Configure Thunderbird for Modern Authentication and MFA

Thunderbird can be configured to connect to Northwestern’s Outlook/Exchange in Microsoft365 using the following instructions. This setup is compliant with Northwestern’s Modern Auth and multi-factor authentication initiatives. It is provided as an alternative to Outlook Web Access for Linux users who otherwise do not have a non-web based mail client.

This content is provided as a courtesy to help Thunderbird users self-support. Please note: Thunderbird is not supported by Northwestern Information Technology, consequently we are unequipped to respond to Thunderbird-related questions. Northwestern Information Technology offers support for use of Microsoft Outlook for connection to Northwestern email accounts.  We can also help verify that you are able to access Microsoft 365 services, such as email, from your browser.

Primary support for Thunderbird is available from Mozilla and the Thunderbird community. Version 78.x or later is required.


1. Launch Thunderbird, and then click Edit and then Account Settings. 

2. Click on the Account Actions dropdown, and then on Add Mail Account... 


3. Type in your name and email address, uncheck Remember password, and then click Configure manually...

4. Complete the form using the following template as a guide.  Be sure to use your actual netid instead of “NetID”, below.


5. Click OK to confirm advanced configuration.


6. Select OAuth2 from the Authentication Method dropdown.


7. Click on Outgoing Server (SMTP), then select, and click Edit...


8. Type in a description, select OAuth2, and click OK.


9. Ensure that the account is using the correct SMTP server:


10. This step is optional, but recommended.  It matches Thunderbird folders with those on Outlook/Exchange.

Keywords: exchange thunderbird email MFA Microsoft365 Office365 O365 M365 mail
Created: 2020-12-08 15:35:14
Updated: 2021-02-25 17:41:51

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