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I’m frustrated

Change margin

How do I change margins when reading or composing emails? Could do it with 2.0 but cannot find option in 3.1. Thanks.
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  • I couldn't find it in the gui either, but it can be set manually in about:config. (Edit->Preferences->Advanced->General->Config Editor...).

    Once the config editor is open, type "margin" in the filter bar. This will show you all the margin parameters for all your printers.

    To change any of these parameters, double click on it and a dialog box will open allowing you to enter a new value.

    First, look at the entries that have "unwriteable" in them. These specify the margins of the page where the printer cannot physically print (in .01 inch units). Make sure these values are right for your printers. If the value is -1, then it will use the system defaults for the value (a good thing).

    Next, look at the entries that contain the name of your printer and end in top, bottom, left, and right. These values are added to the unwriteable ones above. They are measured (in inches) from the printable edge of the paper, not the physical edge. They can be as low as zero, but if you want headers and footers on your pages, try setting the top and bottom margins to 0.2 or more.

    I have my left and right margins set to 0.25. When that gets added to my printer's hardware margin of 0.25, I end up with 1/2 inch margins so I can 3-hole punch pages for notebooks.

    If you don't get it right the first few tries, you might want to add an about:config button to your toolbar (from the Toolbar Buttons addon) - at least until you get it right. It saves a lot of mouse clicks.

    I'm in the US, so it's possible that European versions may use metric values. I don't know.

    I figured this out by trial and error mucking about in about:config, so it may not be the best way to do it but it works.
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  • They moved it in the gui. A lug friend found it for me.

    File->Page Setup->Paper Size->Manage Custom Size
    allows you to set the margins. However, as in the "hard way" from my last post, these margin values are added to the unwriteable margin values, so if your printer has an unwriteable margin of 0.25, then setting the regular margin to 0.75 will give you a printed margin of 1.00 - all in inches.

    Once you set up a custom paper size, you just have to select it from the above dialog before printing. I'm not sure if the setting sticks for subsequent prints, but if you do it the "hard way" it becomes the default and does stick.
    • Thanks, but I can't make any of these two work.

      (1) the "hard" way: how do I get there? I don't have Edit->Preferences in Thunderbird 3.0. Is this some kind of special editor?

      (2) I changed this and doesn't do anything. My problem is when I type an email, not when I print. My margin is off by about %50 of the screen, so changing one inch won't do anything,.

      I really cannot believe Thunderbird 3.0 has this kind of flaw...
    • Thank you for the effort. I'm glad somebody is trying to help since Thunderbird is not. My problem, like emanuele.viola's, is how to adjust the margins, especially the left margin, when I am composing an EMAIL. Increasing the left margin unfortunately always shrinks the right margin at the same time when composing emails, leaving you with a narrow column to type your message. What I sincerely want to know is: WHEN COMPOSING AN EMAIL HOW DO YOU INCREASE THE LEFT MARGIN WITHOUT SHRINKING IN THE RIGHT MARGIN AT THE SAME TIME? This is really important when using stationery or templates that have an image or design on the left margin that must be indented over.
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  • Apparently, I gave you the right answer to the *wrong* question!

    Here are several separate comments.

    1) When I compose email, I don't have any left or right margins to deal with.
    I quickly scanned through about:config and don't see any settings that look like they deal directly with that (although it is hard to know because user level documentation for all those parameters is very uneven and scattered and I don't pretend to understand most of them.)

    Two settings that *might* affect you are:
    editor.htmlWrapColumn which is set to 72 on my system. It's a wordwrap boundary column that I'm sure can be set in the gui somewhere. That would affect your right margin - and probably wouldn't adjust in any way to compensate for an indent/left margin.

    editor.positioning.offset which is set to the default of 0 on my system.
    I read a description of what it does and still have no idea, but check if it's set to the default of 0 on your system.

    What I do see is a toolbar directly above the message pane (starts with a drop down list of "text styles" that defaults to "Body Text"). About halfway across that is a section that contains icons for bullets, numbering, outdent, and indent. The only way I know of to get an indent - sort of like a margin - is to click on indent a bunch of times until the text is as far right as I want it to be. So, if your text is too far right, the first thing to try is to select some or all of it (click in the text anywhere and press Ctrl-A to select all of it), and then click on outdent a few times and see if your margin decreases.

    2) All of us are Thunderbird. I'm just a long time user who has spent an inordinate amount of time bashing my head on things in the config - especially printer related. There's no paid staff or company that makes a lot of money to blame for things. That's the best and most frustrating aspect of free software. Some projects (and I hope Thunderbird is one of them) have some people employed by other companies who get paid to fix and improve things, but it's solely by the grace of their employers who naturally determine what they spend their time on.

    3) If all else fails, try selecting all of your text and setting the style from "Body Text"to "Preformat" and Font from "Variable Width" to "Fixed Width" or "Monospace" or Format->Plain Text Only.

    4) If you're really desperate or creative, you can try entering the body of your email in a text editor like kate, gedit, or kwrite. Once you have it the way you want it, try copying it and pasting it into the email body. Depending on what you're doing, your success will vary. You can also create your text with a word processor like OpenOffice.org writer or abiword and try pasting it into the message window. This is less likely to work as desired, but sometimes ....

    With either of these methods, you can always save the text to a file and then send it as an attachment to your email. Then, Thunderbird won't touch it at all. Just make sure your recipients are OK with receiving mail with attachments.

    6)More details on how to get to the config stuff. It's there. I just described it in a shorthand that you may not be familiar with.

    When you first start/open Thunderbird, there's a main menu bar that appears at the top of the window just below the title bar. It starts out
    File Edit View ....
    Click on "Edit".
    This produces a drop down box. The last entry in the box is "Preferences".
    Click on Preferences.
    This opens a dialog box with a bunch of tabs at the top of it. The last one has an icon of a gear and is labeled "Advanced".
    Click on "Advanced". This opens the Advanced tab which shows all the ""Advanced" options.
    About half way down the dialog box on the right is a button labeled "Config Editor ...".
    Click on the Config Editor ... button.
    That opens the Configuration editor where you can get to everything a user can get to, including a bunch of things that are not in the gui.
    (That was a whole lot of work to get to and that's why I suggested installing a button on your main toolbar that takes you right there.)

    When you change anything here, make good notes on what you did so you can undo it. Putting the wrong thing in some of these parameters can break things in all sorts of ways. Because of this, and to maintain sanity, only change one or two things at a time and see what happens before trying something else. See 7) below.

    At this point, it's a good idea to go up to the title bar of the box and maximize it (click on the ^).
    There are a whole lot of parameters here and most of them will not be of interest at any given time. The Filter bar at the top of the box is your friend.
    Type any text there and only those parameters that include that text in their names will be displayed. That makes it a lot easier to find what you're looking for (once you know what you're looking for. ;) ).

    If you don't know what to look for, you'll have to scan down the whole list.
    When you find something that looks interesting, give it to Google:

    Go to Google in your browser's toolbar or directly to the Google website and search for it like:
    thunderbird "editor.positioning.offset"

    The quotes seem to help Google by making sure it treats the parameter as one word and not several unrelated words. Sometimes you also need to put a + directly in front of one or more search terms to tell it that you really want that word in the results.
    +thunderbird +"editor.positioning.offset"

    You'll find several sites that list a bunch of parameters in one place, but there's a lot more info scattered all over the net. The trick is making sense of it once you find it.

    Many of the descriptions are very terse and not particularly helpful. They're good for reference which is a polite way of saying that they'll remind you of what something does and (sometimes) how to do it, but if you don't already know what you're doing, that's too bad.

    Once you find a parameter you want to change, you can double click on it to open a dialog box to modify it. If the parameter is a toggle (only has two settings), double clicking on it will toggle it to the other setting. Right clicking on it will give you more options, but the only one that might help at this point is Reset which will restore the default setting for the parameter which may help if you want to restore something you changed where the Status column started out as "Default" and not "User Set".

    7) Before changing much in your config file, it's a good idea to back it up so you can just restore it if things get out of hand.

    If you're in Linux, everything is stored in the hidden directory .thunderbird, or in some systems (ubuntu), .mozilla-thunderbird in your user's home directory.
    If you're just going to test things without doing any real work, you can just copy the whole thing to another directory out of the way, but this also conatis all your messages, etc. so if you copy it back, you'll lose any new messages or modifications to messages that you made during testing. To just back up the config file itself, go into your .thunderbird or .mozilla-thunderbird directory and you'll find a subdirectory with a random name like w85su4ki.default. Exit Thunderbird and then go into that directory and copy the file prefs.js to some place safe. You need to exit Thunderbird first because Thunderbird overwrites this file every time it closes and you want your copy to be the current version before you change anything else.

    If you do need to restore this file, then do so when Thunderbird is closed for the same reason.

    HTH

    Joe
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  • If you're in Windows, most of the above is the same except you'll use notepad instead of kate and you'll have to look up where your config file is saved - Something like C:\Documents and Settings\yourusername\Application Data\ Mozilla\Thunderbird

    There's a utility to help with this, but I have not used it.
    http://mozbackup.jasnapaka.com/

    Joe
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  • I still can't make this work. This is how my margin looks like, and my edit menu as well. Can anybody help?
    This was no problem in 2.0

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  • I can't see what the problem is from your screenshot.

    Maybe you could restate the issue in more detail.

    I don't see anything that looks like a margin or an indent and, what is there in your Edit menu looks right. Mine has a few more entries than yours, but I'm on Linux and yours looks like Windows, so I wouldn't expect them to be exactly the same. The only thing that looks weird is the body of the email which appears to be random text.

    Joe
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  • 1
    Is this your problem?

    (I'm not sure the link below will work here. If it doesn't, in Thunderbird, just click on Help, then Help Contents. That will get you to the Thunderbird help page on the web. Type some garbage into the search knowledgebase field and press enter. On the next screen, you'll see a blank entry field followed by a Continue button. Type "word wrap" into that field and press enter. Then click on the entry that reads
    Missing word wrap in Thunderbird 3.0

    http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_me...

    If so, see my second detailed reply:

    Quote:

    Two settings that *might* affect you are:
    editor.htmlWrapColumn which is set to 72 on my system. It's a wordwrap boundary column that I'm sure can be set in the gui somewhere. That would affect your right margin - and probably wouldn't adjust in any way to compensate for an indent/left margin.

    Endquote

    So, what you need to try is to go into the config editor - see detailed instructions in previous posts - and type "wrap" into the filter line.

    You'll see around 6 parameters.

    Do the following one step at a time and see if your problem gets better or worse. If you don't get good results, go back and undo what you did before moving to the next step. This is essential so you only end up changing the exactly what you need to fix your problem. Leaving other things changed that "didn't do anything" is a major invitation to trouble later.

    1) There are two parameters that set the word wrap column. It looks like one is for reading and the other is for composing. Try setting them both up from 72 characters (which is really small for today's displays) to something larger like 130. (editor.htmlWrapColumn and mailnews.wraplength). (See posts above for how to change the values.)

    If you want to, you can just minimize the config window (press the \/ button in the upper right corner of the window) instead of closing it so you can get back to it quickly for further changes.

    Once you set these, they should take effect immediately, but just to be safe, create a new message and see if you type longer lines

    If you can, then your problem is fixed. All you have to do is go back and fine tune how many characters long (instead of 130) you want your lines to be.

    If that didn't work, you can put the vales back to 72 or just leave them as is. In this case it doesn't matter.

    2) This next change may work, but if it does, it will force you to manually wrap all your lines which is not a good idea for a bunch of reasons.

    Try setting mail.wrap_long_lines to false (by double clicking on it).

    Create a new message and see if you can type long lines. If you can, your problem is fixed - sort of. You can type longer lines, but you'll have to manually type return to end each line. That seems fine at first, but try changing the size of your compose window - especially by making it smaller. Then your lines will probably look cut off on the right. You'll probably even get a horizontal scrollbar on the bottom.

    All of that isn't too bad, but when you send your message to someone who doesn't have word wrap turned off, they'll end up seeing some
    lines
    like this in the message where their display window automatically wrapped the line shorter than where your return was and then wrapped the line again when it saw the return.

    When you're done making changes to the config file, it's a good idea to close Thunderbird (and then reopen it if you want to). That will cause the config file with all your changes to be saved.

    Anyway, try these fixes and get back to me.

    I checked in bugzilla (where all Mozilla bugs are officially tracked) briefly and Thunderbird 3.0 left out the word wrap parameters from the gui on purpose. They really shouldn't be needed any more.

    I also tried to reproduce your problem, but cannot. I'm using Thunderbird 3.0.5 for Linux. What version are you using? To find out, click on Help and then click on "About Thunderbird".

    See how your wrap settings compare to mine (see picture). Also, put your cursor anywhere in the message text and then tell me what values Thunderbird shows for "text style" and "text font" - see previous posts for where these are on the screen.
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  • This is what my compose window looks like. See what yours says where mine says Body text and variable width after you click your mouse in the body of your message.
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  • Really glad I could help. I can't count all the times people have helped me and it's nice to give back.

    For the benefit of anyone else who reads this thread, what exactly fixed it?

    I'm curious too.

    Joe
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  • I’m thankful
    I just upgraded to Thunderbird 6.0 and my margins were messed up. I used my own advice from this thread to help me fix them, so helping others directly helped me!
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