Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

Thunderbird 1.0 OPML Import/Export

Thunderbird OPML Import/Export

Thunderbird OPML Import/Export

Aha! I was digging around some more, and thought I’d see if there was any kind of official movement on OPML import for Thunderbird. So I wandered over to the Mozilla bug tracker, and did a search for “OPML” in the “Thunderbird” project. That turned up a single hit, which was Bug #258102. Towards the bottom, were some patches from Justin.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to apply them. His patch touches a file named “subscriptions.js”, which I couldn’t find in my Thunderbird installation. But then I realized that it was packed up in a .jar file. I unpacked the ‘newsblog.jar’ file (it’s just a .zip by another name), applied the patch, repacked the jar, dropped it back into my Thunderbird installation, and voila!

This still needs some work, it is alpha quality at best. Proceed at your own risk. Here there be dragons. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball. The imported feeds will all be under your main feeds folder, it will not auto-create subfolders for you. The feeds will get imported, but don’t show up in the list when you “Manage Subscriptions”. On a similar note, only your manually added feeds will get exported. I’m sure that these bugs will be fixed at some point. Update: this appears to be a problem on my laptop installation of Thunderbird 1.0. It works better on my Debian Linux install of Thunderbird 0.8 at work.

If the above problems don’t bother you too much, and you just want to get a bunch of feeds imported now, here’s what to do:

  1. Exit Thunderbird
  2. Download my patched copy of newsblog.jar
  3. Find the original newsblog.jar file for your installation, rename it (e.g. ‘newsblog.jar.orig’), and put the new version in its place. Under a standard Windows installation, it should be under “Program Files\Mozilla Thunderbird\chrome”. Under Linux/FreeBSD, try something like “/usr/share/mozilla-thunderbird/chrome”
  4. Restart Thunderbird, and go to the “Manage Subscriptions” option of your News & Blogs folder to see your shiny new OPML buttons!

Note: I did not write the OPML import code. All I can take credit for is bringing it to your attention. All kudos belong to Justin Kirby (hey look, another WordPress blog 🙂 ), as far as I can tell.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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48 Responses to Thunderbird 1.0 OPML Import/Export

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  9. M says:

    Works like a charm in 1.0 on windoze! Thanks, was looking for this.

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  12. Heh. “Do not taunt the Happy Fun Ball.” Damn…I haven’t thought of that in years.

    Oooh! The doorbell!!! I wonder if that’s my new Bass-O-Matic?

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  14. Dan Semaya says:

    This works on Mac OS X. The newsblog.jar file that you need to replace is inside the Thunderbird application bundle. To get to it, control-click (or right click) on the Thunderbird icon in the Applications folder, select “Show Package Contents” and navigate to Contents/MacOS/chrome . Then the two buttons will appear. Thanks for this trick. It has worked great for me.

  15. Iban says:

    MUY UTIL !!!

    Thank you very much / Mutxas gracias / Eskerrik asko !!

  16. Rob says:

    Beautiful! Works like a charm on Thunderbird 1.0/Windows!


  17. Gordon says:

    Worked first time on XP Pro/Thunderbird 1.0. Cheers!

  18. ShuMann says:

    Whoa – great 🙂

    Haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve been looking for something like this for weeks. I hate not remembering and having the SAME newsfeeds on all my systems, and both work workstations (Linux/Windows).

    If it works as advertsed, I’ll be ONE happy puppy! Thanks!

  19. Ted says:

    You rule. This was exactly what I needed, and it works — two things that don’t often go together.

  20. hugoyg says:

    it work well,tkx

  21. none says:

    Thank you, this worked. It drove me nuts not having the same newsfeeds on all my systems.

  22. sninky-chan says:

    Thanks, this JFW’d! Saved my life. Well done!!

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  27. WhisKiTo says:

    Really good Extension

    Why doesn’t it appear in Official Thunderbird Extensions?

    thanks man 😉

  28. Hi!
    It’s works well on my MAC OS X (10.3.9) and using Thunderbird.
    Just two negative points.
    Does not support OPML using levels (subfolders) and doesn’t support ATOM feeds.

  29. Siim says:


    Thanks for saving couple of hours my time 🙂

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  31. This is great. Do you know of an extension that will import email and folders from Entourage? I’ve made the transition on my work/PC and I’m trying to finish moving my home/Mac account to Thunderbird.

  32. Tony Harper says:

    Excellent! Thanks for the info.

  33. Leander de Graaf says:

    I succesfully exported my RSS feeds from MacOS X 10.4 to Windows XP and vice versa using Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.6, except for my folder structure, but that is not a big problem for me i’m glad you have made this patch available to the public.
    Maybe it will be nice to make an official extension for this functionality or even suggest it for the official client?

  34. Jalansutera says:

    thanks for the step-by-step howto. it works on my thunderbird

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  38. Vishal says:

    Thanks a lot, the step-by-step instructions work perfectly.

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  40. TarGz says:

    Very cool,
    that’s work’s fine on my “portable thunderbird” who run from my usb key.


  41. Mick says:

    Cheers. I searched all over for how to do this. Thanks.

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  46. A says:

    Cannot find the newsblog.jar. What is the new link ?

  47. Dougal says:

    A: This is no longer needed. OPML support has been in Thunderbird officially for quite a while now. When I moved hosts, I didn’t bother moving some old files, like the newsblog.jar.

  48. import says:

    Very cool,
    that’s work’s
    Very cool,

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