How to specify the e-mail account Thunderbird uses to reply to event invitations

Usually applications with a GUI are intuitive to use and not too difficult to configure. But sometimes I end up banging my head against a brick wall. Such was the case when I wanted to change the default e-mail account that the Thunderbird e-mail client uses to send an ‘Email Notification’ in reply to a meeting invitation.

I have several e-mail accounts and use Thunderbird with the Lightning calendar extension. When my e-mail accounts receive a meeting invitiation e-mail, the row of buttons ‘Accept’, ‘Tentative’ and ‘Decline’ is displayed at the top of the invitation window. The problem is that, whichever of my e-mail accounts receives an event invitation e-mail, clicking on the aforementioned buttons always results in Thunderbird sending the reply (‘Event Notification Email’) from a fixed e-mail account. To give a hypothetical example, let’s say I had the e-mail accounts,, and Whichever of those accounts receives an event invitation e-mail, when I click on ‘Accept’ the reply is always sent from the account

It turns out that the e-mail account Thunderbird uses to send event notification replies is tied to the calendar, not to the e-mail account which received the invitation (see Mozilla Bugzilla Bug No. 589081 – Wrong outgoing server for meet confirmation in Lighting plugin for Thunderbird). However, it is not obvious how to specify the default e-mail account to be used by the calendar, so here is how to do it in Thunderbird 31.2.0 and Lightning 3.3.2:

  1. There are two icons at the top right of the Thunderbird window in my case: a calendar icon and a clipboard icon. Hovering the mouse pointer over those two icons displays the tooltips ‘Switch to the calendar tab’ and ‘Switch to the tasks tab’ respectively. Click on the calendar icon to display the calendar tab.
  2. The calendar tab should be displayed. Click on ‘Edit’ and select ‘Calendar Properties…’ from the drop-down menu. A window titled ‘Edit Calendar’ should pop up.
  3. In the ‘Edit Calendar’ window, select the default e-mail account from the drop-down menu of e-mail accounts, make sure ‘Read Only’ is not ticked, and click ‘OK’.

That’s all there is to it. It is a pity the Thunderbird UI does not make it at all obvious how to do it.

About Fitzcarraldo
A Linux user with an interest in all things technical.

25 Responses to How to specify the e-mail account Thunderbird uses to reply to event invitations

  1. Sean says:

    Thanks for this. I came across it wihile searching for info on how to make the ‘accept’, ‘tentative’ and ‘decline’ buttons appear. I just installed Thunderbird 31.2.0 and Lightning 3.3.1 and find that these buttons are missing when I receive a calendar invite, either from Outlook or Google calendars. Really makes it useless. Do you have any ideas on how to restore these buttons? Thanks.

    • Fitzcarraldo says:

      The ‘Accept’, ‘Tentative’ and ‘Decline’ buttons only appear if you un-tick ‘Read Only’ in the Edit Calendar pop-up window, as mentioned in my post. If that is ticked, the buttons are not displayed in my case.

  2. Sean says:

    The “Read Only” buttons always were unticked, but still no buttons to accept or decline an invitation. I do subscribe to coworkers calendars which are indeed read only. In the past, with an earlier version of Thunderbird and Lightning, this wasn’t a problem and I could accept invitations on my own calendar. Any other possiblities for why these buttons don’t appear?

    • Fitzcarraldo says:

      I don’t know. I have a single calendar and six e-mail accounts. In the Edit Calendar window, none of the six e-mail accounts have ‘Read Only’ ticked.

      Is it possible for you to un-tick ‘Read Only’ on all accounts and calendars so that you can check if this is indeed the reason why you cannot see the buttons?

  3. Kirk says:

    Thank you! I searched for this option all over Thunderbird.

  4. Ben says:

    Thanks a lot guy !! I looked for it in all menus and never found it ! I would never thought this was in the calendar properties.
    Just in my case the ‘Edit’ button was disabled. I had to display the ‘Menu bar’ (right click on the top and tick ‘Menu bar’). Go on ‘Edit’ > ‘Calendar properties’ and then I could change the email.
    I have Thunderbird 38.8.0 and Lightning 4.0.8.

  5. fiesh says:

    You deserve a medal of honor for pointing this out. It’s been plaguing me for months!

  6. mike b says:

    this really helped, thank you.
    thunderbird is nearly too hard to stay with with glitches like this.

  7. John says:

    Unfortunately, the calendar e-mail address still leaks with this method:

  8. Greg says:

    Omg thank you so much, this is such a ridiculous option they made. WTF came to their mind that no mather to which account you receive the mail you always reply with “accept” from only one specific… I was replying for job interview invitations for some time now, and I can only imagine how improfessional I looked sending invitations answers from my second, not very official e-mail account.
    Thx again, I’d never find this option (btw this is also not very smart of them).

  9. Martin says:

    Thank you, I searched throughout Thunderbird for this, but nothing! They should seriously make the default that whichever account receives the event invite, is the account from which the acceptance/rejection/tentative response is sent from! That’s just simple logic. We can’t be embarrassing ourselves out here thanks to our multiple accounts.

  10. John says:

    On my TB client 68.7.0, there is no such option “default e-mail account” (Display Agenda tab through icon in the upper-right corner of TB window, then Edit->Calendar Properties : “Edit Calendar” window open : but no “default e-mail account” drop down list).
    This problem was opened more than 11 years ago, we are in April 2020, and this privacy leak problem is unfortunately still here ( and
    Only advice : do not accept invitations from within TB until this bug is fixed !

    • Fitzcarraldo says:

      If you re-read my post, the option is not called ‘default e-mail account’. To recap, I wrote the following, which remains correct:

      In the ‘Edit Calendar’ window, select the default e-mail account from the drop-down menu of e-mail accounts, make sure ‘Read Only’ is not ticked, and click ‘OK’.

      I am currently using Thunderbird 68.7.0 and the drop-down list of e-mail accounts is still there. It is to the right of the label ‘Email:’. Obviously make sure ‘Switch this calendar on’ is selected first.

  11. John says:

    here is a capture of the “Edit Calendar” window :

  12. John says:

    Unfortunately no, I’ve erased this field in the picture since my email address was in it 🙂

  13. John says:

    My apologies – some typos corrected here to help understanding !!

    Thank you again. It is my email address because I have several calendars and this calendar is the one hosted by Google, so *I have decided* to put my associated email address as the name of the calendar.
    Calendar works perfectly, it is synced with my phone, lightning, and on Google Calendar website, no question about that.
    The issue is the privacy leak, ref. and
    In short words :
    I have two calendar. One is associated with, the other one with
    It appends that is my default account.
    When accepting a meeting received on email address, Thunderbird will automatically reply, and without leaving me any choice, with the default email address, i.e. …which is no good !

    • Fitzcarraldo says:

      No problem, I understood your original comment. As I pointed out in my reply to your original comment, I don’t experience what you experience; Thunderbird functions as I expect it to function. If I follow the procedure explained in my blog post, the e-mail account that receives the invitation is the e-mail account that sends the Accept/Decline/Tentative reply. Anyway, bonne chance with your investigations into why your installation is not behaving the same.

  14. Mike says:

    Thanks!!! I didn’t know such an option even existed!

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