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Configuring Thunderbird for Outlook365

Swinburne University uses Microsoft Outlook365 and external servers to manage email for both staff and students. If you are using a non-Windows platform - or you prefer to use Thunderbird as your mail client - you may have trouble accessing your email. This page provides advice on how to configure your Thunderbird installation to send and receive email from Outlook365, and how to synchronise and access the Outlook365 Calendar from Thunderbird

Configuring IMAP/SMTP Mail via Outlook365

You will need to create an email account within Thunderbird to talk to the Microsoft Outlook365 servers. This configuration works both on campus and from home (you do not need to configure the VPN). Two accounts need to be configured, the Incoming Mail account and the Outgoing Server (SMTP) account. set up this account, complete the following steps:

  • From the Thunderbird menu, select File → New → Existing Mail Account...
  • Enter your name, set email address to <username>, password is optional, then select Continue
  • Thunderbird Will find the Swinburne mail server, you will need to change this to Office365, select Manual config
  • Configure the Servers:
    Protocol: IMAP SMTP
    Port: 993 587
    Authentication: OAuth2 OAuth2
    Username: <username> <username>
  • Click Re-test, then click Done

Once the account is created, you will need to sync the new Inbox. To do this, select the Inbox on the new account and wait. This will take a while.

Note: Swinburne uses Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), the first time Thunderbird connects to the server you will be asked to approve authentication via your Mobile Phone

Note: Due to using IMAP you may not see any new email until the sync is complete

When the sync is complete, you can add other Outlook/Exchange folders to sync:

  • Right click on new Swinburne Account
  • Select Subscribe
  • Select any folders/sub-folders you wish to see in Thunderbird
  • Click Done

Wait for all folders to sync, this could also take a while

Finally, you may now change the properties of the email account including the Account name, signatures, and any other options that Thunderbird supports

OPTIONAL - Speed up Sending of Email

When using the Office365 SMTP Server to send mail (you are configuring internal/external access), email sending may be a little slow due to a larger RTT between your location and the server. The following steps improve the overall speed by sending in the background.

  • Select Edit → Preferences
  • Click Advanced, General, then Config Editor...
  • Promise to be Careful
  • Make the following three adjustments:
    Prefence Name Value Purpose
    mailnews.show_send_progress false Hides the progress bar when sending email
    mailnews.sendInBackground true Pushes the email to outbox immediately and hides the composition window
    offline.send.unsent_messages 1 Send unsent Outbox messages immediately

Configuring the Outlook Calendar

Note: This is more useful for staff who might use the Outlook Calendar to manage their time than for research students in the lab, however students may also wish to use the Swinburne Calendar

Note: The plugin referred to in this section is no longer supported, it is more convenient to install Microsoft Teams for Linux on your platform and manage your Swinburne Calendar from Teams

We can use the Thunderbird Lightning Calendar to connect to, and manage, the Outlook365 Calendar. You must ensure that you have the Lightning plugin installed on Thunderbird to continue

Firstly we need to install and configure the Calendar Add-Ons within Thunderbird

Exchange Calendar Add-on

Note: Previous versions of this page referred to the Ericsson Thunderbird Exchange Calendar Add-On. This add-on is no longer maintained and does not work with newer versions of Thunderbird. The instructions below refer to a fork of the original Ericsson project

The Thunderbird Exchange Calendar Add-on provides support for Exchange(Outlook) based Calendars. To install:

  • Download latest .xpi version of the Thunderbird Exchange Add-On
  • In Thunderbird, select Tools → Add-ons
  • Click the gear at the top of the page, then click Install Add-on From File...
  • Browse to and select the downloaded XPI file

Note: You can download the source rather than the .xpi file. You ca nthen build your own .xpi using the instructions

Lightning Thunderbird Calendar tool

  • If the Lightning add-on is not already installed, click Get Add-ons
  • Search for Lightning and install

After Installation

Thunderbird needs to be restarted after all plugins are installed, to set auto-update for the Ericsson plugin, you will need to:

  • select Edit → Preferences
  • Click Exchange (EWS), then Others, and finally Show warning when a new version is available. The plugin will auto-update if a new version is available on Thunderbird restart, and will tell you when a new version is available

Creating the Calendar

Now that the Add-ons are installed, we need to create the Calendar within Thunderbird

  • Select File → New → Calendar...
  • Select On the Network, then click Next
  • Select Microsoft Exchange 2007/2010/2013, then click Next
  • Set a Calendar name (suggest Swinburne), pick your Swinburne email address, then click Next
  • Select Microsoft Office 365, then click Check server and mailbox
  • Enter password and save (otherwise you'll be entering it every 5 minutes)
  • Click Next, then click Finish
Last Updated: Thursday 11-Mar-2021 08:26:11 AEDT | Maintained by: Jason But ( | Authorised by: Grenville Armitage (