gRegorLove little g big R

AOL Instant Messenger is being discontinued on 2017-12-15. I have not used it regularly in quite a while, but I wanted to at least export my buddy list. I found a way using Javascript and browser dev tools. It’s not the most user-friendly, but it’s better than nothing.

First, if you still have the AIM desktop software installed, check the menus and for possibly much easier options to save your buddy list and chat logs. I don’t have a version installed and since AOL has removed official download links, I don’t know what’s possible through the software.

If that doesn’t work, here is what I did:

Log in to

Click the down arrow by your name at the top left. Under Contacts check “Show offline contacts in one group.” Uncheck “Show custom groups.”

In your browser’s dev tools, disable the following CSS properties:

.aimlist-panel { position: absolute; }
.aimlist-itemscontainer { position: absolute; overflow-y: auto; height: auto; }
.accordion-list { * }
.virtual-list { * }
.vl-rows { * }

This will mess up the visual display of the buddy list in your browser, but should make it so the entire list of buddies is in the HTML, which is what we want. By default only the current screen’s worth of usernames is in the HTML.

In your browser’s dev tools console, run these lines of Javascript:

var entries = document.querySelectorAll('.aimlist-item');
for ( i = 0; i < entries.length; i++ ) { console.log(entries[i].getAttribute('title') + ': ' + entries[i].getAttribute('aria-label')) }

The console should then fill up with lines of screennames, display names, and online status. Copy and paste all of those into a text editor, then do some cleanup as needed.

Nic Lake, Sarah Ruth

Sarah Ruth

Sarah Ruth

well hot damn! I actually can't figure out how to get logged in anymore. RIP

Marty McGuire

Marty McGuire mentioned this.

Marty McGuire

Marty McGuire

Thanks for these instructions! The steps worked fine for me (after some trouble getting back to after logging in w/ my AOL credentials). For weird nostalgia’s sake, I also wanted to export my block list! This turns out to be simpler than getting the whole buddy list. Visit Run this in the console to output every AIM id in the block list: for (var el of document.querySelectorAll('li[aimid]')){ console.log(el.getAttribute('aimid')); }