How to Back Up Gmail Filters

Save your Gmail filters offline to avoid losing them

Mailboxes in post office
 David Pagán / EyeEm / Getty Images

Exporting your Gmail filters might not be something you thought about when you first created them, but if you have a lot or you find them super useful, you might think again about saving them.

One reason you might save Gmail filters is so that you can upload them to another Gmail account of yours. This essentially lets you transfer the Gmail rules to another account. Or, maybe you just want to keep the Gmail rules backed up for safekeeping or to share with friends.

Whatever your reasoning is, you can back up your Gmail rules to an XML file in just a few steps.

How to Export Your Gmail Filters

You need access to the Filters and Blocked Addresses area of your Gmail account to create an offline copy of your Gmail filters.

  1. Select the gear icon at the top right corner of Gmail, and choose Settings.

    Gmail menu button
  2. Choose Filters and Blocked Addresses along the menu at the top.

    Gmail General settings page
  3. Put a check in the box next to the one or more rules that you want to save. To save all of them, scroll to the very bottom and choose All.

    Filters and Blocked Addresses page in Gmail
  4. Select Export at the bottom of the list of Gmail filters.

    Gmail Filters and Blocked Addresses export button
  5. Name the file something memorable, and choose a folder to save it in.

    If you're exporting lots of rules separately (i.e., not in the same file), be sure to use names that make sense to you. You might even group the individual rules into separate folders so that you know what they're for when you come back to use them.

  6. Select Save to download the Gmail filter(s) as an XML file.

    Save As prompt in Windows while saving Gmail filters to an XML file

How to Import Gmail Filters

Whoever uses the filters backup can't just open the file and expect it to load into their Gmail account. There's a very specific process to how this works.

  1. See Step 2 above to reach the Filters and Blocked Addresses page.

  2. Choose Import filters at the bottom of the page.

    Import filters option in Gmail
  3. Select Choose File and then upload the XML file.

    Import Filters choose file button in Gmail
  4. Choose Open file off to the right to get a list of the filters in the backup.

    Open file button in the Import Filters section of Gmail
  5. Put a check in the box next to the filters you want to import into your Gmail account. Select All to pick all of them.

  6. Select Create filters to transfer all of the Gmail rules into your account.

    Create filters button for backed up Gmail filters