I just downloaded Thunderbird 1.0. One exciting new feature in 1.0 is RSS support. You can set up an RSS feed and then collect and view the entries right inside Thunderbird. How convenient is that, and it works great.
To help you get started with this new feature, I've put together these instructions. If you have any questions or comments on this, please let me know.
Setting Up an RSS Account
Your first step is to set up an RSS account in Thunderbird. This is similar to setting up an ISP account.
Follow these steps to set up a Thunderbird RSS account:
- Download Thunderbird 1.0 from Mozilla.org.
- After you install, click File > New > Account. The New Account dialog box opens.
- Click the radio button next to RSS & News Blogs, then click Next.
- Give your new RSS and News Blogs account a name. If you only intend to use a single account, then leave the default, but if you plan to organize your feeds into different categories, then you may want to give it a more meaningful name, such as Tech News.
- Click Next, then review your information. If you are satisfied, click Finish. Look at the bottom of your account list below the Trash and you will see your News & Blogs account. Now you need to configure your account and add some feeds.
Configuring Your RSS Account
Configuring your account involves setting up such items as deciding if you want Thunderbird to check for feed updates at startup or choosing how often the system checks for updates.
Follow these steps to configure your Thunderbird RSS account:
- Click Tools > Account Settings and the Account Settings dialog box opens.
- Click the News & Blogs account name (or whatever name you gave it) and you will see a number of options.
- Enter how often you want to check for new articles. The default is 100 minutes. If you are a news junky, you may want to make that a bit faster by entering a different number such as 15 for every 15 minutes.
- If you want Thunderbird to check for new articles at startup, click this checkbox. Unless you are seeing a lag because of volume, you probably want to check this checkbox. (I've found that RSS download times are very fast--much faster than email.)
- Finally check the checkbox next to the third item if you want to see only summaries instead of the entire Web page. This is probably a good idea. If you want to see the entire thing, you can always click the link in the feed email (see Step 8 below for more information), but this gives you control and will likely mean faster downloads.
- Click OK to save your settings.
Adding RSS Feeds
Your last step is to add some RSS feeds. To do this, you need to copy the RSS link for the Web sites you want to watch.
Follow these steps to add RSS feeds in Thunderbird:
- Right-click the News & Blogs account name in your Folders list and select Manage Subscriptions. The RSS Subscription dialog box opens.
- Click the Add button and the News Feed Properties dialog box opens. The Boston Globe has RSS feeds on the Boston.com Web site. Let's add a feed for Boston Red Sox news (a subject that you know by now is near and dear to my heart).
- Go to the Boston.com RSS feeds page, then copy the feed for the Boston Red Sox news by right-clicking the Globe Red Sox feed link and selecting Copy Link Location.
- Switch back to Thunderbird and paste the feed into the News Feed Properties dialog box (Ctrl-V to paste in Windows).
- Leave the defaults for the other entries and click OK. If you copy a valid feed, Thunderbird retrieves all current entries for that feed.
- Click the plus (+) sign next to the News & Blogs account in Thunderbird, then click Boston.com--Red Sox News to see a list of entries.
- Double-click an entry to open it, then read the summary. If you want to see the entire article, click the link in the Subject line. Your browser opens and the full article appears.
- That's it. You can continue to add feeds and read them in your Thunderbird email client in this fashion.
11/22/06 - Adding an RSS Feed to a Thunderbird RSS Account from Firefox 2.0
A reader pointed out that you are supposed to be able to add feeds directly from Firefox 2.0 to a Thunderbird RSS account, but found the feature didn't work. Unfortunately, it's not quite that direct, but I did some poking around and figured out how to do do it. The integration definitely needs work, but consider this a work-around until Mozilla gets its act together and develops a smoother process for adding feeds between the programs.
Note: I've also created a new entry to make it easier for folks searching for this particular tutorial.
To add a feed directly from Firefox 2.0:
- Navigate to a site. Sites that have an RSS feed display an orange RSS symbol in the address bar.
- Click the orange symbol and a nifty little subscription page opens. See the screen shot below.
- Open Thunderbird.
- Right-click the RSS folder where you want to add the feed and select Manage Subscriptions and Feeds. The Manage Subscriptions and Feeds window opens.
- Return to Firefox, click the Subscribe to this feed using drop-down list and select Thunderbird.
- Click the Subscribe button and the Manage Subscriptions and Feeds window overlays the Firefox window.
- Click the Add button and the Feed Properties dialog box opens.
- Copy and paste the address from the Firefox address bar into the Feed Properties dialog box and click OK. The feed is added.