Damn J’s in Thunderbird emails (smiley faces)

Mozilla Thunderbird 2

This has been annoying me for ages, smiley faces for Microsoft Outlook showing up as J’s in my Thunderbird emails. So here’s the fix:

  1. Go to C:\Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird\res\ and create a ‘fonts’ folder.
  2. Create a file named fontEncoding.properties. You can right click in the fonts folder, then click create new ‘Text document’, then rename it.
  3. Open the fontEncoding.properties file with your favourite text editor.
  4. Add the following, save, close, then restart Mozilla Thunderbird:

# Symbol font
encoding.wingdings.ttf = windows-1252
encoding.wingdings2.ttf = windows-1252
encoding.wingdings3.ttf = windows-1252
encoding.webdings.ttf = windows-1252

Big thanks go to http://blog.tcg.com/tcg/2008/03/j-instead-of-sm.html

Mozilla Thunderbird 3

Try this: https://github.com/richq/smileyfixer/downloads
Thanks to Bojan for posting the link. 

Mozilla Thunderbird >3

This problem has been fixed now. Upgrade Thunderbird if you are still having issues.


27 thoughts on “Damn J’s in Thunderbird emails (smiley faces)”

  1. That was really bothering me too, and a fix was surprisingly hard to find on google! But I eventually found your page and it did the trick perfectly, thanks 🙂

  2. Hey, thanks for the tip. I got stumped for a while though, because I just copy and pasted the file name from:

    “Open the fontEndoding.properties”

    I didn’t notice the typo endoding as opposed to encoding and couldn’t figure out what was up. Just thought I’d mention it in case anyone else gets stuck


  3. Can’t get it working to display in Thunderebird 3.0.3
    Trying to get the upper case “P” in webdings to display the Path and Tree symbol. I get the green colour but all it shows is a bit fat “P”.

    Can you help please ??

  4. I haven’t been able to get it to work in TB 3 either. Have done some searching but not able to find a solution. Will post one if I find it. Could try the site I credited for this fix for a solution, but last time I looked they didn’t have a new fix either.

    Cheers, Justin

  5. Does anyone know how to get this to work in Windows 7? I am not able to create a folder in the fonts folder, nor can I create the fontEncoding.properties to be moved over to that folder. 🙁

  6. You will most likely need to action these as the administrator (at best guess). I don’t have Win 7 to test with sorry.

  7. To those who are having problems saving files to your C: on Windows 7 or vista:

    Method 1: Run the program that you use to save the file as an administrator

    1. Right-click the shortcut that starts the program, and then click Run as Administrator to start the program. If the Run as Administrator option is not available, follow these steps:
    1. Right-click the shortcut that starts the program, and then click Properties.
    2. Click the Shortcut tab, and then click Open File Location.
    3. Right-click the executable file for the program, and then click Run as Administrator to start the program.
    Note If the program was installed by using an .msi package file, you must locate the executable file for the program to run it as an administrator. For example, a shortcut to a Microsoft Office program does not include the Run as Administrator option.
    2. Save the file.

    Method 2: Save the file to the Documents folder and then move it to the destination folder

    1. Save the file to the Documents folder.
    2. Right-click the file that you saved in step 1, and then click Cut.
    3. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
    Start button
    , click Computer, right-click the destination folder, and then click Paste.
    4. Type the administrator password when you are prompted.

    Also, when you save the text file, make sure the other .properties files are visible in that folder (this you do this by changing “save as type-text” to All Files.

    Having said all of this, the proposed solution in this article to the “J” issue did not work for me as I am using Thunderbird 3.06.

  8. In Thunderbird 3.1.10 this workaround still does not work, nor is it fixed in Thunderbird itself. I don’t really get the problem, because when I look in the source code of the e-mail it shows “:-)”. Why does Thunderbird not just print this? It’s plain 7 bit ascii!

  9. Tielenaar,
    the mails have both a raw ascii and a html version inside it, so that mail clients that doesn’t handle html also will work. Thunderbird can handle html, so it uses that version, but it doesn’t understand what Outlook puts in there

    Example, you type “Thank you :)”, and Outlook replaces the 🙂 with the corresponding symbol from the Windings font, that happen to be in the same place as J in a normal text font. This is what is in the HTML (replaced angular brackets with parantheses):

    Thank you (span style=3D’font-family:Wingdings’)J(/span)

  10. If you get the Add-on Smiley Fixer it should fix the issue.
    (currently at version 1.2 it fixes Thunderbird 12.0.1)

    As an additional fix for other Outlook idiosyncrasies you may want to get LookOut (currently version 1.2.13)

    And a patch to fix Outlook’s forwarding emails as “attachments” is scheduled to be included in Thunderbird 13.0: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=580017

  11. Thanks Joe. I haven’t been using Thunderbird since my new job (all Outlook and Exchange now) so not likely to be testing it soon. Hopefully, others who follow this post will get some use from it.

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