Do you use the Thunderbird email client? Do you find the Thunderbird contact tool to be lacking in many ways? Good news. There’s an extension you can add that brings quite a bit more power and flexibility to contacts in Thunderbird. The extension is called CardBook. Not only does this tool make using contacts a bit more useful, it also allows you to sync all of your remotely added address books. So if you have your Google or Nextcloud contacts added, CardBook not only allows you to view/edit (and add to) those contacts, it allows you to manually sync them.

But why would you want to use CardBook over the built-in Thunderbird contact tool? The main reason is that CardBook is based on the CardDAV and vCard standards. That means you can more easily export and import contacts, without losing information or having the contact data skewed due to an unsupported format. So, if you’re looking for a more standardized address book for Thunderbird, CardBook might be your best bet.

Let’s install and use CardBook.


Naturally, you’ll need Thunderbird installed. That’s pretty much it (other than having your contacts added to the email client).

To install CardBook, open Thunderbird and click the menu button in the upper right corner. Click the Addons entry and then, in the resulting window, click the See all link near Up & Coming. In the resulting window type CardBook in the search bar. Locate the CardBook entry and click +Add to Thunderbird. When prompted, click the Install button. You will then be prompted to restart Thunderbird. Once Thunderbird restarts, you’re ready to go.

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Once installed, CardBook automatically imports all of your associated contact lists. So if you click on the CardBook icon (newly added to the upper right corner of the Thunderbird window), you will see all of your address books ready to go (Figure A).

Figure A

To create a new contact, click the menu button in the upper left corner of the CardBook tab. From that drop-down, click Contacts | New Contact. Fill out the information for the new contact (Figure B) and, when finished, click Save.

Figure B

If you add the new contact to one of your cloud accounts (such as Google or Nextcloud), you’ll then have to click the Synchronize button to ensure the new contact is added to your remote account.

You can also easily export your address books to a .vcf file. To do this, right-click the address book to be exported (in the CardBook tab) and then click Export to file. You will be prompted to give the file a name/location and click Save. Your address book will be saved and can then be imported into another client.

More power to your contacts

And that’s all there is to gaining a bit more power to your Thunderbird contacts. Although you might not find the ability to add more information to a contact (than is already possible with the built-in tool), you can trust those CardBook contacts will be in a more standardized format and you can more easily sync your cloud-based address books. Give CardBook a go and see if it doesn’t wind up your go-to address book tool in Thunderbird.