How to Back Up Gmail Filters

Save your Gmail filters offline to avoid losing them

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.

    A screenshot of Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  2. Choose Filters and Blocked Addresses along the menu at the top.

    A screenshot of Gmail settings with the Filters and Blocked Addresses heading highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot showing Gmail filters with the selection box highlighted
  4. Select Export at the bottom of the list of Gmail filters.

    A screenshot of Gmail's Filters settings with the Export button highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of Gmail's Save As window with the Save button highlighted

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.

    A screenshot of Gmail's Filters settings with the Import Filters button highlighted
  3. Select Choose File and then upload the XML file.

    A screenshot of Gmail's filters page with the Choose File button highlighted
  4. Choose Open file off to the right to get a list of the filters in the backup.

    Gmail's Import Filters section with the Open File button highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of Gmail's Filters page with the Select All button highlighted
  6. Select Create filters to transfer all of the Gmail rules into your account.

    A screenshot of Gmail's filters settings with the Create Filters button highlighted