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How to use the new Thunderbird built-in Calendar on Linux

Mozilla Thunderbird recently integrated a calendar system into the email client. The calendar system is quite nice and is very useful for those that relied on the Lightning calendar extension in Thunderbird in the past. In this guide, we’ll show you how to get the calendar system up and running. 

Updating Thunderbird

The new calendar feature added to Mozilla Thunderbird is only present in the absolute latest releases of the client. If you’re using an older version on your Linux PC, you will not be able to use this new feature.

For this reason, we’ll need to show you how to update to the absolute latest release of Thunderbird before continuing on with the guide. To start the upgrade process, open up a terminal window. Once the terminal window is open, follow the installation instructions outlined below that correspond with your operating system.

Note: the instructions below cover upgrading an existing version of Thunderbird. If you do not have the app installed at all, follow this guide instead. 

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, you won’t be able to get the absolute latest release of Thunderbird without making use of the Thunderbird PPA. To add the PPA to your system, make use of the following add-apt-repository command. 

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa

After adding the Mozilla Team PPA to your Ubuntu system, you will need to run the update command. This command will detect that the new PPA is a part of Ubuntu, and check for updates. Checking for updates will allow you to upgrade to the new version of Thunderbird.

sudo apt update

Finally, upgrade your installation of Thunderbird using the upgrade command.

Debian

On Debian, there’s currently no way of getting the latest Thunderbird from the software repositories. In the guide for installing the latest Thunderbird, we mention the best way to go on Debian is a manual installation. If that’s not your style, you can get the latest Thunderbird from the Snap or Flatpak instructions below instead.

Arch Linux

Arch Linux always provides users with the absolute latest release of the Thunderbird email client. If you’ve not got the new built-in calendar feature, you’ll need to update. To update, simply execute the pacman -Syyu command below.

sudo pacman -Syyu

Fedora

Fedora Linux usually updates its packages quite frequently, meaning you should be able to get the newest Thunderbird with the new calendar feature no problem. If you’re running Fedora and need to install the new update, you can do so with the following dnf command.

sudo dnf update

OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE Linux does have the latest Thunderbird (depending on what version of the OS you use,) however, a much better way to go to get the latest version of Thunderbird for the new calendar feature is to follow the Flatpak or Snap package instructions below instead.

Flatpak

To update Thunderbird to the new version via Flatpak, open up a terminal window and execute the flatpak update command. Need to install it? Find more information on it here.

sudo flatpak update

Snap package

If you’re using the Thunderbird Snap package and haven’t updated to get the new version of the app that has the calendar feature, you’ll need to run the snap refresh command below. If you do not have the Thunderbird snap set up, you can find information on how to get it here.

sudo snap refresh

Using the new calendar feature

To use the new Thunderbird calendar feature, open up Thunderbird on the Linux desktop. After that, follow the step-by-step instructions down below.

Step 1: Look through Thunderbird. Then, set up an email account in the client if you do not have an account set up already. You will not be able to take full advantage of the Calendar feature without this.

Step 2: Look to the top-right corner of Thunderbird, just below the window controls. Then, click on the calendar icon with the mouse. By selecting this button, the Thunderbird calendar will appear.

Step 3: After clicking on the calendar button, you will see a calendar overview in Thunderbird, complete with a breakdown by day/week/month/multiweek, and month. 

Click on “Month” to view the entire month.

Step 4: After selecting the “Month” button, find the “Event” button at the top-left section of the calendar, and click on it. By selecting this button, you will bring up the event creation screen.

Step 5: Inside the event creation screen, fill out the event for your Calendar. You’ll find text boxes for location, title, category, start/end, reminders, descriptions, attachments, etc. Once you’ve filled it out, select the “Save and Close” button.

After filling out your event information on your system, it’ll appear on the calendar. Repeat this process to set up your Thunderbird calendar!

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