Reply header settings

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This article was written for Thunderbird but also applies to Mozilla Suite / SeaMonkey (though some menu sequences may differ).

When you reply to an e-mail message or a news post, Thunderbird can add a header like:

On 01-01-2007 11:00 AM, Alf Aardvark wrote:

You can use preference settings to customize this header in some limited ways. There are also several extensions that provide more customization.


Four preferences specify the text elements that make up the reply header, and two others affect how the header is formatted. Its recommended you use the Config editor (Tools -> Options -> Advanced -> General) to see and modify these settings. However, it doesn't let you enter a line break. If you need one directly edit user.js instead, adding \n as needed.

A code number that specifies the sequence of elements in the reply header. Each element is specified by a separate preference
Value Elements Example
0 mailnews.reply_header_originalmessage -------- Original Message --------
1 (SeaMonkey default)  authorwrote colon Alf Aardvark wrote:
2 (Thunderbird default)  ondate separator authorwrote colon  On 01-01-2007 11:00 AM, Alf Aardvark wrote:
3 authorwrote separator ondate colon  Alf Aardvark wrote, on 01-01-2007 11:00 AM:
Default: %s wrote
Thunderbird replaces the %s with the author's name or e-mail address.
Default: : (colon)
You can add more text here, before the colon or replacing the colon.
Default: , (comma space)
You can add more text here, before the comma or replacing the comma.
Default: On %s
Thunderbird replaces the %s with the date and time.
Default: empty
Optionally specify a locale for formatting the date and time—for example: en-US
Default: -------- Original Message --------
Changes the reply header to the text you specify if mailnews.reply_header_type is set to 0.


The Change quote and reply format extension modifies the reply header, letting you insert a header with this format:

---- Original message -----
Subject: something
Date: 09/07/2007

It has options to add a CC field and strip off any inline attachments.

The SmartTemplate4 extension lets you customize your new messages and replies by writing predefined templates.

The Mnenhy extension supports customizing what headers are shown.

The QuoteColors add-on doesn't modify the headers, but lets you customize the text and background colors for each quote level.

See also

External links

  • The Smart Template extension provides smart and simple templates and the ability to customize the quote header using reserved words in the template. It supports using any header as part of the reply header.
  • The RtoRe extension replaces the "Re: R: R: R: ..." created by prior replies using Outlook with "Re: ...".
  • Tthe QuoteAndComposeManager add-on (see feature 3) lets you disable the '>' quote indicator when replying to a plain text message.
  • Bug 107884: discussion about adding a user interface and allow templated headers
  • Bug 140337: requesting the ability to include the email address of the author
  • Bug 224811: mailnews.reply_header_originalmessage preference has no effect
  • Bug 438375: default reply header should include timestamp (fixed)