ToneQuilla provides a new filter action to Thunderbird and Seamonkey, to play a custom sound (maybe could be called a biff tone?) as a result of a mail filter. This makes it possible to have different sounds to notify you when emails arrive with different characteristics. ToneQuilla is available here on Mozilla’s add-ons website. This description is current for version 1.0.0  Changes in this revision can be seen on the revisions page.

Also provided are a few sample audio files. These are all licensed using a Creative Commons licenses. For details see our sounds licensing page.

Usage Summary

When you install ToneQuilla, it adds a new filter action “Play Sound” that is available when you add or edit filters. This would normally replace the standard “Play a Sound” option under Options/General, so I recommend you turn that option off.

In normal usage, you define an email filter, and then set the “Play Sound” action. Select a sound file, either from one of the provided samples, or from some other available sound. Currently, the usable sound formats are .wav amd .ogg (though see the notes at the bottom of this page.) In addition, any file that your operating system will act on can be launched as a file. Typically this will be used to play .mp3 files using the default system player.

Detailed How-to

From the main menu, enter Tools/Options and select the General tab. Disable the standard “Play a Sound” option when messages are received:

Now you need to define a message filter to fire when particular types of messages are received. From the main menu, select Tools/Message Filters…

Message filters are defined separately for each server, so select the correct server that will receive your email under “Filters for:”. The press New… to define a new filter, and you get the Filter Rules dialog (shown below).

Give the filter a name in “Filter name:”. In the match criteria section (the lines after the “Match all …/ Match any …” section) you need to define the types of emails that will fire the filter. In this example, I’ll match messages that are From another email account of mine,

In the “Perform these actions” section, select “Play Sound”.  The Filter editor then shows a file name entry area (in the obscure URL format), followed by a folder icon and a play icon . If you press the folder icon, then you can browse sound files that can be played. The default location is the sound directory in the extension itself, where a number of sound files are shown. I’ve selected the “Freedom.wav” file. After selection, you can press the play icon to hear the sound. When you are done, the filter rules dialog should look something like the following image. Click OK to finish, and you are done!

Filter rule to play a sound

Now if you send an email that matches the filter (In the example, if the email subject contains the text “playme”) then the sound should play.

Details and Issues

  1. To prevent too much overlap when multiple emails are received, ToneQuilla allows each sound 5 seconds to play before firing another sound. Also, 15 seconds must elapse after a sound has played before it is allowed to play again.
  2. Although ToneQuilla supports the .ogg sound format using the standard Mozilla ogg Vorbis player, I have not found it to be reliable in a Windows XP environment. The sound comes out sputterring when there is other activity on the system, such as a message download. I would appreciate comments from users about whether they can use ogg reliably in other environments. One of the standard files is shipped in .ogg format as well as .wav.
  3. You can actually launch any file in the operating system as though it was a music file. This is designed to allow any existing registered operating system sound player to work. Typically that would be used to play a .mp3 file.