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How To Import RSS Feeds Into Microsoft Outlook For Windows

As most of you must have heard by now, Google Reader is retiring this summer and we’ve guided you through the process of backing up your Google Reader RSS feeds as well as given you a healthy list of alternatives for Google Reader to switch to, once it’s gone. Though our list focused on apps that were always meant to be RSS feed readers, and we purposely left out the ones that offered RSS subscriptions as a side feature. Outlook – one of the most popular desktop email clients out there that’s known mostly for helping you organize your contacts, remembering appointments, and sending emails – actually supports RSS feeds natively. The feature has been ignored by most so far, but the death of Google Reader has finally brought it much attention. If you use Outlook for your email, contacts and calendar already, there’s no reason why it can’t take care of your RSS subscriptions. So let’s take a look at how you can import your feeds from Reader to Outlook, and switch to it as your RSS app.

The first thing you need is a backup of your Reader subscriptions and Outlook installed on your PC. You can get a backup of all your Google Reader subscriptions using Google Takeout. Simply follow the steps provided in our Google Reader RSS subscriptions backup guide, and you should be ready to proceed.

The RSS folder appears when you expand your Outlook profile folder. Right-click it and you will see an ‘Import an OPML File…’ option. Select this option, browse to the location of the XML file from your Google Reader backup, and select it.


All feeds in the file will be imported and you can select which ones to add to Outlook. Once you’ve made your selection, click ‘Next’ and Outlook will start loading news items from each of the added feeds.

Import an OPML file

Once imported, the first thing you might notice is that your folders are gone and the feeds are now in alphabetical order. Unfortunately that is something that comes with using a program that isn’t meant to be a full-featured RSS reader. While Outlook doesn’t import folders from an OPML file, it fortunately does supports creating new ones, so you’ll just have to go through the process of adding folders and organizing your feeds into them. It might be a long and somewhat painful process if you have one too many feeds, will only need to do it once.


If you’ve never used the RSS feature in Outlook before, you might be unfamiliar with some of it features. News items cannot be ‘favorited’ or ‘starred’ in Outlook; instead, they can be flagged, which can serve the same purpose. Of course, they can still be marked as read. You can move a feed to any folder at any time. Feeds can update automatically, or you can force Outlook to check for new items by clicking the Send/Receive button.Feeds are searchable and can be filtered by date or author. Outlook will not allow you to import starred items from your Google Reader backup.

[via How-To Geek]

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