Software optimize

QuickQuote for Thunderbird: The best extension you've never heard of

There are a lot of extensions to choose from for Thunderbird. But one extension, QuickQuote, stands above the others to make Thunderbird one of the most efficient e-mail clients available. Jack Wallen takes a look at this extension.

How many times have you had an e-mail thread that grew out of hand. Before you knew it you were sending one line replies in an e-mail with a combined word count to shame Stephen King. Sure it's nice to have the e-mail content to refer back to, but in today's mobile age that lengthy content can bring 3G to a crawl.

For me, that is where QuickQuote comes in. This simple extension for Thunderbird allows to you define a portion of text in an e-mail and then decide how to act that text. And to make this even easier, all you have to do is highlight the text and then right-mouse click the highlighted text. When you right-click the highlighted text, you will notice a few new entries to the menu:

  • Quote In New Message
  • Quote In Reply
  • Quote In Reply To All
  • Quote In Compose message

The above list should be fairly self-explanatory. It should also be obvious how much more control over your reply habits this extension will give you.

Installing this extension is simple. Right-click on the link for the version suited for your Thunderbird and click Save Link As. Once the file has downloaded, open up the Add Ons window in Thunderbird and click the Install button. Once you navigate to the file you downloaded, click the Install button (once the timer clicks down) and finally click the Restart button. The extension is installed now.

There are, of course, some options to make QuickQuote fit your specific needs. One option allows you to replace the standard Reply To buttons in Thunderbird so that when you highlight a text if you click the Reply button the highlighted text will be the only included reply text in the reply. If you do not highlight any text in the email the entire body of the original email will be included with the reply. Very handy.

There are a lot of wonderful add ons to one of the most popular open source e-mail clients. Of all the add ons I have tried, QuickQuote is, by far, the most useful. Give QuickQuote a try, it'll make your e-mail replying more efficient and will keep mailing list members from harping on you for quoting too much text.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

12 comments
boardtc
boardtc

QuickQuote does not work for TB v3. However, it is not needed as you can now natively select text and do a reply to qiote only that text.

Ravensnest
Ravensnest

I'm not so sure about this thing. I installed it and so far have not been able to use it at all. It will not accept any of my email address' no matter how i set it. so what good is it to have something if you can't use it?? I even tried simple mail, that was even worse. I'll stick to windows live mail. Thank you very much.

frylock
frylock

Firefox errors out with an Incompatible Extension message when I click on the link: "QuickQuote" will not be installed because it does not provide secure updates"

apotheon
apotheon

I don't really see the point, frankly. How effing difficult is it to simply hit "reply", highlight the stuff that isn't critical to understanding your reply, and hit the "delete" button? I've been trimming unnecessary text from emails to which I reply for years without the aid of some plugin that makes it somehow "okay" for people to trim quoted text down to what's actually relevant. Every once in a while, on one or another of the many mailing lists to which I subscribe to keep up with things in IT, someone sends a one-line response with half a megabyte of quoted text in it, and someone complains on the list. That complaint suggests that the person in question should have trimmed 99.99% of the quoted text and put the new text below the old (bottom-posted with trimmed quotes, rather than TOFU posting -- i.e., "Text Over, Fullquote Under"). Then, the offender says something asinine like "That's the way Outlook works! It makes me post my response at the top!" My mind boggles at the notion that some people see the blinking cursor at the top of the text and are simply [b]so incompetent[/b] that they are unable to figure out how to do something like use Delete and arrow keys. If QuickQuote and similar tools can help reduce the incidence of this kind of folly, I'm all for it. I just don't see how it should even be needed. In case you haven't figured it out by now, my answer to the poll is "yes" -- people do frequently frustrate the heck out of me with their email replying habits.

guy
guy

Quickquote is great. I hate sending complete threads so I generally cut out everything except the last comment. QuickQuote is aready making that chore so much easier. A big thank you to the authors.

jlwallen
jlwallen

you have to save the quickquote file onto your drive and then install from Thunderbird. give that a go and let us know what happens.

jlwallen
jlwallen

that have good reply habits...but the majority of people do not. and making it one step easier makes this extension worth the price of admission (being that's it's free...). of course with thunderbird you can also set it up to start your reply below the quoted text - which is good etiquette. naturally most people don't do that. why? they don't know any better. ;-)

dadto7
dadto7

scrolling to the bottom to see the last reply? I'm not sure where this "good etiquette" theory came from but it sounds like from a group that has too much time on their hands. I don't agree with that policy. I would rather see the answer right away. After all, that stuff is just history and why would any logical thinker want to waste time scrolling past stuff they probably have read already. I guess that must be the programmer coming out but my time is more precious to me. The subject line should be descriptive enough that I know what an email is about and I just want the latest update in the quickest manner. I guess you can tell what my vote was. Because it is not only the reply tactics that are annoying but the subject line ignorance. Makes one wonder how much thought is given before any email activity. BTW, this plugin sounds nice but I probably won't use it. I don't see a situation where one subject would drag on for that long. But then I don't use email as a substitute for chat/IM either. If it that confusing then you need get on the phone.

apotheon
apotheon

Perhaps you're not familiar with the phrase "text" -- as in, "a gigabyte of text email". I'm not talking about crap like HTML and images. Basically everything that requires an image renderer and an HTML renderer is spam -- and I'm not counting spam. Each individual text email tends to come in at under a single kilobyte -- which means that we're talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand emails. Is a thousand non-spam emails not a lot, to you? If so, I don't know how you can possibly have the time to post replies here. "[i]Forums are different than emails and if people stick to the subject no quotes are even necessary in forums. The whole thread is there to go back to if necessary.[/i]" If having the whole thread to go back to in a forum is different from email for you, you aren't doing it right. Are you familiar with threaded email clients? Seriously, you should look into it. "[i]My comments are relative to someone working in the IT world and not idle social chatter so maybe that is where the confusion lies.[/i]" I'm not sure what "relative to" means in this context, but my comments are [b]relevant to[/b] someone working in the IT world. "[i]Having to search thru many prior emails is not productive because you don't even know if you've received them.[/i]" What crappy email client are you using, anyway? "[i]Having all info in one email is a blessing. Then I know I can delete others with the same subject.[/i]" You're doing it backwards. You really need a proper, threaded email client. Hell, even Gmail provides the kind of functionality that could make your life much easier -- you wouldn't even need to get a real email client to see such benefits. Your email client must be circa 1994. "[i]make sure your reply shows in the first 'preview' window[/i]" Preview windows are for suckers who don't care about [url=http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/security/?p=411][b]security[/b][/url]. (edit: link)

dadto7
dadto7

Obviously, you have not been in IT over 40 years as I have or you would realize the importance of having all the facts or the efficiency derived from having info in one spot without all the filters. Try the game of having the story passed serially to 10 people and you will see what I mean. Forums are different than emails and if people stick to the subject no quotes are even necessary in forums. The whole thread is there to go back to if necessary. My comments are relative to someone working in the IT world and not idle social chatter so maybe that is where the confusion lies. I've spent many of my years on teams that do Help Desk type work and having all the facts are mandatory. Time is important so having the answer in the first "window" is beneficial. Having to search thru many prior emails is not productive because you don't even know if you've received them. Having all info in one email is a blessing. Then I know I can delete others with the same subject. It is each person's choice but I can tell you from experience if you want your problem worked on first then make sure your reply shows in the first 'preview' window. It has nothing to do with social etiquette. It is about "working smart". Getting the most work done in the limited time one has. So until email clients (usually Outlook) change to quickly go to the latest reply, your best technicians will look at the top. You decide.

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]I'm not sure where this 'good etiquette' theory came from but it sounds like from a group that has too much time on their hands.[/i]" Oh no -- it's quite the opposite of people who have too much time on their hands. It's people who don't have very much time on their hands who tend to insist on text being arranged in the right order, and trimmed down to what's relevant. 1. Some of us get more than one or two emails a day -- and, in fact, emails from more than one or two people. Do you really expect a busy person like me, who gets probably close to a gigabyte of text email a day, to have the entire context of a discussion with you in particular memorized and ready at the forefront of the brain just in case you're going to respond with some cryptic one-liner above six megabytes of quoted discussion? If so, I'm afraid your narcissism is going to be sadly disappointed. Thus, when I see this: [b]I think we should skip the second part of that. # insert six megabytes of previous conversation here[/b] . . . I stare at it for a few seconds, then make the difficult decision to just delete the damned email without responding because I have no idea what the context of that statement is, and don't want to waste thirty minutes figuring it out only to find out it wasn't all that important. I'll make a little more effort than that for clients, of course, but they're basically [b]paying[/b] me to make the effort to read their damned malformed emails. 2. It's question and answer time: [b]A: It reverses the normal flow of conversation. Q: What's wrong with top-posting?[/b] 3. People with vision problems who have to use screen readers tend to run into pretty big issues when they have to deal with out of order text. This is one reason top-posting is considered even more rude on many mailing lists. "[i]that stuff is just history and why would any logical thinker want to waste time scrolling past stuff they probably have read already.[/i]" Has it occurred to you that an integral part of proper email etiquette is to trim any quoted material that doesn't provide immediate reminder of context? If you're only going to respond to one short part of the preceding email, for instance, you should try cutting out all the quoted material except that part to which you're going to reply, then post your reply to it just below that quote. That way, you don't have a bunch of unnecessary quoted text they've already read and don't need read again to scroll past, and you don't reverse the normal flow of conversation, et cetera. Try taking hints from, for instance, the way I responded to [b]you[/b]. I included only minimal quotes for context, and responded to them individually. I avoided quoting the material irrelevant to what I was saying, and provided the contextual quotes only to make it easier for you to figure out what parts of what you said elicited my responses, so you don't have to do any scrolling around other than the natural scroll to follow the rest of the post as you read it, and so you don't have to try to guess at what I'm saying -- and so I don't basically have to paraphrase everything you say, in absence of quotes.