One of the most common questions I hear about BlackBerry syncing is, how do you sync to your Thunderbird contacts? While there might be some workaround, I’ve found no direct way to do this. Same goes with your Thunderbird calendar. Now, with the new Google Sync for contacts, there’s a bit more flexibility. Let’s take a look at how you can use this improved application to sync your contacts and calendar from Thunderbird.
The first thing I’ll note is that this is not a one-shot process. There are a few steps involved, and you’ll need to repeat them if you want to sync again. It might be a pain, but it’s what we’ve got right now.
A further reminder that this applies mostly, if not totally, to BIS users. BES users can export their contact list and import it into Outlook and sync from there. Us BIS users, though, have few ways of wirelessly syncing our devices.
Set up a Google account
The first step, of course, is to get yourself a Gmail and Google calendar account. Just hit mail.google.com and go through the process. With that you’ll have a [blank]@gmail.com address. If you already have one, you might even want to consider creating a dummy one, so you don’t get your contacts jumbles (unless, of course, you want to sync them).
Export your Thunderbird contacts to a CSV
As the image above shows, open up your Address Book in Thunderbird, then click on Tools, then Export. As the next screenshot shows, when you name your file yo have to be sure to select Comma Separated. This will create a CSV file. Otherwise, it will create a different file type which is not compatible with Gmail.
Now that you have your CSV file, you’re ready to import your file into Gmail.
Import CSV file to Gmail
Under the message navigation on Gmail, you’ll see a link called Contacts. Click on it. In the upper right corner you’ll see Import, among other options. Click Import. Hit Browse once in that screen, and select your recently exported file. Click OK, click Import, and you’re good. As the image below shows, your new contacts will now appear in your Gmail.
Download Lightning for Thunderbird for your calendar
To get your calendar synced, you’ll need the Lightning plugin for Mozilla Thunderbird, which you can find here. Download that and add it under the Add-ons screen of Thunderbird. You’ll also need to download and install Provider for Google Calendar, which you can download here. Now you’re set with the calendar sync.
This, unlike the main contacts sync I found for Gmail-Thunderbird (Zindus), this calendar sync is bi-directional, meaning your Thunderbird calendar syncs with your Google Calendar and vice vesa. Ergo, you can stop after you set up the sync. Both calendars will contain tasks from both.
Run Google Sync
Now it’s time to run Google Sync. Because you’ve done the Thunderbird-Google calendar sync, this will send those events to your BlackBerry. Because you’ve imported a CSV file of your Thunderbird contacts to your Gmail, they will sync to your Berry. And there you have it.
One note I’d like to make, because I experience it every day, is that these synced calendars don’t show up on the main page of a Today theme. From my experience, and this might differ for other users, only events I enter directly into my Berry appear on my Today screen. When I go into my BlackBerry calendar, though, the events are there.
Anyone else have any creative ways of getting your Thunderbird calendar and contacts synced with your BlackBerry?