Muttator is a free add-on for the Thunderbird mail client, which makes it look and behave like the Vim text editor. It has similar key bindings and you could call it a modal mail client, as key bindings differ according to which mode you are in. For example, it the same keys can select the next message while the message list has focus or can scroll down an existing message when the message preview is selected. It also adds commands for accessing most Thunderbird functionality - e.g. :contact -firstname Martin -lastname Stubenschrott will add a new contact with my details.

But Muttator is more than just a simple command interface to Thunderbird -- it is a complete development environment as well. If you are a web developer, you can enjoy an interactive JavaScript shell - even with completion support. Or if you want to extend Muttator, you can easily do that by just dropping a JavaScript file in its plugin directory. Browse through our wiki pages for nice tips to customize Muttator and for frequently asked questions.


Muttator was initially written by Martin Stubenschrott but has found many other contributors in the meanwhile. If you appreciate the work on Vimperator and want to encourage us working on it more, you can send us greetings, patches, or donations:

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If you rather prefer getting some nice products for your money, you can also support us by buying some cool merchandise like t-shirts or mugs. Of course, as we believe in free, open source software, only support us financially if you really like Muttator and the money doesn't hurt — otherwise just use it, recommend it and like it :)


Release date: 2013-10-13 | Release Notes | Other versions | Source code


  • Vim-like key bindings (h, j, k, l, gg, G, 0, $, ZZ, <C-f>, etc.)
  • Ex commands (:quit, :goto Inbox, ...) with a proper command line
  • Tab completion available for all commands, showing suggestions while you type
  • Hint mode (start with f to follow a link)
  • Extensions! Yes, you can extend Muttator's functionality with scripts just like you can extend Firefox or Thunderbird with extensions
  • Explore JavaScript objects with :echo window and even context-sensitive tab completion
  • Easily customizable GUI (easily hide all GUI elements with :set gui=)
  • Ability to :source JavaScript files, and to use a ~/.muttatorrc file
  • Count supported for many commands (3gi will open the third inbox)
  • Beep on errors
  • :map and :command support (and feedkeys() for script writers).
  • :time support for profiling
  • Move the text cursor and select text with Vim keys and a visual mode
  • External editor support
  • Macros to replay key strokes
  • AutoCommands to execute action on certain events
  • Many other Vimperator features are available when in -- MESSAGE -- mode
  • A partial :help system, explaining some commands, mappings and options
  • Much more...


Muttator showing the same type of Hints to follow links with the keyboard as Vimperator
Muttator's completion system
Most chrome can be hidden in Muttator to give the messages more room


While Muttator offers already lots of cool features, we cannot and don't want to include every feature directly in the core. Therefore you can enhance the Muttator experience by adding plugins which add new commands or mappings. Install these plugins by copying them to the ~/.muttator/plugin/ directory (or %HOME%\muttator\plugin on Windows) unless noted differently.

If you don't care about features but just use Muttator for the sexy looks, you can also theme that by using color schemes. You can install them by copying them to the ~/.muttator/colors/ directory (%HOME%\muttator\colors on Windows) and use it with :colorscheme <name>.


Unexpected features - sometimes also called bugs - are listed in our issue tracker