Steps to use Thunderbird to Send Bulk Email
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If you need to send a message to a large number of internal and/or external recipients (and your message does not require email-merge or any special formatting), you can use Mozilla Thunderbird to bypass Google's sending limits.

For Smith Mail users, the per-message recipient limits imposed by Google are:

  • No more than 500 external (non-Smith) addresses per message
  • No more than 1500 internal (Smith) addresses per message
  • No more than 2000 total recipients per message

Thunderbird can be installed on both Macs and PCs, but please note that the special bulk-email configuration described below works only on computers connected to the Smith network.


STEP ONE. Enable IMAP Access and review label settings in Smith Mail

  1. Go to Smith Mail ( and log in to whatever account you will use to send bulk email messages.

  2. Click the Options button (gear icon) at the top right of the Smith Mail page and choose Mail Settings.

  3. Click the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab.

  4. In the IMAP Access section, choose Enable IMAP.

  5. Click Save Changes.

  6. Go back into Mail Settings and click on the Labels tab.

  7. To prevent unneeded messages from being copied into Thunderbird, we recommend that you un-check the Copy to IMAP box beside every label except Sent Mail. (Note that you cannot remove the check mark beside Inbox.)

STEP TWO. Install Thunderbird

  1. Go to and click on the Thunderbird Free Download button.

  2. Save the installer file to your desktop or Downloads folder.

  3. Double-click on the Thunderbird setup file on your desktop to launch the installer. If prompted, click Run.

  4. The Mozilla Thunderbird Setup window will open. Click Next.

  5. In the next screen, un-check the box for Use Thunderbird as my default email application, then click Next.

  6. In the next screen, click Install.

  7. When the installation is complete, leave the Launch Mozilla Thunderbird Now box checked and click Finish.

  8. If prompted, click Don't import anything.

STEP THREE. Configure Thunderbird for Bulk Email

  1. When the Welcome to Thunderbird window opens, click the Skip this and use my existing email account button in the lower left.

  2. In the Mail Account Setup window, enter the full name, email address, and password for the Smith Mail account you will use to send bulk email (e.g., ITS News), then click Continue.

  3. The Mail Account Setup window will open and Thunderbird will try to create your new account. It wil fail the first time, as shown below.

  4. Edit the Incoming: IMAP settings as follows:

    1. Change Server hostname to:

    2. Change Port to: 993

    3. SSL will automatically change to SSL/TLS

    4. Change Authentication to: Normal password

  5. Edit the Outgoing: SMTP settings as follows:

    1. Change Server hostname to:

    2. Change Port to: 25

    3. Change SSL to: None

    4. Change Authentication to: No authentication

  6. When you're done, the window should look like the one below.

  7. Click Done. You will see the window below:

  8. Click the box beside I understand the risks, then click Done.

  9. In the System Integration window, un-check the boxes beside Make this my default email program and Always perform this check, then click OK.

  10. If you don't want to add any other accounts, you're all set. Proceed to the next section.

  11. To add another account:

    1. Open the Tools menu and choose Account Settings.

    2. In the Account Settings window, click on Account Actions in the lower left and choose Add New Account.

    3. Repeat steps 1-9 above for the new account.

You're now ready to start using Thunderbird to send bulk messages.

Saving Addresses in a Thunderbird Mailing List

Thunderbird doesn't allow you to paste more than a few email addresses directly into the To, Cc, or Bcc field. To get around this restriction, you must first save all your recipient addresses in a Thunderbird mailing list:

  1. Copy the set of addresses you want to use from any list or spreadsheet.

    Note: If you want to send to all addresses in an existing Smith Mail personal contact group, skip ahead to these special instructions.

  2. Open Thunderbird and click on the Address Book button.

  3. In the Address Book window, click the New List button.

  4. In the Mailing List window:
    1. Leave the Add to menu set to Personal Address Book.

    2. In the List Name field, enter a unique descriptive name for your list.

    3. Position your cursor inside the Type email addresses box, paste in the addresses you copied previously, and click OK.

  5. Close the Address Book and proceed to the next section.

Sending a Message to a Saved List

  1. In the main Thunderbird window, click the Write button to begin a new message.

  2. In the Write window, open the View menu and choose Contacts Sidebar. The Contacts area will appear on the left.

  3. In the Address Book menu, select the Personal Address Book.

  4. Begin typing the name of the list of interest in the Search For field (e.g, test). All lists that match the search term will appear automatically.

  5. Select the correct list name, then click either the Add to To, Add to Cc, or Add to Bcc button at the bottom of the Contacts area. For most bulk mail messages, Add to Bcc is the best option.

  6. The list name will appear in the address area of your message, as shown below.

  7. Compose and send your message. It will be sent to all addresses on the selected list.

  8. Note that your sent message will appear in the Sent Mail folder in both Thunderbird and Smith Mail.

Creating a Thunderbird Mailing List from a Smith Mail Personal Contact Group

A few additional steps are required to create Thunderbird mailing list from an existing Smith Mail personal contact group:

  1. Open the Smith Mail account that owns the personal contact group you want to use and click on Contacts in the Google Apps menubar.

  2. In the Google Contacts window, click on the name of the contact group. The group list will open on the right.

  3. Click the More button and choose Export from the drop-down menu.

  4. In the Export contacts window, click on the correct radio button to select your group, then confirm that the export format is set to Google CSV.

  5. Click Export.

  6. The app will create a new downloadable file called google.csv.
    1. In Chrome, the file will appear at the lower edge of the work window. Drag it to your desktop.

    2. In Firefox and Safari, the file will automatically be saved in your Downloads folder. Open Downloads and drag it to the desktop from there.

    3. In Internet Explorer, save the file to your desktop.

  7. Once the file is on your desktop, we recommend changing its name to something more descriptive, such as: instructors.csv

  8. Open Microsoft Excel and use File /Open to open your csv file in a spreadsheet.

  9. Select and copy the email addresses you want to use.

  10. Open Thunderbird and click the Address Book button.

  11. In the Address Book window, click the New List button.

  12. In the Mailing List window:
    1. Leave the Add to menu set to Personal Addresses.

    2. Enter a unique descriptive name for your list.

    3. Paste the addresses into the list part of the window and click OK.

  13. Close the Address Book.

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Copyright © 2015 Smith College Information Technology Services  |  Last updated June 9, 2016

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