Thunderbird Conversations & font issues

Jonathan Protzenko jonathan.protzenko at
Fri Jul 1 19:00:47 UTC 2011

if you're running Thunderbird 5.0. There's no UI in there to flip the 
pref, so go to Preferences > Advanced > General > Config editor and 
flip conversations.tweak_bodies to false.


On Fri 01 Jul 2011 11:55:25 AM PDT, Jonathan Protzenko wrote:
> Hi,
> A version of Thunderbird Conversations with a new option is available 
> here 
> <>. 
> The option allows you to disable all modifications I make to the message 
> bodies in the conversation view.
> Please try this out. The option is in the addon's options, under the 
> "advanced" tab. I take no responsibility for the resulting ugliness of 
> the conversation view :-).
> jonathan
> On Thu 30 Jun 2011 08:06:43 PM PDT, Jonathan Protzenko wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Thanks for chiming in and sharing your thoughts. After careful 
>> consideration, I've decided to add an option to disable the scaling 
>> for the message bodies only, and this is tracked as 
>> <>. Making 
>> it appear in the setup assistant is a good idea, I'll make sure users 
>> can disable the scaling there.
>>> The problem ultimately stems from wanting replicate exactly how 
>>> G-Mail works in Thunderbird down to the pixel. It would be better if 
>>> you replicated the *feel* of G-Mail's thread system, while using 
>>> exactly the font sizes that Thunderbird itself uses. It makes no 
>>> sense to ignore the user's choices of font sizes, and it makes 
>>> Conversations really feel like a foreign part of Thunderbird rather 
>>> than a well-integrated add-on that would one day hopefully become 
>>> integrated in a later version.
>> I'd like to remind you that I'm the only person working on this, on my 
>> spare time, and I'm no graphic designer. Not one little bit. I'm 
>> swamped with other issues, and I'd rather move the code forward than 
>> fight design issues that I know I won't be able to solve in an elegant 
>> manner. The designer helped me out last summer with a graphical 
>> mockup, period. I've asked repeatedly for help 
>> <!>, 
>> no one came up.
>> So yes, this does not integrate at all in Thunderbird. I agree. The 
>> design is mac-centric, and 12px was hardcoded everywhere in the 
>> original design! I had to re-work the entire CSS stylesheet to make 
>> sure it uses a fraction of the default font size, so that if your font 
>> size is 20px, then the conversation font size is 15px. Many wrong 
>> assumptions are made (i.e. the user has a light theme). I talk about 
>> them all in the blog post I mentioned above.
>>> One of the biggest lessons in UI design is the principle of least 
>>> surprise. It is very surprising when font options aren't actually 
>>> being followed. As is the use of the "Minimum font size" option to 
>>> mean "this is how big message text should be"; it took me a while to 
>>> figure out why increasing the size of the proportional font didn't 
>>> seem to have an effect.
>> So this is a problem : increasing the size of the "Default font" in 
>> Preferences > Display > Formatting should increase proportionally the 
>> size of the conversation view. I've made sure users still have the 
>> option of bumping the font size. Does this not work with you? (Please 
>> continue by private email if you do have a specific bug.)
>>> Maybe the installer should ask if you want your fonts reduced down to 
>>> 12px, and if they say no, then make the fonts what they want them to 
>>> be. This should be one of the switches the user can see at install 
>>> time and choose to avoid if they so desire.
>> Yes, I do plan on implementing this.
>> Thanks for bringing this up.
>> jonathan

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