Im using Mozilla Thunderbird on Ubuntu and it has alot of Message Filters and I want to export them so that I can use them on my home pc . I have gone through each and every menu but found no mention of EXPORT settings.

i will really appreciate how to do this.

If successful I will use Message filters on Mozilla Thunderbird installed on both Ubuntu and Windows 7.


5 Answers 5


Thunderbird Message filters are stored in your home directory ($HOME)

open terminal

  • cd ~/.thunderbird
  • use find command to grep the message filters
    • find . -type f -name msgFilterRules.dat

msgFilterRules.dat will store all your filters.

You can cat the file and see the contents.

Hope this helps

  • ok i found it and will give update when I go home and import them in TB
    – OmiPenguin
    Sep 5, 2012 at 10:30
  • 3
    Thanks this is the solution I needed because I was moving a lot of filter rules between accounts, which is a daunting task when Thunderbird doesn't allow you to open up the filter rule window twice. I just needed to go into each rule afterwards and set the destination folder properly.
    – deltaray
    Jan 26, 2015 at 14:31
  • Check the contents of the .dat file with vi or a text editor before you use it to backup. I found two and assumed incorrectly they were dupes. Only one had the filters in my case.
    – myol
    Apr 26, 2016 at 13:59
  • You can find the location of your profile using these instructions support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/… . This works in Linux and Windows. The .dat file is human readable (although I wouldn't edit it). A quick scan of it will show you which email account it works with so you can be sure it's the right one if you have more than one of them. In Windows 10, the AppData directory is hidden which made the file hard to find using File Explorer until I turned on show Hidden Items.
    – Joe
    Nov 20, 2016 at 9:11
  • if you have local access to both filter files, you can ease synchronization using Meld o KDiff3 as in the following example: meld ./sntumes1.default/ImapMail/outlook.office365.com/msgFilterRules.dat ~/.thunderbird/sntumes1.default/ImapMail/outlook.office365.com/msgFilterRules.dat Feb 11, 2017 at 12:00

You can use the Thunderbird Message Filter Import/Export Enhanced addon to export and import your thunderbird message filters.

enter image description here

  • not compatible with TB 15.0.
    – OmiPenguin
    Sep 5, 2012 at 10:58
  • Sorry, it was the wrong link.
    – BuZZ-dEE
    Sep 5, 2012 at 11:08
  • I just checked it. i1151.photobucket.com/albums/o627/Umair_Mustafa/…
    – OmiPenguin
    Sep 5, 2012 at 11:09
  • 1
    You should use this addon instead of that addon.
    – BuZZ-dEE
    Sep 5, 2012 at 11:11
  • 1
    I'll answer my own question: You need to choose "Import filters" in the" Tools menu of the Global menu. There is no such menu item in the three-bar button menu in the top right corner of the applications window.
    – ajdev8
    Nov 10, 2013 at 23:18

If you copy messageFilterRules.dat from one profile to another, first you must make sure that you are copying the filter from the correct account to the correct account (and from the correct profile folder if you have more than one). Each email account has its own messageFilterRules.dat file--including Local Folders, even if you don't have any filters for that account.

Additionally, make sure that any changes made are reflected in both installations, such as a moved or renamed folder. Even after assuring these steps, you may still get a message saying, "Folder folder name could not be found, filter is disabled," or "Applying of filter filter name has failed. Would you like to continue applying filters?" depending upon how you ran the filter. You need to edit the filter and direct the action folder to the correct existing folder.


Here are two possible solutions:

  • Copy file msgFilterRules.dat between the profiles on different machines. (Source)

  • Use a plugin to export / import your filters. (Source)

  • Well I already tried Solution Two bu it is not compatible with TB 15.0. And I will try Sol One .
    – OmiPenguin
    Sep 5, 2012 at 10:35

To move your Thunderbird 52.6.0 Mail Rules to another Ubuntu PC running the same software (probably works on any computer)

top right as you look at the screen three horizontal lines “display Thunderbird Menu”

“Help” “troubleshooting Information” click the “open Directory Button” in the Profile Directory line. “IMAP Mail” (probably “pop Mail if that is what you have). “imap.gmail.com” (or whatever yours is)

copy “msgFilterRules.dat” onto a flash drive & carry to the other PC and insert then do the same on the other PC “Help” “troubleshooting Information” click the “open Directory Button” in the Profile Directory line. “IMAP Mail”

drag & drop the msgFilterRules.dat into the “IMAP Mail” folder & when prompted click the overwrite option. Create folders to receive any redirected mail. Close Thunderbird & restart.

  • In 52.7.0 this file lives in a folder inside the IMAP Mail folder with the same name as the account name.
    – Elder Geek
    Apr 2, 2018 at 23:00

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