Mozilla Thunderbird VS Microsoft Outlook: Comparison

For most of the users when trying to access their email accounts through an email program, two applications that they usually prefer to use are – Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook. As both Outlook and Thunderbird email programs belong to the industry’s giants (Microsoft and Mozilla), they are an ideal choice for a majority of users to set up their email account. However, if you are not able to decide between choosing one of them, this guide can help you make your decision. The following post will help you learn the primary features of both email clients which will make it easier for you to decide as to which one is more suitable to meet your email requirements.

Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook Comparison

No matter if you wish to choose Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird, both have their own advantages and disadvantages. While the two email clients are quite similar in basic function, some of the major differences between them are mentioned below.

About Microsoft Outlook

Considering the calendar and task tracking feature, Microsoft Outlook is an excellent email program to go for. Outlook is known for its amazing compatibility with different Microsoft products like Word, SharePoint, and the Exchange platform. Outlook comes with an in-built calendar that allows you to send and receive meeting invitations and share your calendar with other Outlook users on your network. Outlook programs can be customized with various themes easily. Just download and install themes from the application settings and give your email app a unique look.

Features of Microsoft Outlook

Outlook is a non-open-source email program, which means that the application is not available for free. However, the client comes with the Microsoft Office productivity suite. If you are using Microsoft Office, then you are most likely to an Outlook installed already on your system. The outlook is quite easy to configure through auto-discovery, however, if you are looking to manually configure the software, the configuration process is smooth if you follow the instructions prompted by the wizard. Moreover, you can configure Outlook with complex rules to manage your emails and automate workflow.

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About Mozilla Thunderbird

On the other hand, the email program from Mozilla, Thunderbird, is an open-source email program. While the development of new features for this email client has been halted due to unknown reasons, only stable versions of the software are available and updated currently. The Thunderbird application is available for free. At present, there are two versions of Thunderbird available for Windows 7, Windows 8, and some Linux Operating Systems. The Thunderbird client is quite easy to set up. One only needs to enter his email address and password of the account he/she wish to configure, then Thunderbird automatically finds the email server data via auto-discovery and configure your account.

In addition to the above, the interface of Thunderbird is very user-friendly. The left sidebar of this email program includes the entry for all configured accounts and subfolders for the accounts. By default, you will find the preview window displaying under the inbox list in the center panel. If you want you can customize all the panels as per your preference.

Features of Thunderbird

There are a couple of exclusive features that the platform of Thunderbird comprises. For example, Thunderbird is known for supporting the LDAP email address auto-complete. This means that if you previously sent an email to a recipient, or if the recipient is in your contact list, typing just the first few letters of the name of the person will complete the rest of the address using the LDAP feature.

While the Thunderbird email program comes with a user-friendly contacts list, the app doesn’t have a calendar or task list functionality. However, there is always an option to install extensions for both calendar and task list features, especially the popular Lightning calendar based on the open iCal standard. Moreover, you can also customize the interface by installing theme extensions.

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Another unique feature of Mozilla Thunderbird is the chat feature which allows you to communicate with users on Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Twitter, IRC, and XMPP directly from the application.


As, now as you are aware of the different usage of both Thunderbird and Outlook email programs, you can easily choose an email client based on your preferences and requirements. If you are looking for a secure enterprise email client that can combine with Microsoft Office apps, then Thunderbird is not the client that you should go for. However, if you want open-source software that is easy to configure and use, then it is better to go for Thunderbird rather than Outlook.

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