Guide: Using GeneralSync with Mozilla Thunderbird

This guide describes the GeneralSync integration provided by the official Thunderbird add-on. It is divided into the following feature-specific sections:

  1. Installation: enabling GeneralSync features in Thunderbird
  2. Calendars: viewing and editing events
  3. Address books: viewing and editing contacts

Note that this document is intended as reference providing some background information on the GeneralSync integration; it is not required to read through this document in order to use GeneralSync. If you are not yet familiar with Mozilla Thunderbird, you might want to check out the official support resources provided by Mozilla as well. Thunderbird features unaltered by the GeneralSync integration will not be covered in this guide.

Installation

While starting GeneralSync for PC for the first time, the first-run setup installs the add-on by default. On the next start of Thunderbird, you will get prompted to confirm the installation:

Screenshot: add-in installation notification Screenshot: add-in installation confirmation

Click on the notification and confirm the required permissions. Note that the list of required permissions will change occasionally and thus may differ from the screenshot above.

If you did not choose to install the add-on during the first-run setup, or switched your Thunderbird profile, you can also install the add-on manually:

  1. Click here to download the add-on (license agreement)
  2. Open Thunderbird's add-on manager (Menu|Add-ons, or Tools|Add-ons on the classical menu bar).
  3. Select the Extensions-Category (puzzle-icon on the left).
  4. Above the list of extensions, click on the gear button, and select Install Add-on From File.... Select the file downloaded in the first step.
  5. Confirm the installation.

Calendars

This section describes how to use calendars managed by GeneralSync with Thunderbird.

Adding a GeneralSync calendar to Thunderbird

Calendars available through GeneralSync are automatically added to Thunderbird. You can create new GeneralSync calendars through the GeneralSync dashboard.

In the calendar tab, you can edit Thunderbird-specific settings: right-click on a calendar and select Properties. In a new window you can now select various options, including the calendar's color and associated email address. The latter is necessary to properly send and receive invitations for events per E-Mail.

Deleting calendars in Thunderbird has no effect on GeneralSync – the calendar will get recreated until it is also deleted in GeneralSync. Calendars deleted in GeneralSync will get removed from Thunderbird automatically.

Migrating to GeneralSync

If you wish to use an existing calendar with GeneralSync, perform the following steps:

  1. In the calendar tab, right-click the existing calendar, and choose Export Calendar....
  2. Save the calendar to a location of your choice.
  3. Add a new GeneralSync calendar, as explained above
  4. In the menu, choose Events and Tasks|Import Calendar..., then select the calendar file saved in the second step and choose the GeneralSync calendar as target.
  5. Verify that all events were transferred correctly. Afterwards, you may remove the original calendar from Thunderbird. If you do not want to keep it as a backup, you can also remove the file created in step 2.

Event version information

On calendars linked with GeneralSync, you can view version information on each event in the event editing dialog:

Screenshot: additional metadata in the event editing dialog

The displayed information consists of a timestamp of the last change, and the device issuing the change. If the device issuing the change is not paired or otherwise has no known name, a technical device ID is displayed instead.

Resolving Conflicts

If the same event is changed on multiple devices, GeneralSync cannot automatically determine which change should be kept. The event will thus be in a conflict state, and can't be displayed in the calendar.

Thunderbird notifies you of existing conflicts with a warning sign in the bottom left corner of the calendar tab:

Screenshot: calendar tab with conflict warning

You can view conflicting versions by clicking on View conflicts...:

Screenshot: conflict dialog with event

Select the version you wish to keep, and click Keep selected version to save your selection. Your selection will then be synced to other devices automatically.

If you do not wish to select a version right now, you can use the arrow buttons at the top to go to the next conflict, if any.

Address books

This section describes how to use address books managed by GeneralSync as regular address books in Thunderbird.

Adding a GeneralSync address book to Thunderbird

Address books available through GeneralSync are automatically added to Thunderbird. You can create new GeneralSync address books through the GeneralSync dashboard.

Deleting address books in Thunderbird has no effect on GeneralSync – the address book will get recreated until it is also deleted in GeneralSync. Address books deleted in GeneralSync will get removed from Thunderbird automatically.

Migrating to GeneralSync

You can drag and drop existing contacts into GeneralSync address books. Thus, the easiest way to move contacts from existing address books to GeneralSync is to select them (Ctrl+A to select all entries) and drag them onto a newly created address book. Hold Ctrl while dropping them if you want a copy of the contacts to remain in the old address book.

Differences to regular Thunderbird contacts

Screenshot: Fields for postal adresses

For contacts stored in a GeneralSync address book there are minor differences to regular contacts:

Resolving Conflicts

If the same contact is changed on multiple devices, GeneralSync cannot automatically determine which change should be kept. The contact will thus be in a conflict state, and can't be displayed in the address book.

If any of your address books contain conflicting contacts, a warning is shown below the list of address books:

Screenshot: address book window with conflicts

Click on View conflicts... to open the conflict resolution window:

Screenshot: conflict resolution for contact

You can then select the change you wish to keep and click Keep selected version. To skip to a different conflict without resolving it immediately, you can use the arrow buttons at the top of the window. After resolving a conflict, its resolution is synced back to all other devices. You thus do not need to resolve the same conflict twice.

Thank you for using GeneralSync!

Feel free to contact us if you have further questions or suggestions regarding this guide or GeneralSync itself.