Lightning: Thunderbird Plugin For Calendar & To-Do’s

ThunderbirdWhile I’ve been not working on my genealogy, I came across something that delights me to no end. Lightning calendar and to-do list plugin that integrates with my Thunderbird email.

I get around 200 emails a day so I spend a lot of time there. It was so long ago I don’t remember why I switched from Outlook Express but it works well and I’d never go back. Having a calendar and t0-do list alongside my email is the perfect place for them.

I also spend a lot of my life these days at webinars.  I attend school webinars several times a week and I teach using webinars.  My $3.95 paper calendar isn’t really enough anymore.

Thunderbird has many plugins. Lightning takes about 5 seconds to install and there you are. It’s been around for a couple of years so many options have been included and the kinks have been worked out.  At least I haven’t found any so far.

This small menu (top or bottom of your screen) allows you to quickly switch between email, calendar and tasks.

Lightning Plugin, Thunderbird

The Task view.  Tasks can have start and end dates, with space for additional notes. Or not. Would this help to keep your genealogy projects on track?

Lightning Plugin, Thunderbird

One of the many Calendar views. You can choose between Day, Week, Multiweek and Month.  If that’s not enough to tell you where you are, you can use Search.

Lightning Plugin, Thunderbird

This is the window that pops up for adding information for a New Event.  The New Task window is similar, with alarm options.  You can remind yourself anywhere between 5 minutes and a week prior.  You can even change the default sound.  Look under Tools/Options.  When an alarm goes off a box pops up on your screen offering you a Snooze button.

Add an Event, Lightning

You can invite others to your Events. I’d like to be able to invite others to do my Tasks, but that’s not included.

Invite Attendees, Lightning

You can print your calendar in a variety of formats (list, weekly or monthly view, choosing the date range yourself).  Just click File/Print. In PDF the URLs will maintain active hyperlinks.  That’s always a bonus.  Tasks are printed the same way. With or without the calendar items included.

Most importantly, Lightning can also export and import ICS files. ICS is a standard that works with other calendar applications. I had no problem importing it into my portable version of EssentialPIM, although I don’t actually use PIM. I’m not that portable these days. I’m at home going to webinars. Still, it’s a good idea to make a backup, and even carry one around with you, in case your computer decides to die for no good reason.

You can also export your calendar as a CSV file and import it into a spreadsheet if you can think of a reason you’d want to do that.

One thought on “Lightning: Thunderbird Plugin For Calendar & To-Do’s

  1. JL Post author

    A year later: Lightning has had many bug fixes and is now upgraded to version 1.0. I’ve dispensed with EssentialPIM (which I did end up using but which has some irritating shortcomings and the slowest development team on earth) and come back to Lightning.


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