How to Manage RSS Feeds with Mozilla Thunderbird on Linux

Thunderbird is one of the best desktop email clients for Linux. It’s fast, easy to use, and offers a range of features to simplify email management on your desktop. Moreover, Mozilla also includes some additional features in the Thunderbird Mail client: chat, newsgroups and syndication, which further extend its scope of use.


If you already use Mozilla Thunderbird for email management on your machine, you can now also access your latest news feeds and blogs within the same program. Here’s how to use Thunderbird Mail as an RSS feed reader on Linux.


Before we start

If you already use Thunderbird Mail for email management, you have it installed, configured, and running on your Linux computer. But if you want to switch to Mozilla Thunderbird to manage your emails and also use its built-in RSS reader, you must first install and configure the Thunderbird desktop client on your computer.

With Thunderbird configured and ready to use on your Linux desktop, here’s how to set up the feed and use Thunderbird to pull the latest updates from your RSS feed.

Step 1: Create a stream account in Thunderbird

Go to the applications menu on your Linux desktop, find Thunderbird Mail, and run it. When you do this, you will be greeted by the main Thunderbird window which displays all your emails and folders in one place.

Click on Flow below Set up another account in the right pane.

Add a name to your feed in the Account name field and click Next. Hit Finish on the next screen to confirm the account name and create an account.

Step 2: Set up your feed

After creating a stream account, it’s time to set it up. Mozilla Thunderbird lets you do this in two ways: you can either configure your feed by adding sources manually, or import an existing RSS feed from your old feed reader.

If this is your first time using an RSS reader, you will need to manually subscribe to feeds. Here’s how:

  1. Open your favorite web browser on your computer.
  2. Visit the website/blog whose updates you want in your RSS feed.
  3. Find the RSS section on the website and copy the page link from the URL/address bar.
  4. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird, tap the stream name in the left sidebar, then click the Manage feed subscriptions button in the right window.
  5. On the Feed subscriptions dialog box, paste the RSS website URL you just copied into the Feed URL field.
  6. Choose the refresh time by checking the option to Check for new items every and select a time according to your preferences.
  7. Check it Show article summary instead of loading web page option to show only the article summary instead of loading the entire webpage. This allows you to see more messages on your screen at once.
  8. Also, enable the Automatically create tags from feed names ability to automatically tag articles in your feed. Mozilla uses the tags used by publishers here.
  9. Click on To add to add the website feed to your feed account.

Wait a few seconds until Thunderbird checks the feed URL and fetches the latest updates. Once you’ve finished retrieving and adding the stream to your account, you’ll see the Feed added post below. Click it close button to close the dialog box.

Alternatively, if you used another feed reader and exported its feed, you can import it directly into Mozilla Thunderbird to set up your feed instantly. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Mozilla Thunderbird and select your feed from the left sidebar. Then click on Manage feed subscriptions in the right window.
  2. On the Feed subscriptions dialog box, click the Import button.
  3. Navigate to the directory where you saved your feed (in OPML format), then click Open.

Mozilla Thunderbird will now start checking and adding the sources to your feed, and you should be able to find them in the feed folder you created earlier.

Step 3: Go to your feed and read it

Once you are done adding feeds to your feed account on Mozilla Thunderbird, click on your feed name in the left pane to expand it and tap on a feed (website/blog) to access it.

Thunderbird will now fetch all recent articles and blog posts from the feed and display them in the right window. If not, right-click the stream in the left pane and select Receive messages.

To open/read a message in your feed, double-click it and Mozilla Thunderbird will open it in a new tab, just like you would in a web browser.

Here you can forward the message to someone, archive it, tag it with a custom tag to group all similar messages together, delete it, mark it as a favorite and save it to your computer offline.

Step 4: Manage your feeds

Over time, when using Thunderbird as a feed reader, you find yourself in situations where you want to manage your feed, perhaps to organize it better, update it with new sources, or delete old sources. , among other things.

Mozilla gives you a bunch of options for this. Simply right-click on a feed source to view all the operations you can perform on it. As of this writing, you can do everything from rename, delete, and star a source to change its highlight color, update the feed, pause updates, and subscribe to new sources in Thunderbird. .

Also, if you want to add subfolders to any of your feed folders, right click on it and select New subfolder. Give this subfolder a name and press Create folder.

To add a new source to an existing feed, right click on the feed and select Subscribe. Then enter the URL of the new source in the Feed URL field, select other options as appropriate and press To add to add it to your feed.

Get your latest emails and feed updates using Thunderbird

As you have just seen, Mozilla Thunderbird is a good RSS reader under Linux. Its built-in feed reader comes with a clean and simple interface and includes all the essential feed reader features and options you would need.

Of course, when stacked against full-fledged RSS readers, the reader lacks functionality. But unlike those feed readers, this one can also help you manage emails right in the same program, making up for the lack of features for most users. If you still prefer to explore dedicated RSS readers, there are several options available for Linux.

About Dwayne Wakefield

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