June 25, 2012

Back up and restore your Blogger template

By Donald Ritchie

If you run a Blogger blog, you'll know that it's easy to customize your template in various useful ways. Unfortunately, it's also easy to make a mess of the job. In the worst case, you could muck up the template to such an extent that the blog becomes completely inaccessible (this is especially true if you edit the underlying HTML).

The best way to guard against such disasters is to make a backup of your template before you start customizing it. This is an easy thing to do. Just follow these steps.

1. Go to your blog in the normal way.

2. Navigate to the dashboard. The easiest way to do that is to click Design in the bar at the top of the screen (you'll need to sign in to your Google account at this point if you haven't already done so).

3. You should now see a screen similar to the one in Figure 1. If you see a different screen, click Template (in the left-hand panel).

Figure 1
Figure 1 - Back up your blog from this screen.

4. Click Backup/Restore (in the top right corner).

Figure 2
Figure 2 - Download a copy of the template
5. You will be prompted save a copy of your template (Figure 2). To do so, click Download full template.

6. Depending on your browser and its settings, you might now be prompted to save the file (as opposed to opening it), and you might be prompted for a location to save it to. Save the file to any convenient location on your computer or local network.

The file is an XML file. If you're curious, you can view it in a text editor or an XML viewer (including Internet Explorer). But be careful not to change it in any way.

If you ever need to restore the backup, repeat steps 1 to 4 above. After clicking Backup/Restore, click the Browse button (under "Upload a template from a file on your hard drive"). Navigate to the XML file, and click Open.

Keep in mind that, when you restore the file, it will overwrite the existing template. You'll therefore lose any customizations you made since taking the backup. And make sure you restore the correct file. Uploading the wrong file could mean that you have no template at all. If that happens, your only recourse will be to re-assign the original template to the blog - and start customizing all over again.

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