Mozilla SunbirdMozilla’s latest project Sunbird ties into Thunderbird through an extension called Lightning. Lightning connects the two together and might just be more important to the overall functionality of Sunbird than using it without the add-on. You can sync Lightning with your Google Calendar, Windows Live and Yahoo Calendars to keep everything going on in your life on track through Thunderbird.

Make sure you have Sunbird installed along with the Lightning extension to get started. While Sunbird is not required, it does make the calendar features in Thunderbird easier to use when you are not using the e-mail client.


How to sync Lightning with Google Calendar

The basic steps to create a new calendar with Lightning in Thunderbird are the same. Start by clicking on “File.”


Then, click on “New.”  Finally, click “Calendar.”

New calendar

Thunderbird has made it easy to walk through the process of creating a new calendar with Lightning. For a Google Calendar, you want to make sure you click the circle next to “On the Network.” Then, click “Next.”

Locate your calendar

You want to choose “CalDAV” as the calendar type for Google. For Location, you want to type in the following: [your Google Calendar ID] /events

Locate your calendar

Your Google Calendar ID is simply the Google e-mail address you use for the primary Calendar. This is usually your login e-mail address.

If you have multiple calendars on Google, you will have to input individual calendar IDs. They are in the form of [name of calendar] You can find this information in the Calendar Settings section of Google.

Click “Next” once you have entered in the Location.

Customize your calendar

You can now name your calendar in Thunderbird along with choosing a color for it, choosing whether to show your alarms or not as well as associating an e-mail address with the calendar. Click “Next” to continue.

Lightning will create your calendar. Click “Finish.”

Calendar created

Upon clicking finish, a new window will pop-up asking you to input your username and password for the calendar you wish to sync. Enter your login information for the account and click “Ok.”

Authentication Required

Lightning will now sync your Google Calendar to Thunderbird for you to view, edit and work with however you choose.

If you want to change the basic properties of the calendar, you can right click on it.

Right-click on calendar

Then, click “Properties.”

Edit Calendar

From here, you can change the first set of options for the calendar, and you can also choose how often the calendar is refreshed.

How to Sync Lightning with Yahoo

The same initial steps described above can be followed to sync a Yahoo Calendar with Lightning in Thunderbird.

When you create your new calendar, you want to put choose “CalDAV” as your option and then enter the Location. Use this format –

Your_username will be your primary username for Yahoo services. Your_calendar_name shall be the name used for the calendar you want to sync.

Follow the same steps after that as syncing your Google Calendar to Lightning to link your Yahoo Calendar to Thunderbird, too.

How to Sync Lightning with Windows Live

Syncing Lightning to a Windows Live Calendar is a bit different than how you use the CalDAV format to sync your Google and Yahoo calendars.

Before you begin the steps to sync your Windows Live calendar, you want to login to your Windows Live account and head to your calendars. Click on “Share.”

Then, click on “Share this calendar.”

Sharing settings for "Melissa's calendar"

Click the box next to “Send people a view-only link to your calendar.” We need the ICS link to your Windows Live calendar in order to import it into Lightning.

Send people a view-only link to your calendar

Click on “Import into another calendar application.”

ICS links

A pop-up will appear with a link to your calendar in ICS format. Copy and paste the link.

You will use this as your Location for setting up your new calendar in Thunderbird. Make sure to check the ICS box as well.

Locate your calendar

Follow the rest of the steps detailed in setting up a Google Calendar and you will be able to sync your Windows Live Calendar with Lightning in Thunderbird.

You have now successfully learned how to set up three of the most popular calendar features of services online.


Google, Yahoo and Windows Live calendars can all be synced easily with Lightning through Thunderbird. While you may not have all the functionality of working with your calendar through its stand-alone service, syncing your calendars can be an effective way to stay on top of events as they begin filtering in through your e-mail.

Does syncing your calendars do you any good?

One of the downfalls of using technology is that we often spread ourselves thin depending on what we do online. We have multiple e-mail addresses, calendars, instant message accounts and sometimes we lose track of what is going on because we are all over the place. By consolidating our calendars in one place, such as Thunderbird through the Lightning extension, we can cut down on the things we might miss by forgetting to check one calendar one day and another the next.

Mozilla’s Sunbird project has given them a new way to combat users having to rely on multiple services through other developers to get a day to day tasks done. By offering calendar software along with a way to fully integrate it into Thunderbird, Mozilla has given its users the chance to bring all their calendars together in one place to work with. If you have not checked out Sunbird and Lightning, what are you waiting for?

Download Lightning.

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