Tip: TBird Editing Tags


Most of the tips posted here have been for Firefox 2/3. However this time around we have a Thunderbird 2/3 tip. Alex commented on the Thunderbird 2.0 Message Tags post:


There must be some way to change the default tags. i like the tags themselves, but the default tags are kind of annoying.

Any tricks for getting around this one?


Yes, but you will need to have the About:Config add-on for Thunderbird (see TBird about:config for instructions). Note you could also access the editor from Tools, select Options…, Click the Advance Tab, select (if it is not already) the General sub-tab and finally click the Config Editor… button. Once you have the Thunderbird about:config opened, type ‘Tags’ in the Filter field. You results should look very similar to these:

Click for full-size

Default Tags

Each of the five default tags has two sets of entries (note: # = Tag #):

  • mailnews.tags.$lable#.color – The display color (the six-digit hexadecimal color code) for the tag. See Hex Color Chart for list of colors.
  • mailnews.tags.$lable#.tag. The display text for the tag.


Simply double click on the entries to make changes.

Custom Tags


Custom created tags work the same way, but their naming scheme is a little different. These should be shown directly below the entries for the first 5 default tags (note: <tagname> = the name of the custom tag):

  • mailnews.tags.<tagname>.color – The display color (the six-digit hexadecimal color code) for this tag. See Hex Color Chart for list of colors.
  • mailnews.tags.<tagname>.tag – The display text for this tag.


Simply double click on the entries to make the changes.

Removing Custom Tags

You can not remove custom tags you have created from within Thunderbird. You can remove them via the about:config tool. Simply right-click on the entries for the tag you wish to remove and select ‘reset’. Restart Thunderbird and the tag will no longer be there.

Thanks for the tip Alex!