Quote Colors


On this page I tried to describe the various settings of the Quote Colors extension. If there's something missing, wrong or unclear, please contact me.

Note: this guide describes the options available in the latest Quote Colors version 0.3, earlier versions may not provide all of these options. Most of the time, I just mention "Thunderbird" in this guide but everything written here is valid for Mozilla and SeaMonkey, too.


In Thunderbird and SeaMonkey 2, you can reach the options dialog by going to Tools > Add-ons. Select the "Extensions" tab on the top. Then select the "Quote Colors" extension from the list and click the Options button.
In Mozilla or SeaMonkey 1.x, simply open the mail & newsgroup client and select Tools > Quote Colors Options….
The options dialog uses two tabs (Quote Colors and Advanced & Message Options).

Quote Colors tab

Quote Colors settings

Quote level colors

First you can select which parts of a quoted paragraph should be colored: choose Text, Background or both by checking the corresponding checkboxes.
After that you select the text color (first column) and background color (second column) for each quote level. The preview box on the right side gives you an impression how the selected colors will look like.
In case you want to set the text and background colors to default values, click the "Reset colors to default values" button. You can always discard this change by clicking the Cancel button.


The preview should give you an idea how the selected colors, borders etc. influence the message but it won't take into account other settings from the mail application like fonts, font sizes etc. Take it as a basic help while configuring the extension and don't wonder if it looks a bit different with a "real" message.

Graphical quoting options

Graphical quoting

By default, every quoted paragraph has a border (line, bar) on the left side instead of the common quote character '>', this is called "graphical quoting". For plain text messages however, some people might prefer the traditional quote character over these borders. In this case just uncheck "Enable graphical quoting for plain text messages".
When using graphical quoting, you have several options to influence the appearance of these borders. You can choose if you want the borders to use the same color as the quote level or select a fixed color for all borders that is used regardless of their level. Select the width and style of these borders from the lists, and finally their positions. When enabling the "collapse borders" option, there will be just one border on the left (right) side of every quoted paragraph, this saves a bit room. With the help of the preview this should be pretty easy.

Advanced & Message Options tab

Advanded and Message options

Advanced Options

You can enable or disable the coloring of quotes in HTML messages. Since HTML messages may contain their own text and background colors, the quote color settings you made for plain text messages possibly don't look good. So that's why you can decide whether you want to disable quote coloring completely for HTML.

Message Options

These options influence the appearance of messages in general, i.e. they are not limited to quoted message parts.

If the "Use my own message colors" box is checked the following colors will be applied to messages you read. If you disable it the default colors of Thunderbird will be used instead.
The first two allow to set up message text and background colors. You may ask why these two options are available here, since you already can change these colors in Thunderbirds options (Display tab). The main reason: the colors from Thunderbird are applied to all windows in the application (compose window, message windows, even the view source window). The settings from Quote Colors are only applied when viewing messages, just like the quote colors which is more useful in my opinion. Plus, it's a bit more convenient to have all these kind of options in one place. Please note that changing these colors here does not alter the colors set up in Thunderbirds options and vice versa. However, the colors selected here take precedence.
Then you can select the color of links, a link hover color (the color that appears when you move the cursor over a link), the colors of signatures and links in signatures.

Note: the message colors will be applied to HTML messages only if they don't contain their own colors!

With the next box you can decide whether signatures (if available) should be displayed. If you check it, the signature colors defined above won't be used since signatures are hidden. Just for clarification, even if you select to hide signatures, they will be visible in the compose window when replying to that message.
The "Enable font effects" option allows some basic text formatting in plain text messages. Text between some predefined delimiters (asterisk *, slash / or underscore _ ) is automatically formatted as bold, italic or underlined when the message is displayed. You can choose to hide these delimiters by checking the "Don't display font effect delimiters" option. See the following examples for better illustration of this feature:

*This* is a /sample/ text. *This* is a /sample/ text. This is a sample text.
font effects disabled
font effects enabled
(delimiters shown)
font effects enabled
(delimiters hidden)

A short technical note: this feature is supported by Thunderbird itself, Quote Colors only gives you the option to enable/disable it. Any bugs or deficiencies that may appear when using this option are not the fault of this extension.

If you want to accept the changes you've made, click OK. Click the Cancel button to keep the settings that are currently active (i.e. before opening the options dialog).

The quotecolors project can be contacted through the mailing list or the member list.
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