Quote bars

From MozillaZine Knowledge Base

Thunderbird displays a blue vertical bar called a quote bar instead of a '>' in quoted text in HTML messages. The '>' is still stored in the message, its just displayed differently by Thunderbird. If you want to disable this feature and display quoted text using '>' characters either install the Quote Colors extension and disable "Graphical Quoting" in its options dialog or put the following code in your "userContent.css" and "prefs.js" files, respectively.

In userContent.css, insert:

blockquote[type=cite] {
   padding-bottom: 0 !important;
   padding-top: 0 !important;
   padding-left: 0 !important;
   border-left: none !important;
   border-right: none !important;

In prefs.js, insert:

user_pref("mail.quoted_graphical", false);
user_pref("mail.quoteasblock", false);
user_pref("mailnews.display.disable_format_flowed_support", true);

The QuoteAndComposeManager add-on provides many options such as inserting real borders in HTML messages (rather than relying upon the email client to interpret the '>' as a quote bar) , keeping the original colors of the quoted text, deleting the quoting character ('>') in plain text messages, and trying to fix some bugs in an image's path (for copy & paste and edit as new). If for some reason you can't display the quote bar the add-on sometimes works around that bug.


The format=flowed standard, which is defined by RFC 3676, allows an e-mail application to automatically rewrap plain-text messages to fit into the window width for display and when replying. This rewrapping also rearranges the '>' characters of recognized quotes, and places them at the beginning of each rewrapped line. You can find details of Mozilla's implementation here and here (the latter may be somewhat out of date). This forum post describes compatibility problems between Thunderbird's format=flowed and other e-mail programs.

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