How to Customize Stationery Using Mozilla Thunderbird

by Rex Molder

The popular free email program Mozilla Thunderbird allows you to customize the way the emails you write appear. As a reference to the traditional pen and paper form of writing letters, the customized background is called stationery. If you want your email messages to have a little more visual appeal than the basic black-on-white standard, follow these steps to customize your Thunderbird stationery. Saving a background design that you have already created will save you time in the future if you want to use the same design. This saved background is called a template. The steps given here refer to Thunderbird version 3.1 but should also work for earlier versions.

Create Stationery for a Single Message


Open a new email message by clicking on “Write” at the top of the page.


Place your cursor in the area where you will write the message. Click on the “Format” menu at the top of the message page, activating the drop-down menu. Click “Page Colors and Backgrounds,” which should be the last option on the format menu. You now have an editing box.


Choose the formatting options you want. You have some choices: You can simply change the background color or font color or both, or you can add a custom image to use as the background.


To create custom background with an image, click “Choose File” at the bottom of the editing box. This opens a file-selection window. Find the image file that you want to use as your background. You can use most image file types including JPEG, PNG and BMP. Once you find the image, select it and click “Open.”


Check your selected background by viewing the thumbnail displayed in the editing window. If you are happy with the image, click “OK.” You now have the background you chose displayed in your email message. Compose the message as you normally would and send it.

Save Stationery as a Template


Ensure that the background and other formatting aspects of the message are correct. Things that will be saved as part of the template include the background (either color or image), font color and font size.


Click in the subject box of the open email message. Type in the name you want to use for the new template. Use a descriptive name so if you create several templates, you'll be able to find them easily.


Click on the "File" menu at the top of the page. On the drop-down menu select "Save As." You should now see options for "File," "Draft" and "Template." Click on "Template" to save the file to your "Template" folder.


Create a new message using the saved template by selecting the "Templates" folder in the left panel of the main Thunderbird page. This will open in the main window a list of all saved templates. Choose the template you want to use and double-click on it to open a new email message with the background you chose.


  • check Make sure that the email text is readable against the chosen background. If necessary, change the font color in the editing box.
  • check Use a Thunderbird add-on to simplify and enhance the process of editing stationery.


  • close Avoid inappropriate backgrounds for business and professional email messages.

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About the Author

Rex Molder began writing professionally in 1999 and specializes in automotive, technology and travel articles. His articles have appeared at iPad- and SEO-related websites. Rex holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian studies from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera email symbols . image by Ruslana Stovner from