TBDialOut: click2dial for Thunderbird




TBDialOut is a Thunderbird extension that adds toolbar buttons, context menu items and clickable links to your Thunderbird addressbook, enabling you to place calls to your contacts with one click, sometimes called click2dial


You can grab the latest stable, reviewed version of TBDialOut, 1.7.2, from the Mozilla addons site, or download it here.

Once you've downloaded the file, install it as you would any Thunderbird extension.

In Thunderbird 3, save the .xpi file to your computer. Then select Tools > Add ons. Click the "Install..." button, select the file and follow the onscreen directions.

Thunderbird 5 provides a way to install the official release directly. Select Tools > Add-ons, search for TBDialOut and click the install button. If you prefer the development version, save the .xpi file to your computer then from the Add-ons Manager click the settings button and select 'Install Add-on From File...'.


TBDialOut can be configured from the Add-ons Manager (Tools > Add ons in the main Thunderbird window). In the "Extensions" tab, select TBDialOut and click the "Preferences" or "Options" button.

URL handler

Unless you use the Custom URL or Asterisk AMI options, for TBDialOut to work your system must be configured to handle one of several URL schemes for making calls. The default is "callto:", but you can configure any of the following to be used from TBDialOut's preferences:

Screen shot of TBDialOut preferences dialoguePreferences dialogue

If you don't have a handler configured on your computer for any of these schemes you will need to configure that separately, or to use the Custom URL or Asterisk AMI option. There are some tips on how to configure a handler in the FAQs.

The Custom URL option is available since TBDialOut 1.6. It requires additional configuration described under Custom URL options. It is most commonly used to contact a web service, perhaps provided by a hardware VOIP phone.

The Asterisk AMI option is available since 1.7.0. It requires additional configuration described under Asterisk AMI options. It is used to set up a call through an Asterisk PBX.

Dial prefix

You can optionally configure a prefix to be prepended to all dialed numbers.

International dialing

If you have numbers in your Address Book that begin with a "+" you can can configure what this should be replaced with. Note that if you leave this blank, any leading "+" will be stripped, ie replaced with nothing. If you want to keep it, set this value to "+".

Custom URL options

These options are only available if you select Custom URL as your URL handler. This isn't strictly a URL handler. It enables you to configure TBDialOut to open a specific URL to set a call up, often a web service using HTTP. Several phones, including those by Snom, Yealink and Tiptel, have an inbuilt webserver that these options are useful with. Some software PBXes also have suitable web interfaces available.

Custom URL

Enter the URL which TBDialOut should contact to set up the call. The part of the URL that contains the phone number you are calling should be replaced with %NUM%. You must enter the full URL, including the scheme or protocol (eg http:).

For example, if you would set up a call to 123456 by accessing


you should enter


There are some examples configurations in the FAQs.

User name and password

If the web service or phone requires you to authenticate, enter your user name and password. Note that only HTTP Basic Auth is supported. These fields are only meaningful if the URL begins http: or https: and Open in background is checked.

You should be aware that with URLs beggining "http:" passwords will be sent across the network in clear text. You should only use this option to contact devices within your protected internal network. Always use an "https:" URL when sending passwords across the public Internet.

Open in background

This option is available since version 1.7.1 and defaults to checked. Prior to 1.7.1 the behaviour was as if this was checked.

When checked, TBDialOut will open http and https URLs invisibly in the background. If this option is unchecked, then http and https URLs will be opened in a new tab in Thunderbird's main window. This is useful for webservices which require further interaction from you, such as needing a login using some mechanism other than HTTP Basic Auth. See the example configuaration for the Cisco webdialer.

Asterisk AMI options

These options are only available if you select Asterisk AMI as your URL handler. They allow direct connection to the Asterisk Manager Interface on an Asterisk server.

Host and Port

Enter the hostname of the Asterisk server, and the port to connect to. The default port is 5038.

User name and Secret

Enter the credentials used to authorise you to the Asterisk server

You should be aware that passwords will be sent across the network in clear text. You should only use this option to contact an Asterisk server within your protected internal network, across a VPN or using an SSH tunnel.

Originating channel

This is the Asterisk channel to connect the call to. When a phone number is dialled from TBDialOut, this device will ring. When it is answered, the dialled number will be called and connected to it.

Enter the device in the form TRANSPORT/device-name. For example




You can also use the special transport 'Local' to connect to a locally defined extension number. If the extention doesn't exist in the default context, you will also have to specify a context using the Local/extension@context syntax, eg



This is the dialplan context in which to begin the outbound call. You will need to get this from your Asterisk admin.

An Asterisk dialplan typically has several contexts, used to limit who is allowed to dial what. Calls arriving from the outside will, for example, arrive in an 'external' context from which they can only dial internal extensions. Calls arriving from local extensions will arrive in an 'internal' context from which they can dial external numbers.

Caller ID

You can optionally request that a specific caller ID is used for the outgoing call. The default is empty. Note that whether or not this request is honoured depends on several factors, including how Asterisk is configured and the policies of your carrier.

Prior to 1.7.1 this option was only available through the Config Editor as extensions.tbdialout.ami.callerid.

Advanced options

Several additional options can be set using Thunderbird's config editor. Go to Edit > Preferences or Tools > Preferences (depending on your operating system). Select 'Advanced' and in the General tab click on 'Config Editor...'.


Controls the level of logging to the Error Console. Increase to 5 for debugging.


Controls the time that Asterisk will wait for the device on the originating channel to be answered. Set in milliseconds, default is 15000.

Toolbar buttons

TBDialOut makes four extra buttons available for your Address Book toolbar, one each for dailing home, work and mobile (cellphone) numbers and, to save space on the toolbar, a combined button that prompts you to select which number you wish to dial.

The combined button should be added to your Address Book tool bar by default (in TBDialOut 1.5 or above). If you want to use the other buttons you will need to customise the toolbar. To do this, in the Address Book window, go to View > Toolbars > Customise..., or right click on the toolbar and select "Customise...". Then drag and drop the buttons you wish to to use onto your toolbar.

Help needed!

If you'd like to help out with TBDialOut, there are a couple of things I could really do with


At the moment TBDialOut has translations for the following languages

If you're a native speaker of another language and would like to translate TBDialOut into your language, visit the TBDialOut translation page at Babelzilla.

Graphic design

TBDialOut could really use a nice smart icon. Graphic design is very much not my thing, so if you have design skills and fancy donating an icon to the project, please do!


Screen shot of TBDialOutUsing TBDialOut


As it is an extension to a Mozilla product, TBDialOut is released under the Mozilla Public License version 1.1