Thunderbird logoRecently I switched from KMail to Thunderbird for various reasons. A little thing that I didn't like in Thunderbird is that in the date column it displayed dates as MM/DD/YYYY. However I have my system locale set to DD/MM/YYYY. I searched Thunderbird's bugzilla and found a really old bug from 2004 which is still open! So I don't expect an upstream fix soon. Afterwards I searched if there is an extension which changes the date format but I didn't find something.Fortunatelly I found a solution. Here is how Thunderbird looked before my change.

Thunderbird Date column format

Ubuntu Unity

In order to change the date format in the Date column open from Dash Main Menu > Internet. Select Thunderbird from the list and press the Properties button. In the command line edit type:

export LC_TIME=en_GB.UTF-8 && thunderbird %u

Thunderbird Date column format


Again open KDE Menu Editor > Internet > Thunderbird or edit directly the Thunderbird's launcher. In the command line edit type:

export LC_TIME=en_GB.UTF-8 && thunderbird %u

Thunderbird Date column format

That's it. Now Thunderbird will correctly display the date format in the Date column.

Thunderbird Date column format

In the same way you can change the command with which you run Thunderbird in any Desktop Environment. I have tried this with Thunderbird 13 and a couple of older versions and it works without any problem.

Comments (3)

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How to set the Thunderbird date format to UK format using Zorin
It is kind of bizarre that this article was posted on today because I came across the same issue when I used Thunderbird for the first time using Zorin.

Thunderbird uses the system date and time format so you need to make sure the system locale is set up correctly for your timezone.

I hope you don't mind me posting a link to my post which I wrote yesterday which shows how to do the same thing on Zorin as it will probably help other users who aren't using KDE to find the solution to their problem.

Gary Newell , July 18, 2012
Hi Gary. I posted the article in smilies/smiley.gif

In my case it didn't use my system date so I had to bypass it like this.

By the way it's the first time I hear about Zorin!
axel , July 19, 2012
Have you changed anything else about your setup to get it to display the year as 4 digits? By default mine was only displaying it as a 2 digit year. My LANG variable is set to en_GB.UTF-8.
I managed to fix this annoyance by modifying /usr/share/i18n/locales/en_GB and changing the line that begins 'd_fmt' so the last number on the line is 59 and not 79 (hex value for 'Y' and not 'y') which then returns the date as 2012.
Lenny , July 31, 2012

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