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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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  • 2
    Unbelievable. This bug is open for 14 years at bugzilla. fourteen years for a standard functionality! And it still has the status NEW!
    – Titule
    Feb 28, 2020 at 18:37
  • Hey look... it seems to be fixed! support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/…
    – jdpipe
    Mar 28, 2021 at 8:28
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    No, IMHO it's not properly fixed. As I read it, that "fix" says that you can import an ics file into the calendar from a saved file. The fix I would expect is, open email > click on ics attachment, > new event dialogue box pops up, fully populated from the ics data > edit/tweak/save. Jul 26, 2021 at 13:22

11 Answers 11

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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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    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, 2013 at 13:36
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    @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 Jun 14, 2014 at 9:23
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    Works very well in Ubuntu 14.04 with Thunderbird 31
    – malisokan
    Oct 20, 2014 at 19:01
  • Yes! It works! Today I was just complaining about Thunderbird on Ubuntu... You have my vote, man!
    – nephewtom
    May 8, 2015 at 10:17
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    In Windows 10 with Thunderbird 45.7, holding ctrl (to perform a copy) does not seem to matter. Dragging it normally (showing "Move") works the same.
    – Johann
    Feb 2, 2017 at 0:08
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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, 2014 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, 2014 at 14:48
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    This does not convert ICS file to event.
    – crobar
    May 15, 2017 at 11:29
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    If multiple events/invites are attached, this procedure only imports the first .ics attachment on my Thunderbird 52, Windows 10 machine. The best answer for my environment was to drag .ics files from the email attachments pane to the events pane. Unfortunately, this was a one by one process which included a "save and close" click for each event, but did not require saving to disk and opening with a second application. Sep 14, 2017 at 1:43
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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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    The question specified "NOT" saving the attachment to disk as part of the import process. While your instructions are functional, they do not fully answer the question. Without step #1, they fail to answer the question at all. Sep 14, 2017 at 1:35
  • Well, it sure answered the question for me. Thanks!
    – frozenjim
    Aug 27, 2018 at 18:50
  • Worked perfectly in Ubuntu 18.04 as well!
    – Filippos
    Dec 29, 2021 at 10:14
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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 7, but apparently it may work without pressing the CTRL key on Windows 10 and 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 my Windows 10 pro (creators) workstation, I have Thunderbird 52.3 which includes lightning by default. With the "Today" pane open and its view set to "Events", I can drag .ics files from the email attachments pane to the calendar events pane without holding down the ctrl button. I do not seem to have any problems with start/stop times in the event either. Admittedly, this comment is 3 years after the original post. Sep 14, 2017 at 1:32
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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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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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In the latest version of TB, 78.12.00, you can associate .ics files with TB/Lightning.

  • Right click > open / double click on the attachment.
  • Select "open with" and then "other" from the dropdown.
  • Select "browse" and Navigate to (usually) C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird and select Thunderbird.exe
  • Click on Open and you should get a dialog box "Import calendar Events and Tasks" from which you can import the event.
  • From now on double clicking on an.ics attachment should take you to a similar dialog box once you have checked "always do this "
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  • Fabulous, that worked for me on Ubuntu 18.04 as well, with Thunderbird 78.11.0. I could associate the filetype to Thunderbird and it then lets me pick which calendar I want to import it into.
    – stragu
    Aug 26, 2021 at 3:28
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At the top of the open message there should be a "This message contains an event [..]" ribbon. Select accept → accept & send now.

If the ribbon does not show up, that is a bug in Lightning that needs addressing.

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  • i never noticed that ribbon before, thanks very much for the information! :) Jan 31 at 10:56
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As of Thunderbird 78.0, there is a command-line way to open .ics files in Thunderbird. This means it will be easy to add file associations now.

https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/new-thunderbird-78#w_calendar-preview-and-select-events-to-import-from-ics-file

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Create new Agenda : https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/creating-new-calendars

You can delete the old Agenda

the update will be automatic

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