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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 3 months ago

Configure Thunderbird for IPA


First things first

You won't be able to use IPA with some features of Thunderbird until you have an IPA font installed, and most operating systems don't install one by default. So if you don't have an IPA font installed yet, go to Cool free IPA fonts to download and download one. If you need help installing it, go to How to install fonts on your computer.


General how-to and tips

Thunderbird is the free email client produced by Mozilla, the folks who brought us Firefox. It can be downloaded from http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/ for Linux, MacOS and Windows.


To change the default character encoding, click Message > Text Encoding and select Unicode (UTF-8) from the bottom of the list.


Viewing IPA characters in e-mail 

To change Thunderbird's default display fonts:

  1. Click on Tools > Options (or on a Mac, Thunderbird > Preferences...).


  2. Click on Display, then click the button at the bottom labelled Fonts...
  3. Select which Proportional font style to use (serif or sans-serif), then select IPA-compatible Serif, Sans-Serif and/or Monospace fonts as needed.
  4. Under Character Encodings, select Unicode (UTF-8).  You will probably want to select this for both incoming and outgoing mail.
  5. If you wish, you can check either or both of the two boxes labelled "Apply the default character encoding to all incoming messagess" and "Use the default character encoding in replies". 
  6. Click OK, then close the Options window in whatever way your OS requires in order to save settings.




Typing IPA characters in e-mail

Just need a few characters?  No big deal: just use your preferred method for your OS, whether it be typing the decimal and/or hex code with your keyboard, accessing a character map or palette, or what have you.  (Not sure yet?  Be sure to visit the appropriate OS page using the icons in the sidebar; we'll help you get set up.)


If you need to remap your whole keyboard for more extensive typing in IPA, see our page on Mapping Your Keyboard to find out how to do it.


To change the text style Thunderbird uses in a message you're composing (or in part of the message), just click the second pull-down menu in the new message window to bring up the list of installed fonts, or click Format > Font from the menus (you can also change the size and other style attributes from here).



Note that text styles will only get sent if you instruct the mail client to send them.  When you go to send the message, you will be asked whether to send as plain text (strips out all your formatting), HTML, or both.



Ultimately, success will still depend on the capability of your recipient's email client to read what you wrote.

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