Sunbird logoMozilla’s Sunbird is a Calendar based on the same popular open-source platform on which Firefox and Thunderbird run on. Sunbird ties in directly to Thunderbird via an extension called Lightning that makes it easy and quick to get the most out of your calendar.

Sunbird is still in its beta stages, so the kinks are not quite worked out, yet, but you can still get started with the calendar program and see if it is right for you. If you already use the Mozilla suite of products, Sunbird will fit right in on your computer.

How to use Sunbird

In order to get started with Sunbird, you need to download it from Mozilla’s website. Keep in mind that Sunbird is still in its development stage, this means that bugs and other issues may pop up. This is just part of the growing pains for software. However, the current version of the software is quite stable and doesn’t cause any issues like crashing, hanging up etc.

You can always use Sunbird as a standalone desktop calendar. However, if you want to use it along with Thunderbird, you need to install the Thunderbird extension Lightning to tie your e-mail and calendar together. You can visit the Mozilla extensions site to download Lightning. Then, install it into Thunderbird and you are ready to use Sunbird to its fullest potential.

Now, it is time to get started with Sunbird. Open up Sunbird either from your desktop or your Start Menu. When you open it, your calendar with today highlighted will be displayed for you.

Sunbird opened

When you start using any calendar program for the first time, it can be overwhelming especially if you have never used one before. Take a deep breath and take in everything that is Mozilla Sunbird.

There are two types of calendar entries you can make in Sunbird: Events and Tasks. Events are things like birthdays, a work schedule and other things during the day that take up a good chunk of your time. Tasks are things you need to accomplish during the day, such as cleaning the bathroom or doing laundry.

In order to create an event in Sunbird, you want to right-click anywhere on a particular day in the main view of your calendar.

Right clicking on calendar in Sunbird

You want to click on “New Event.”

Creating a new event in Sunbird

A pop-up will appear that will let you fill in all the details of your event for the day, such as Title, Location, and Category. You can choose your Home calendar – which is your default calendar – Sunbird allows you to create multiple ones for your life.

You can then choose when it starts, ends, whether or not it will repeat and how often that will occur. You can set up reminders and then describe the event, too.

Events also allow you to create an invite list, set privacy levels and even attach documents for reference. When you are done, simply click “Save and Close” at the top of the pop-up.

If you want to create a task for the day, you can either click on the day you want to add the task to and right-click or you can right-click on the “Tasks” area in the bottom left-hand corner of Sunbird.

Right clicking in the tasks area in Sunbird

Another pop-up will appear for you to add details about the task. You can also Title, add a Location and select a Category for tasks. You can also assign it to a specific Calendar.

Creating a task in Sunbird

From there, you can add start times, due dates, give a status update on the task, denote how much of it is complete. From there, you can choose if the task repeats, the frequency it repeats, remind you of the task and then set the description of the task.

You can also set a privacy level, as well as attach documents to the task for you to take a look at while completing it.

One nifty feature of Sunbird is the remote calendar feature. You can save your calendars on your computer or over a network so that others can have access to them. This can be a great way to keep everyone in the loop when it comes to scheduling.

Sunbird also allows you to publish either a section of your calendar or the entire calendar online if you have a host.

Mozilla has integrated the ability to use add-ons developed by those using Sunbird, just like you can customize Thunderbird and Firefox.

How to use Lightning in Thunderbird

When Sunbird was released in beta, Mozilla also released an add-on for Thunderbird called Lightning. This add-on integrates Sunbird into Thunderbird so that you can add events and tasks as you are checking your e-mail and things come up.

When you open Thunderbird after installing Sunbird and Lightning, you will see a calendar icon in the right-hand toolbar. Click on it.

Sunbird toolbar in Thunderbird

You have now opened up Sunbird in Thunderbird.

Lightning in Thunderbird

From here, you can add events and tasks, check your calendar without actually opening Sunbird and add information from your e-mails directly to your calendar.

It will take some to get the hang of using Sunbird and some features do not work completely just yet. The software may bug out, crash and other weird things might pop up. Mozilla is working to correct these errors and make Sunbird the best calendar it can be in line with how they developed Firefox and Thunderbird into what they are today.

Can Sunbird be your one and only calendar?

Mozilla has shown its dedication to creating the best possible software titles it can. Firefox and Thunderbird are highly successful and Mozilla has a dedicated following that will no doubt help the development of Sunbird along. Since Sunbird can be integrated into Thunderbird and customized with add-ons, it is only a matter of time before Sunbird becomes even more than Mozilla ever imagined it could be. You can also manage you iCal or Google Calendars with Mozilla Sunbird.

If you are using Sunbird, share your thoughts with us. What do you like about it? What do you want to see it added to it? What type of add-ons do you want to see work with it? Let us know!

Download Sunbird.

See Also: