I am writing an e-mail in Thunderbird, formatting it with bold, italic, bullets, etc. When I am finished, I would like to copy the HTML to my blog.

I tried the Edit HTML Source Add-On but it "is not compatible with Thunderbird 3.1.10".

How else can I view the HTML source of an e-mail I'm writing in Thunderbird?


Thanks baraboom, that's it, actually you can just CTRL-S to save then go to Drafts and view source:

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  • 4
    You could post your solution as another answer (and get rep for that) ;)
    – slhck
    Jun 11, 2011 at 21:06

5 Answers 5


You can send yourself a copy of it and then view the raw message using either the menu option ViewView Source or the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + U.

  • 2
    There is a far better way IMO. Insert-->HTML, which actually also allows you to view and edit the email in HTML as described more fully in my answer.
    – Fauxcuss
    May 9, 2015 at 20:36

If you're in mail composition mode, which it sounds like your are, forget the "view source" option people are telling you.

You want the HTML, not the raw email message with MIME formatting and everything.

Instead, while in composing the message, Edit->Select All, then click the Insert->HTML menu option on your message window.

The window that opens is small, but you can drag the window to a larger size.Your HTML message will be there (minus headers and body tags). This is more useful to copy a message out as HTML.

Likewise, you can create your message in your favorite HTML editor, and insert it using this feature as well.

Though the menu command is Insert->HTML, it really allows you to edit the message as HTML as well as long as you select the text before you invoke Insert->HTML.

I use this often when forwarding a message that was a poorly designed email newsletter and I need to tweak a few things before forwarding on.

  • 6
    This should be the selected answer.
    – dotancohen
    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:37

As of Thunderbird 31.5.0 this is still relevant, and my current solution is "File -> Save As -> File" and then pick file type "HTML" which does "what you expect". But, you have to bounce out to another application like Notepad or Firefox (view source) to access the HTML source rather than being able to use the built in Firefox text editor, which is not always the most efficient path to your goal.

All the previous answers (view -> view source, other actions -> view source, and Ctrl-U, which are all the same) do not seem to work, because as Tyler Rick correctly notes they present raw message with mime formatting (as well as message headers). And, in the current version, I don't even find View Source available on drafts. Certainly the "view source" implemented is a powerful feature as well, I just think it was that wrong default choice and should be an advanced option.


There is a little known extension to Thunderbird: Stationary (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/stationery/?src=api). It allows to edit e-mails in HTML.

  • As of now, this extension is no longer supported, so for everyone using Thunderbird 60+, options for those versions are ThunderHTMLEdit or SmartTemplate4.
    – DH.
    Feb 13, 2020 at 11:31

Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + U.

  • 2
    That will only show the source of a received message, not a message that's in the process of being written.
    – klokop
    Oct 28, 2014 at 17:21
  • 7
    It also doesn't help if the entire message is Content-Transfer-Encoding: base64 encoded, for example. Then all I see when I press Ctrl + U is SGkgTWF0dXGhldyAtDQpDbZ3VsZCB5b3UgbWFrZSB0a2...
    – Tyler Rick
    Nov 6, 2014 at 22:26
  • 2
    and it's not necessarily great if it's quoted-printable encoded either.
    – bdsl
    Sep 12, 2016 at 0:22

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