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RSS and Newsreader Tutorial, Part 5: Using the OPML to load and export multiple feeds

by Brian Brown (follow me on Twitter): March 26, 2007

Suppose you want to switch Newsreaders. You don't like yours anymore or perhaps you just want to try a different one. You might be thinking, "What a pain it's going to be to add all of my feeds all over again from scratch."

That's what OPML was made for.

OPML stands for Outline Processor Markup Language and is used to import or export all of your feeds from one Newsreader to another. You can use this to take your feeds to a different RSS Newsreader than you are currently using, or you can use this to share your RSS feeds with other people. (For a more detailed explanation, see the Wikipedia article on OPML.)

In your Newsreader, there will be an option in your menus for 'Export.' Use this option and a file will be placed on your computer in OPML format. If this option isn't available as a link in your Newsreader, it is probably available in your drop-down menus. You know the ones at the top of your Newsreader program...File, Edit, View, etc. In Bloglines, the option is a link below my list of feeds and is called "Export Subscriptions." Nearly every type of Newsreader has this option available.


Once the file is saved, you can email the file or put it on your website to share with other people. To use the file, simply open the Newsreader and find the option for 'Import,' again either a link, or available in a drop-down menu.

Importing will load the feeds into your new Newsreader, although you will have to recreate the file/folder structure you were using in your old reader.

Please let me know if you have any questions with the basic use of OPML.

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The whole RSS feed subject just confuses the hell out of me, so thanks for the information. Even though I probably won't be able to use it!

No problem Eddie. Hopefully, I'll come up with enough reasons so that you'll want to use it. It's pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

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