27 September 2008 ~ 1 Comment

Synchronizing Thunderbird with Gmail, GCalendar & Remember The Milk

Given that I’ve spent the best part of the past two hours trying to set up a working synchronisation between Mozilla Thunderbird, Remember The Milk and Google Calendar, I thought I’d celebrate by sharing my successful setup with anyone who might be looking for a reasonably reliable solution. First of course, you’ll need a copy of Thunderbird. I did get quite far setting up a sync between Outlook and Gmail etc, but Outlook was dragging my system down so I ditched it.

It’s nasty anyway, so let’s stick to software that’s sleek like Mozilla’s offering. Next, we want a calendar.  So go grab Lightning, which integrates perfectly with Thunderbird. We could use Sunbird of course (Lightning’s big sister) but I wanted maximum integration.  Finally, I use Remember The Milk for my to-do lists, so this guide will focus on that tool.  I recommend RTM – plus the cow is cool. So we now have the basics of our Outlook killer.

I want to set up a sync with Google’s suite of tools so I an access my data without needing my PC, so we’ll need a Gmail account and a Google Calendar.

Email synchronization

This part is very simple. Just follow Google’s instructions on setting up Gmail in Thunderbird via IMAP. I prefer IMAP to POP because it keeps all your actions in Thunderbird synchronised with your Gmail account. Once you’ve followed those instructions, you’ve achieved email synchronisation. Yay!

Calendar synchronization

We want Lightning to talk to Google Calendar. To achieve this, we need to load up a little add-on to Thunderbird first. First, load up Lightning into Thunderbird by following the instructions here. Then we need to install a great tool called Provider for Google Calendar, which will get them chatting. Once this is done, follow this fantastic visual guide to setting up GCal and Thunderbird. We now have a synchronised calendar!

Contacts synchronization

I hate the feeling of needing to contact someone, then realising the email I want is not in the address book I have access to at the time. So let’s link up Thunderbird’s address book and Gmail’s contacts.

There a few choices to achieve this, but I plumped for Google Contacts, in my opinion the superior choice. Download and install in Thunderbird. It’s pretty simple after that but here’s a quick guide just in case. Contacts? Check.

You have now fully synchronised Gmail, GCalendar and Thunderbird. If like me, you want to add a To-do / Tasks sync as well, let’s carry on.

Tasks synchronization

I’m assuming you have a Remember The Milk account ready – if not, register as it’s a great to-do list management tool! Back we go to Thunderbird Extentions – this time we need Remember The Milk Provider. Then follow the instructions found at dailygyan.com. All done? We’ve now created a close-to-fully synchronised productivity tool that will keep your information at hand wherever you are!

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  • Lucy1929

    Congratulations. I celebrate with you. I agree the cow is cool with RTM. How about Dooster.org though. I love it. I chose it for my boss simply because of the name which I thought was chill. Anyway more importantly, it’s a fantastic productivity that someone like can actually use and it’s made life easier for me.