Thunderbird – How to Make Email Reply Above or Before Quoted Text

August 18, 2011DavidEmail, Thunderbird

Depending upon how you like to reply to emails, you may want to have your reply to an email come above quoted text.  For those of you who don’t use quoted text, quoted text is a feature whereby when you reply to an email, the email program automatically includes the text from the email you are replying to.  It’s very helpful — especially when you are working with someone and there are multiple emails going back-and-forth.

Once you have quoted text, however, the next question is where are you going to reply — are you going to reply BEFORE (or on top of the quoted text) or are you going to reply AFTER (or below) the quoted text.  I’ve always set my clients to reply to email BEFORE the quoted text, as I find it easier for people to see.  Further, when people reply AFTER the quoted text — especially in an email where you’ve had multiple replies in a single email and thus a long trail of text — it’s often hard to find the newest reply, and some people don’t think to look below all of the quoted text to find your reply.

When I installed the new Thunderbird (that is, Thunderbird 5.0), I found that the program defaulted to having my replies come AFTER the quoted text.  As this is not my preferred way to handle replies, I needed to reset the feature so my replies cam BEFORE the quoted text.  Here’s how to do that:

1. Go to Tools -> Account Settings (not “options” where you think the switch might be located):

Thunderbird 5.0 Account Settings in Tools Menu

Thunderbird 5.0 Account Settings in Tools Menu

2. Now in the Account Settings panel, click the “Composition & Addressing” option under the account you want to modify (note in my example I have two email accounts and I’ve clearly changed the names for the screenshot):

Thunderbird Account Settings Options

Thunderbird Account Settings Options

Under the “Automatically quote the original message when replying” item (of course, make sure it’s checked so you include quotes in your reply) you can use the “Then,” drop-down box to decide if you want your reply to start after or above the quote (as shown here). or after the quote (not shown).

Once you’ve made your selection, click “Ok” at the bottom to save your modifications.  You may have to restart Thunderbird to see the changes in effect.

you can then decide where you want the quote to be and where you want your signature to be, as well.

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