22 September 2018

Comparison between MS Outlook and Thunderbird. Which is Best for You?

Previously, we have talked about Free and the best alternative to MS Office. When you are setting up an office with minimal cost and lesser investment, definitely, you would be looking for some ways to minimize your cost and look for a better software solution. Let us find out best alternative to  MS Outlook and Lotus Notes email solutions.  Emailing has become an integral part of modern office work. Without email, the office cannot run. There are multiple paid and free solutions to manage office emailing. however, prominent are MS Outlook and Lotus notes. But, there is another excellent solution to emails using your domain. 

business, communication, computer

Yes, we are talking about Mozilla Thunderbird. Mozilla Thunderbird is a free and open-source cross-platform email client, news client, RSS and chats client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. The project strategy was modeled after that of the Mozilla Firefox web browser. It is installed by default on Ubuntu desktop systems. Initially, it was released in 2004. Some of the best features of Mozilla Thunderbird emailing client are.

Main Features of Thunderbird

    Image result for mozilla thunderbird
  • Easier to get started. Wizard-based emailing setup.
  • Personalized emailing addresses. 
  • One click address book
  • Attachment Reminder
  • Multiple Channel Chat
  • Tabbed Emailing concept
  • Search the Web in the client itself
  • Quick Filter toolbar. 
  • Added searching tools.
  • Messages Archive Mechanism.
  • Integrated Activity Manager
  • Robust privacy and does not track.
  • Protection from Phishing
  • Best one feature is that it is a Free and Open source tool. 
  • Many More Features.
Main Features of MS Outlook
    Related image
  • Faster Email Processing
  • Email Attachment Reminder
  • Work Offline
  • Manage Rules and Alerts
  • Free Import Export Facility
  • Support Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Ribbons & Navigation Bar
  • Inter-Communication
  • Shortcuts\ Hot Keys
  • Inbox Clean Up Tool
  • Customized Calendars
  • A new message can be composed with 
    • "Request a Read Receipt or 
    • "Request Delivery Report"
  • Tracking Feature
  • Altered Contacts
  • Social Connectivity
Let us compare Mozilla Thunderbird (version 62) and MS Outlook (2016)

arm-wrestling, bar, bet


Main Feature
Mozilla Thunderbird (52)
MS Outlook (2016)
Owned by
Initial Release
Outlook for MS Doc in 1992
Free and Open Source
Paid and Closed Source
Cross Platform Availability
Supports Windows, MacOS, Linux, BSD, Unix
Supports Windows and Mac
Supported Windows Version
XP SP3, Vista, Wind7,8,8.1,10
Windows  7 SP1, 8,8.1, 10
Flash Memory Portability Support
Supported. Runs on Flash USB memory without installation
Needs to install the client on the machine before use.
Support for sharing a profile between Windows and Linux
Not supported
More than 1200 Add-ons is available. Complex to manage the add-ons
Proprietary add-ons.
Mail file management
Supports one large file per mailbox. Individual file per message
Supports one large file (.pst)
Language Supporting
Supports 100 Languages. 59 languages are fully localized and 41 are partially localized.
Supports 96 languages in language interface pack.
Supports immediate changing of languages on the fly
Yes. You can change on the fly
Additional purchase needed
Supporting MAPI (MS Exchange Server Protocol)
No. But possible through an add-on
Supported well
Encrypted Email
Partial. However, several methods available to protect email (weak to strong)
Deployment Method
On-Premises and also available on SaaS Model (Online)
Active Sync Support
Via Proprietary Birdie Sync add-on
Integrated Development Environment
Not Supported
User Interface Customizable
Customizable via the use of themes. Can change like Outlook look and feel using an add-on
Available as a third-party paid extension.
Supporting touch screen device on Desktop
Not supported
Supported. However, slightly adjusted.
Version for Mobile OS
Not available
Outlook App
Online Cloud version
Not available
Outlook Web Apps with reduced functionality.
Spell Checker multi-language
Supporting 130 Language. Auto Spell Check
Limited. Requires additional purchase.
Send large attachment
Supported. Inbuilt support for Box, Hightail
Not supported
Unified Inbox (Single)
Supported for multiple POP
Not supported
Unified Folders
Not Supported
Mail Merging
Supported via mail merge Add-On
Same version on outlook and MS Office needed
File Size internal restriction
No Limit for IMAP folders. 4 GB Limits for POP stored folders
Default 50 GB. Can be increased in window registry.
Delay sending Email feature
Not Supported. However, Supported with Send Later Add-on
Email Tracking (Read date and time)
Not supported. However, supported through add-on
Follow-up Attribute
Not Supported
Native Document preview
.txt, .pdf
.txt, .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .odt, .ods
Email Voting
Not Supported
Supported with Voting button
Edit received mail messages and subjects
Supported via add-on
Email category separation
Not supported
Connect Calendar to MS Exchange Server
Through add-on
Showing address book attributes like Birthday etc
Supported via add-on
Connect to Google Calendar
Supported through add-on
Auto-detect mail information in emails
Not Supported
Chat / IM / VOIP support
Partial (Skype)
Auto Add contacts to address book
Via add-on
Adding Notes
Plain text supported
Supported with editing options
Search Option
Name or email when using default Address Book

name. Extensive search when using an add-on like card book
Name, email, telephone number, address, notes
LDAP address book support
Not supported
Attaching Files to Contacts
Not Supported
Rich Text editing in Field
Not supported
Viewing option of addresses
Supported through add-on
Showing social post from social networks
Not supported
Task Module
Chat Network
Facebook Chat
Google Talk
Skype for Business

Image result for compare thunderbiord and outlook


Some of the features which are available in MS Outlook are not supported in Thunderbird. However, most of them are not even valuable for an office. Especially startup does not really need all those features. Out of these features, some of them can be complemented with other open source tools. Overall, it is a good option to use the Thunderbird as emailing client. Open source and free to use. 

Please leave comments with your thoughts.


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