Solved: Message bar in Thunderbird

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DKTaber

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Just started using Thunderbird. Don't like the large amount of vertical space occupied by the Inbox message toolbar. It uses the space tell you things you already know, like who the message is to (me. . . duh!), the reply-to address, the date and time the message was received (which is already shown in the list of e-mails above the message pane), etc. I would also like to get rid of all the buttons in the toolbar (reply, forward, archive, junk, delete), which I can put in the toolbar below the menubar.

The large vertical space it takes up isn't that much of a problem with a desktop monitor, but is annoying when using a laptop due to the laptop's substantially lower vertical-to-horizontal pixel ratio. Is there any way to keep some of those items from showing and thereby reduce the vertical space the toolbar takes up?
 
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Some things you can do is make the toolbars thinner.
Right click toolbar and click "customize" and then down at the bottom you can change icon size and also from drop down how things in the toolbar show up.
Your need to do this twice. Once in the main Thunderbird and then again when you open a email if your not using the "message pane"

Go to view, layout and your see 3 types of layouts to pick from. These are only if you have the email show in the "message pane".
If "message pane" is uncheck then any email you view will open in a new window and that is also why your need to do the "customize" part again.

Also go to view, toolbars and you can uncheck those to give more space.

Also if you pick other themes the icons can take up more space in the toolbar

Note: I am using Thunderbird 3.x so you may have other options I don't know about but bet on things like this it's all the same.
 

DKTaber

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Perhaps I should have mentioned that I'm using ver. 8 of TB. Right clicking and selecting "customize" in the message pane toolbar does not provide any option to change icon size (only icons, text, or icons with text, all of which are horizontal/don't help the vertical space issue). You CAN use small icons in the Mail Toolbar (under the menubar), but that's not the one I want to squeeze down (and the difference between normal and small icons is at most 2mm.

I am using the message pane, and the layout I use is Wide because many of my e-mails contain a lot of text. But neither Classic nor Wide nor Vertical do anything for the height of the message pane toolbar.

Unchecking Mail Toolbar under View doesn't do anything for the message pane toolbar.
 
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Well still version 8 has it but they moved it to I can't say.

Look here.
http://www.freeemailtutorials.com/mozillaThunderbird/customizeToolbars.cwd

Wish they keep things like the old Netscape where the help file would get installed with Netscape and not have to go to here http://support.mozillamessaging.com/en-US/home where you can get losted and if you do find info you want it's on another version.

Unchecking Mail Toolbar under View should hide all the bigger icons along the top of the toolbar.
It has nothing to do with the message pane toolbar because there is no message pane toolbar.

You go to view, layout to get to the message pane. You can uncheck it and it will open in a new window that will show more and can help.
Also if your using the message pane view and you grab the egde of the message pane and move it to the bottom or side so you can not see it then go back to view, layout to get to the message pane with need to be rechecked to show message pane.

So hang on and others that have version 8 can help you out also.
 

throoper

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Do you want to get rid of the entire header so there is only the separator between the message list and the displayed message? (see attached)
 

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throoper

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Hey, that would be GREAT! How do you do that?
It's done with userChrome.css and since I suspect you have no idea what that is, I'll walk you through setting it up.
Open T-bird.
Click Help>Troubleshooting Information.
In the Application Basics section, click the "Open Containing Folder" button on the Profile Directory line.
That will open the Profile folder.
Close T-bird.

In the Profile folder, open the "chrome" folder. If it does not exist, create it (right click an empty spot in the Profile folder>New>Folder>name it "chrome" without the quotes).
In the chrome folder, right click>New>Text Document>name it "userChrome.css" (without the quotes and the correct case, small u capital C).
You should get a file of type Cascading Style Sheet Document.
To make life simpler for editing, now and future, set the default file association for it to Wordpad.
Right click>Open With>Choose Program>select Wordpad>check the box "Always use the selected program to open this type of file">OK.
That will allow CSS files to open with Wordpad on a double click.

In the open, and empty, CSS file, copy and paste the following code.

Code:
/*
 * Do not remove the @namespace line -- it's required for correct functioning
 */
@namespace url("http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul"); 
/* set default namespace to XUL */

/*Autohide message header*/

#msgHeaderView {
height: 4px;
overflow: auto;
opacity: 0;
}

#msgHeaderView:hover {
height: 80px !important;
overflow: auto;
opacity: 1 !important;
-moz-transition-delay: 0.5s;
}
Be sure to get all of it. Click Save on the Wordpad.
Open T-bird and open a message.
You should now have a header that auto-hides and will pop open if you hover below the pane separator for 1/2 second.
I thought that might be handier than having the header gone altogether. It's there if you need it.
It will have a scrollbar on the right if you decide you want to use the View>All Headers without taking up half the screen to display them.
 

DKTaber

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It works! I didn't set the file association to Wordpad (I think I zapped Wordpad years ago/don't have it). I used Notepad instead.

Thanks for the help. I will mark the thread 'solved'. But being able to do this so readily begs the question, "Why doesn't Mozilla provide this as an option?" Although my default browser is Firefox and I'm getting closer to dumping OE in favor of TB, I find Mozilla software is in general more complex, less -- far less -- user friendly than other apps, and their Help function borders on useless. . . which is why I have to come to TSG to get questions answered. You would think that open source software produced by user volunteers would be easier/more friendly than the stuff coming out of Redmond. . . but it isn't. Puzzling to say the least.
 

throoper

Trusted Advisor (deceased)
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Messages
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It works! I didn't set the file association to Wordpad (I think I zapped Wordpad years ago/don't have it). I used Notepad instead.
Notepad is fine. I just like Wordpad because it has tools instead of just the menus.
If you find you want a longer delay before it pops the header open, just edit the "transition-delay" line from the 0.5s to 1s.


Thanks for the help. I will mark the thread 'solved'. But being able to do this so readily begs the question, "Why doesn't Mozilla provide this as an option?" Although my default browser is Firefox and I'm getting closer to dumping OE in favor of TB, I find Mozilla software is in general more complex, less -- far less -- user friendly than other apps, and their Help function borders on useless. . . which is why I have to come to TSG to get questions answered. You would think that open source software produced by user volunteers would be easier/more friendly than the stuff coming out of Redmond. . . but it isn't. Puzzling to say the least.
It's what I like to call "Developer Arrogance". The folks who write the programs have a tendency to impose their personal preferences on everyone. A bit of a "Why wouldn't you love this and do it this way" mentality.
The main advantage (in my mind anyway) of Mozilla over things from Redmond is the ability to modify and get around things.
MS may give options initially, but if you want something else you're out of luck. Proprietary code.
Mozilla allows for code tweaking and customizing to give it not only the look you want, but the functions you want.
There's pretty much an Add-on for everything or a code tweak to get the desired results.
That's where it's nice to have a Test Profile to experiment with. You can try things out and if they work do it in the real Profile and if they don't, no big deal. Scrap the Test Profile and you've learned something.

As for the "user volunteers" (Mozillazine comes to mind), most don't intend to be un-helpful. They just forget that not everybody knows and understands what they do (I sometimes am guilty of that myself). Plus they simply may not know or be good at that particular part of coding. I'm good at CSS and XUL, but stink at Javascript.
At least with Mozilla, they aren't always trying to enhance their revenue stream like Redmond does.
 

DKTaber

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Oct 26, 2001
Messages
2,871
I agree. I, too, am sometimes guilty of "developer arrogance". I have written some pretty sophisticated apps using Access; even have a couple of $multi-million local organizations that run on the software I created for them. I have on occasion designed things that worked in what I thought was a logical way. . . but the users didn't, and I had to change it. I also provide computer tech support to several friends and a couple of small companies, and I've been guilty of telling them "well, just open the program and do this" when doing "this" was not at all obvious to them.

Anyhow, thanks again for the help, throoper.
 
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