Keeping your widgets when changing Blogger template

Update Feb 2010: Good news, Blogger has come up with an option to keep your existing widgets during template change. I guess you won’t be needing this tutorial anymore…oh well.

Usually there is one problem with regard to changing Blogger template to a third party template –some of the existing widgets / gadgets will be deleted by Blogger upon saving of the new template. Now if you spent much time and effort installing them in your blog, losing them wouldn’t be fun, would it?

Luckily there is a workaround. This tutorial will show you how to retain those widgets. This process is irreversible, so please make sure you fully understand the steps before going for it.

You may want to try this method on your test blog first.

Here it is:


1. Identifying and backing up affected widgets

You need to identify which widgets are to be deleted by Blogger, so that you can rescue them later.

  1. Proceed with changing the template.
  2. When Blogger ask you to confirm widgets deletion, do the following to back up your existing widgets (click picture to enlarge):   
    • Take note the names of the about-to-be-deleted widgets.
    • Click Cancel button (because at this time you just want to take the widgets’ name).
    • Untick Expand Widget Templates tick box. When the pop-up below appears, click OK.
    • Now remember the names of about-to-be-deleted widgets? Look/search for them inside the template codes (use Ctrl+F). You are about to rescue them :). Do it one by one.
    • When you find the name inside the codes, copy and paste the whole line into Notepad or any other text editor. One line per widget.

2. Placing existing widgets into the new template

  1. Start uploading the new template again.
  2. When Blogger ask you to confirm widgets deletion, this time do the following:
    • Search for the phrase “widget id” in the template codes.
    • Once you get there, paste the all the “rescued” widgets exactly in between “widget id” and "section id” line.  
  3. Click Preview button, check if the widgets appear in the new template. Don’t worry about the positioning of the widgets, you can reposition them later in Page Elements.
  4. If you like what you see,  click Save Template.
  5. Enjoy!
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15 comments to "Keeping your widgets when changing Blogger template"

Anonymous,  April 11, 2009 at 11:32 PM    

Hey - you keep visiting my blog, so I thought I'd visit yours. Good content. I subscribed to your feed via email. Planning on adding a blogroll to my site, you will definitely be on there. Keep on blogging!

Greenlava April 12, 2009 at 9:40 AM    

Thank you for dropping by and for the encouragement.

calvaryzone April 21, 2009 at 10:08 AM    

aiks, still a pain to do manual work.
no other methods to have blogger not delete those widgets?

Greenlava April 21, 2009 at 3:06 PM    

Yeah, I agree manual work sucks :). Blogger won't do it, so we just have to do it ourself, albeit manually.

expatudon08 May 1, 2009 at 4:07 AM    

for some reason i can not get it to work is the reason i post the widjets back in a block of code
not sure

Greenlava May 1, 2009 at 10:18 AM    

I'm sorry I don't understand your question. Could you elaborate?

marlene@ByTheSeam May 21, 2009 at 2:35 AM    

Ok, most of the widgets you can get back if they are just photos but what about the "followers" widget? How do you transfer the people that are your followers? most everything you can replace by "adding a gadget" but I don't know about those that signed up to follow you.

Greenlava May 21, 2009 at 10:07 AM    

Hi kwiltmakr,
Welcome to Blogger Sentral.
I think the method described in the article will also work for followers, recent viewers etc i.e it will keep the followers or viewers intact.
The key point here is preserving widget unique ids -blogger's id and widget provider's id.

BladeRuNr September 12, 2009 at 3:37 AM    

awsome. I just did everything you said and the transition was very smooth. thx!

here's my page:

Greenlava September 13, 2009 at 9:02 AM    

My pleasure BladeRuNr

Clare October 13, 2009 at 10:12 AM    

wow! this was a lifesaver! thanx so much! :)

Greenlava October 13, 2009 at 5:13 PM    

You didn't mean that, did you? :)

iamNoOne November 25, 2009 at 10:54 AM    

Thank you for sharing this. I followed the steps and now, it is easier for me to change my layout. Following your blog...

Caitriona January 5, 2010 at 10:23 AM    

Thanks so much. It did just what I wanted it to do.

K. Leonard January 19, 2010 at 11:59 AM    


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