #2481109

          What do your Composition preferences look like?

          There is no choice for Preferences under the Hamburger. But under the Hamburger there is a choice for Settings>Composition. Then under the Addressing Heading, the Local Addresses box is checked, the Directory Server box is unchecked, the box for Automatically add outgoing email addresses to my Collected Addresses is checked, Default startup directory in the address book window is All Address Books. It’s been that way from the outset — it got set up that way and I’ve changed nothing.

          Now, one week after having set up TB and leaving it the way TB set it up (i.e., with the TB defaults), the ‘TO’ line is now auto-filling — one laptop started auto-filling this morning and the other started this afternoon. I started typing an ‘a’ and a whole bunch of choices suddenly appeared for the first time.
          It took a week for TB to get around to triggering the process of auto-filling the ‘TO’ line. This is a good example of TB’s glitchiness!!

          Let me say one more thing about Addressing. When I check the box for Directory Server, ‘None’ becomes active (the word was greyed out before), but the drop-down menu gives me no other choice. When I check the box for Edit Directories, the window that opens says “select a LDAP Directory Server” but there is none in the window to select so it’s impossible to add one. Essentially this box for Directory Server is non-functional, whether checked or unchecked.

          Anyway, it’s water over the dam now, because ‘TO’ is auto-filling now, without my having done anything to get TB to do that. TB clearly has a mind of its own, in this regard — it will auto-fill when it gets good and ready.

          • #2481241

            When I check the box for Edit Directories, the window that opens says “select a LDAP Directory Server” but there is none in the window to select so it’s impossible to add one.

            That’s because it can’t automatically detect LDAP Directory Servers, the user has to “manually” enter the appropriate data to connect to one.

              Connecting to an LDAP address book

            LDAP is typically only used in business environments where everyone uses the same “locally managed” mail server which houses a master address book everyone uses, but there’s actually nothing preventing any mail service from providing one for its users if they wanted to.

            The catch is, to use it, you need to know it’s Hostname, Base DN, Port number, Bind DN and whether it requires an SSL connection so you can set up a connection to it.

    • #2480360

      Now, the last of my issues:
      The list of contacts in the contacts in my bellsouth_net Address Book is a static list, since it is an imported .cvs file. It is not a dynamic one, changing according to how my provider’s (bellsouth) contact list might change with additions, deletions, or editing.

      Is there some way to create an Address Book that is dynamically linked to my provider’s contact list and whose addresses will automatically fill in the ‘TO’ line once you begin typing it? My provider is AT&T, which contracts with Yahoo for its e-mail service. I had to use imap.mail.yahoo.com as the incoming mail server and smtp.mail.yahoo.com as the outgoing mail server when setting up TB. If TB can link dynamically to my ATT (bellsouth)/Yahoo e-mail, there should be some way that it can link dynamically to its contacts (and to its calendar, too).

      So, if there is anyone out there who is using TB, whose provider is ATT (or an ATT baby bell that is like bellsouth) and who has dynamically linked not only to ATT/Yahoo e-mail but has also dynamically linked to ATT/Yahoo contacts (and dynamically linked to ATT/Yahoo calendar), I’d like to know how you accomplished that.

      • #2480380

        WCHS: You wrote a few comments back, I just realize: “To try to answer that question, I’ve tried deleting the Collected Addresses Address Book and importing the contacts in my bellsouth_net .cvs file under Collected Addresses, but afterwards, none of the addresses, including my own which is in that list, will automatically fill in the ‘TO’ line,

        It was quite a while ago since, but I remember that when I first installed TB there was a way to get TB to import the addresses in the Mac’s address book, or else to link to the existing address book of my previous client. Something like that.

        If my recollection is right, then deleting everything in the book and replacing it with a file of your own making was not such a good move. But spilt milk and all that.

        Now I hope that someone more knowledgeable about the whys and wherefores of TB may come to the rescue. PaulK is a good one to ask. Maybe you could get his attention by messaging him with PM (that is having its own problems, with some people now unreachable because their info has disappeared from PM’s records, or something).

        Or, as Kurt Vonnegut liked to write at the end of a rueful but witty comment on the troubles of this world: And so it goes.

         

        Ex-Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7); since mid-2017 using also macOS. Presently on Monterey 12.15 & sometimes running also Linux (Mint).

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        macOS Monterey; browsers: Waterfox "Current", Vivaldi and (now and then) Chrome; security apps. Intego AV

        • #2480415

          It was quite a while ago since, but I remember that when I first installed TB there was a way to get TB to import the addresses in the Mac’s address book, or else to link to the existing address book of my previous client. Something like that.

          That’s really helpful!! The first time I set up TB, I just let TB do its thing. The result: I had no contacts at all. That’s why I later imported my provider’s contact list as its own Address Book. However, only by locating the contact in that Address Book am I able to get the ‘TO’ line to fill in automatically. It’s not a dynamic list of contacts, either — doesn’t sync with my provider’s contact list after modifications are made there.

          • #2480667

            I discovered way back that Thunderbird contacts were not synchronizing with my Gmail contacts. I never attempted to import them. But I don’t write that many original emails, as most of them are replies to emails that I have received, so not a biggie for me.

            But anytime I send, or reply to, an email from within Thunderbird, the included addressees are added (collected) in Thunderbird’s contacts. Those contacts then show up anytime that I start typing the first letter of a name in the “To” box.

            My relevant settings are “Automatically add outgoing email addresses to my [Collected Addresses]”. The other choice there is [Personal Address Book].

            Found in: Settings > Composition > Addressing

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    Viewing 4 reply threads
    Reply To: Thunderbird: How to get a Contact e-address to automatically appear in ‘TO’

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use all available BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Your information: