Can I export my Gmail filters?
Over time I have become reliant on Google's Gmail service, but it strikes me that if I were to ever bail on it, I'd have a hard time rebuilding all of my email rules. Even if not, it'd be helpful to migrate my rules from one account to another. Except, as usual, there's no way to do that. Or is there a way to export and import Gmail mail filters?
That's a great question and you're definitely not alone in learning to rely on Gmail and simultaneously being a bit concerned about the difficulty of pulling information out of your Gmail account and configuration.
Fortunately, there's a solution, though you have to delve into Gmail Labs to enable it.
To do so, log in to Gmail, and along the top click on "Settings", then "Labs". Scroll down a ways through the many cool (and sometimes weird and goofy) optional additions and tweaks you can make to your Gmail setup and look for one ingeniously called "Filter Import/Export":
Simply choose "Enable" then scroll all the way to the bottom of the list and click on "Save Changes".
Now go to "Settings" again and go to "Filters":
Now scroll down to the very bottom of all your Gmail mail filters and you'll see some new stuff:
You can see an "Export" button, though it's grayed out, and on the right a text link "Import Filters". Let's export first.
To export your rules you need to select one or more. I'll export everything (I have a lot of filters, truth be told) by clicking on "All". Now the "Export" button is enabled:
Guess what I'm going to do now. You're right! Click on "Export". Boooyaaa!
A new file is created and downloaded, which, in Google Chrome, ends up looking like this in the download status window:
This XML file is not particularly easy to read as a human, but it is easily parsed and read by a computer, notably the Gmail service itself, so just squirrel it away in some backup directory and you're good.
Now, let's say you wanted to import your filters into a new account. This is most easily done by enabling the Filter Import/Export add-on, then clicking on "Import filters" link on the bottom of the Settings --> Filters window:
I'll let you figure it out from here, but it's pretty straightforward and, more importantly, it does liberate this data from Google and let you have a copy of your email filter rules. Very helpful!
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