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I'm using Mozilla Thunderbird 9.0.1 with Lightning 1.1.1. Is there an easier way to import an ICS file attached to an email than saving it to disk, then in Calendar going to File --> Open?

If I select "Open with Thunderbird" from the save dialog, it just opens a new mail message and attaches the file to it.

(I did see this older question, but it refers to much older versions of Thunderbird and Lightning)

Update: I've updated to 10.0 and 1.2, respectively and it still doesn't work right.

Update 2: Bugzilla.

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up vote 35 down vote accepted

For Thunderbird 15.0 / Lightning 1.7 the following procedure works for me:

  1. Open the "Today Pane" ie. the Events panel on the right hand side next to the email list.

  2. Drag&Drop the ics-file onto that pane.

In my case (Kubuntu 12.04) it will create the event. Hope this helps.

N.B In Windows 7, you need to hold the CTRL key down while dragging the ICS file on to the events pane.

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I'll give that a try, thanks! – travis Sep 4 '12 at 16:07
to add to @swinglocators tip: On Windows it only seems to work when you COPY (=hold ctrl while dragging) the ICS file to the today pane. at least that's what I constantly experience. – roetzi Feb 24 '13 at 13:36
@swinglocators You're my hero - thanks =) – andreas-h Mar 3 '14 at 13:00
@roetzi thanks for the tip, the holding CTRL while dragging trick worked for me, if you just drag it without holding the CTRL button it doesnt work. This is quite infuriating, I cant understand why the calendar add-on can't just handle double clicking ICS files to open them, surely it cant be that hard. I've added a suggested edit to the original answer, to add the CTRL key tip – mack nordstrum Jun 14 '14 at 9:23
Works very well in Ubuntu 14.04 with Thunderbird 31 – malisokan Oct 20 '14 at 19:01

Right click on the mail and click Convert > Event

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on my machine (ubuntu 13.10) this does not take the information from the attached .ics file. – andreas-h Mar 3 '14 at 13:00
Yes it doesn't really work like that. But if you have a local calendar configured you should have a button to accept the event. – Natim Mar 3 '14 at 14:48

On Windows:

  1. Save the attachment to the desktop
  2. From Events & Tasks select Import
  3. Select the .ICS to be added to the Calendar
  4. From the calendar pop-up select which calendar to add the event
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If you have the Lightning calendar extension installed on Thunderbird and have the Events pane open.

You can add an ICS file by holding the CTRL key and then dragging the ICS file on to the events pane. (The CTRL key needs to be pressed on Windows, but apparently it may work without pressing the CTRL key on Linux)

The only problem with it seems to be it doesn't manage to parse the start time and end time from the ICS file properly. Instead, it just marks the event as an all day event and disregards the actual start and end times (on windows anyway, not sure about Linux) the rest of the info seems to be picked up correctly.

There is a bug open in Bugzilla for this issue (ICS files not being able to be directly opened in Thunderbird/Lightning). If enough people vote for this bug, its more likely it will get fixed. To vote for the bug to get fixed, create an account on Bugzilla, then go to Opening or adding .ics files to calendar by double click. Under the header titled Importance there is a link that says Vote. Click that then add a tick to the bug and then click Change Votes.

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On Windows 8.1, Thunderbird 24.6, and Lightning 2.6.6 it works by dragging the .ics into the today tab (F11 to open if Lightning is installed) without any keyboard modifiers. No other part of lightning or thunderbird will accept the file as a dragged item. All information appears to arrive intact including times/details/location.

It would appear that the bugs referenced in some of the other answers have been fixed.

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If using TB 31.X on a Mac running OS 10.9 and using Google Calendar Tab 3.9 - it's a bit counterintuitive to add .ics events to the calendar. First, save the .ics file to your local drive. On the Google calendar tab in TB, mouse over the "My Calendars" name then click on the little down arrow and select "Settings". Find the "Import Calendar" option in the setting screen view, browse for your saved .ics file, choose which calendar to add the event to, then select "Import". You should then get an import confirmation. Good luck. RH

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TBird 38.3.0 & Lighting 4.0.3 - Scenario: You click on an ICS link, and are presented with the Open/Save Dialog Solution:

  1. Click Open in Thunderbird
  2. You are presented with a new mail pane
  3. Send the mail to yourself
  4. In the resultant mail in your inbox, you'll see a blue banner at the top, "This message contains an event"
  5. Click 'Add'

Still not as convenient as it might be, but maybe a little better than saving & dragging.

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