A no-fuss grey theme for Thunderbird

 Sat, 26 Nov 2022 12:55 UTC

A no-fuss grey theme for Thunderbird
Thunderbird logo: MZLA Technologies Corporation | This image: CC BY 4.0 by cybrkyd

Thunderbird ships with two default themes – light and dark. Staring at the default light theme all day hurts my eyes. I have tried the dark theme (white text on black background) and that one does not look quite right to me either. It is way too dark and the white-on-black text really gets the after-images going. It is quite uncomfortable.

I have been looking around for a Thunderbird mid-grey theme for quite some time. There are some OK ones out there but honestly, they were not quite what I was looking for. Besides, who can agree on what middle-grey is, exactly? So I decided to figure out how to make my own.

My Thunderbird theme requirements

I use Thunderbird on a daily basis, primarily for emails and RSS feed monitoring. I therefore spend most of the time in the main screen and don’t really care about theming the settings pages and menus, etc. And I’m really after something close to the colour hex #cccccc. Not quite mid-grey but just enough to turn out some of the lights without doing a full blackout. Additionally, this background colour still allows the use of black text, as I am keen on avoiding using white.

Nu-grey theme for Thunderbird

Install Nu-grey Theme from Thunderbird addons.

The source files are available on GitHub: https://github.com/cybrkyd/thunderbird-theme

This is the colour that you will end up with:

Thunderbird nu-grey Theme

To make the body of the e-mail match the theme, go to Thunderbird Settings:

  1. Edit > Settings > General and look for the section Language & Appearance
  2. Click on Colors... and then click on Background:
  3. In the “Colour name:” box, add #CCCCCC and then “Select”
  4. Return to your inbox and marvel at this thing of beauty!
Thunderbird nu-grey Theme