Background: As many users of Facebook have probably found (assuming they're like me) the chat history is ridiculously lame, annoying and inneffective for long conversations. I have one convo in particular that has over 14k messages including attachments/pictures. To view anything older than a week or two is a LOT of scrolling.

So what I'm looking for for this program to do:

  • Must Gratis.
  • Must Grab whole chat history of one message thread and save it in a different format.
  • Must Saveable as at least one of these options:
    • "nice" html - something like: full width with H3s for each day, H2s for each week or month, skips profile image but include user name and post time.
    • as email archive (any standard email format) of one message per day or per chat message
    • something else easy to use and everything.
  • Bonus Open Source.
  • Bonus multiple destination format options.
  • Bonus built in automation capable - like grab and append every x days (rather than scheduled task and wasting bandwidth etc of overwriting the whole thing)
  • Bonus GUI to select list of message threads - each thread to a separate file or folder if in an mail box type format.
  • CLI or GUI is fine
  • Preferred a Windows app or Chrome/Firefox Extension/scriptlet.
  • Acceptable Linux app
  • a web-app is not acceptable.

1 Answer 1


Facebook has an option to download most of your Facebook data, including sent and received messages. Go to your Settings and click on “Download Your Information” :

enter image description here

It is gratis, no app is required and it grabs your whole chat history. One issue is that you cannot select what you want to retrieve, so if you have 100 GB of videos I hope you have a decent connection.

The archive is in HTML, your messages are in facebook-Francky/html/messages.htm (replace Francky by your username). The messages.htm contains all your threads, ordered by the last message retrieved in the thread. Unfortunately, files attached to messages are not present in the backup. Well done Facebook...

Here is how the archive looks like:

enter image description here

  • 2
    I suppose I should have specified that I was aware of that option. However it doesn't work well for me for two reasons; which I should have specified as well. 1. All messages in one file (yes I can manually extract each set but that isn't nice) 2. no quick division between date ranges. (editing my question to specify those, thanks) - but a good answer even if it doesn't quite fit what I want (which of course may or may not exist) Commented Mar 8, 2014 at 4:49

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