How to install new templates without losing widgets?

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It's frustrating to install a new template on your blog if you lose all your widgets. Here's how to avoid this problem and keep your old widgets on the blog when you install new templates. Don't worry, there's no coding involve. You just have to know where to copy and paste codes in your old template into your new template file.

1. Save your current template first
This is a must. Save the old one first just in case something screws up and you need to get back to the old template.

2. Use a text editor
Don't do any coding in the Blogger Editor; it's too easy to mess things up. Get a text editor to do any code tweaking on your computer. If you have no idea what to use, just use Notepad++. Download the latest Notepad++ Installer.exe file. It's free and it makes it easier for you to do your coding.

3. Open up the old and new template XML files in the text editor
Open them up because you'll need to copy some codes in the old template and paste them in the new template files. These codes that you'll copy and paste are basically the codes for your widgets. You don't have to understand what's going on inside the code; you just have to know where it is and what widget it is for.

4. Find out where the codes are located
Look at the image below. See the <body> tag? Click on the image to make it larger. All the codes above this tag are mostly CSS, the type of code that controls the appearance (colors, fonts) of your blog. You don't need to copy/paste anything in this section.

The codes below the <body> tag is the main XML code for your blog. Basically, it's the part that controls the layout (where the sidebars, widgets, headers are) and controls the data flow from Blogger into your blog. This is where all the codes for the widgets you want to save are located.


All your widgets are coded within the tag <b:widget> ... </b:widget>. All the <b:widget> tags must be located within the <b:section> ... </b:section> tag. The structure looks something like this:

<div id='sidebar-wrapper'>
<b:section class='sidebar' id='sidebar' showaddelement='no'>
<b:widget id='LinkList1' locked='true' title='Linkbar' type='LinkList'>
...
... some additional codes here ...
...
</b:widget>
<b:widget id='HTML1' .....;
...
</b:widget>
<b:widget id='Image1' .....;
...
</b:widget>

</b:section>
</div>

The above is a sample code on how a widget code looks like in a template XML file. The main location of the widget is identified with the div id label. In this case, div id=sidebar-wrapper. Below the div id is the b:section tag. All widgets must be located within this b:section tag. You don't need to worry if you don't understand much about the div or b:section thingy. The important tag you have to know is the b:widget tag. Note that you can put as many widgets as you want inside the b:section tags.

Here's an actual example of a widget tag embedded inside a b:section tag. The location is sidebar-wrapper, meaning that the widget is placed inside one of the sidebars in the blog. The widget is an image widget, as you can see it being labeled id='Image1'.


The most important thing to note is that the widget code starts with the <b:widget> tag and closed with the </b:widget> tag. This is the single most important thing you have to know when copying/pasting later on.Remember also that the widget is placed after the <b:section> tag and closed with the </b:section> tag.

Here's another example. The widget is a Linklist widget. You don't have to know the codes inside the widget tag because you won't have to change anything in there.


5. Copy and paste the widgets into new template file
Identify all the widgets you want to keep in your blog after template installation. Locate their codes in the old template file. Remember, these are the codes within the <b:widget> tags and must be close properly with </b:widget>. Copy the codes for a widget that you want to keep and paste them in the new template file, within the <b:section> tags at the location of your choice. Make sure the b:widget and b:section tags are closed properly.

If you don't know the div id location you want to paste them in, just put them in any div id, but must be inside a b:section tag. It'll then show up as a widget in the Layout > Page Elements page (as in the image below) and you can then drag and drop the widgets to any new location.


6. Upload the new template as your new blog layout
Once you've pasted all the widgets you want into your new template, upload the new template into your blog using the upload button shown below.


7. If not sure, test this technique on a test blog first
If you're not sure whether it'll work out okay, try it first in a test blog. Create a test blog with a few junk posts (lorem ipsum), create some widgets, and then try changing into new templates using the technique above. See if you can make it work.

------------------------------------

Easy no?

I bet most of those bloggers who use the basic Blogger templates do so because they all got so frustrated of having them widgets gone every time they install new templates. Now you don't have to stick to those basic ones knowing this trick; plus you've got all the templates you ever wanted here in Ourblogtemplates.com (just kidding, or not!).

60 comments:

LA September 30, 2008 2:12 pm  

Hey, thanks for the advice. I'll have to try it. I lost widgets when I went from Wise-n-Wonderful's old template to the new one. I had no clue. I am still new to working with code. Most of what I learned was from doing a Myspace page! I'm getting better, though, thanks to tips like these. Thanks again :)

Abhi October 04, 2008 9:05 am  

excellent tip!
You should have a StumbleUpon/DiggIt button so we can thumbsup your articles.

OBT October 04, 2008 10:46 am  

Tq abhi. The digg and stumbleupon buttons are in the AddThis Share button below. Digg away and StumbleUpon it!

"credit rewards" October 07, 2008 12:50 am  

The design of the templates are excellent!

Im just new to blogger. So ill have to "study" this first before applying to my blog.

But im glad i found this site! keep up the great work guys

gloria November 04, 2008 10:25 pm  

Your article is good.. But according to your method the data within the widget will not be saved. So technically i think there is no use in copying and pasting the codes from old template to new template. Correct me if m wrong.

OBT November 05, 2008 5:33 am  

As long as the widget still remains on the blog, the data is there. If you keep the widget code from the old template to the new template, the data will be kept too. But if you don't copy and save the widget's code into the new template, they won't keep the data.

Brad November 05, 2008 8:42 pm  

I tried this on one of my blogs and it moved the widgets over but not the data. I uploaded the new template and then saved it. I then came back and added the code for the widgets into the XML code for the new template and the widgets appeared without the data. What did I do wrong? Thanks for your help!

Adrianto December 14, 2008 8:07 am  

It's nice post. I have tried to this and worked as well. Please take a look my blog

AMH615 December 17, 2008 7:45 am  

Thank you! This was so much easier than the way I did it last time!

His Unfailing Love December 27, 2008 12:04 am  

Thanks..I've learned a lot from your advice. I'll try it. I'm a newbie and wanted to learn more blogging tips. I really felt bad everythime I change my template. Thanks for the tips...

Inge' December 31, 2008 6:04 am  

I just uploaded this to my blog.

When I tried to copy and paste my widgets into the html content I got the following error:

The widget with id HTML3 is not within a section (actual parent element is: div.) Every widget should be in a section.

I don't know what this means since I pasted the widgets within the section you state within your instructions ("b" section)

Please help!!

Zo January 07, 2009 8:59 pm  

What's been working for me is to View Source in the browser, copy and save that.

In that HTML you will see the actual content of a widget, the links, image links etc., in case you need to re-enter that. And you probably do.

iFant January 09, 2009 7:52 am  

Thanks this info. Akan saya coba n hatur ThankQ'U

Lilian January 23, 2009 7:17 pm  

hi i successfully downloaded templates of newspaper III, columnus, and professional templates but something went wrong...people cannot leave comments on my blogs, i also delete the rel "nofollow" something mess up already...tried many things but didint work out, am already frustrated, please help me...here are my blogs:

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Please let me know if you can help me out of these...thanks a lot!

jotter January 24, 2009 9:16 am  

Great read and blog! I'm giving it a shot this weekend. I created a blog post pointing to this post here:

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http://blog.urlage.com/2009/01/urlage-blog-template-makeover.html


I'm so glad to find this article - my blog has needed a face lift forever! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to ((attempt to)) create an instructional video while doing the change over to help other blogger's. I'm be back to let you know how it goes - cheers! =)
--following

faqirurahmatirabbih February 26, 2009 6:01 am  

it seem easy, but the more I try the more I failed. But, I'm sure I must be success. Thanks for the advice

Siv Elin March 01, 2009 5:18 pm  

Hi I finally got it right. But as brad said. No data followed. I don't know what I did wrong, but I believe I did it "by the book" as written here.. I don't know. gotta keep on looking for a better way to do it...

Faisal March 06, 2009 10:38 pm  

Hi wile I am uploading the templates I am losing the navigation bar in blogger...How can I prevnt that?please help

Ebony Brown March 29, 2009 8:56 pm  

Thanks for the template! If uploading without widgets, its great. If uploading with copied and pasted widgets it doesn't work very well; widget "gadgets" are copied (over) but they are empty/the data is missing. AND not all widgets will copy over such as "Followers" the most important one. What code/tags should come before "b:widgets" for specifically "followers?" Help. Please. (P.S. I had to "delete the brackets" from the code in my message above so that this post would be seen here.)

Conrad April 03, 2009 10:37 pm  

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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RANJINAP May 09, 2009 7:51 am  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RANJINAP May 09, 2009 7:53 am  

This procedure not useful to new or Dummy bloggers...

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Faisal Rahadian June 30, 2009 8:25 am  

thanks for the advice..very useful.

indiana July 02, 2009 9:20 am  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary August 12, 2009 10:34 pm  

I found it much easier to click on the edit button for the widget on my blog, copy the html code and save it in notepad. Do this for each widget. After replacing template Add A Gadget where you want it, select HTML/Javascript then simply copy the code from notepad and paste it into the content section of the gadget. Click save and it's done.

Free Poker Money August 30, 2009 9:50 am  

Gary have rigth, but here we have step-by-step instruction. Great and very interesting blog. Good day and till next time.

marketing on line September 01, 2009 7:40 pm  

very great tutorial wanna say thanks to share

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Lovliebutterfly November 12, 2009 12:55 pm  

I tried doing this but as others have said, it only moved the widgets and not the info within them. I ended up with just empty widgets.
I tried again by expanding the widgets first then copying them. But not successful either.
I don't know if I'm missing anything but I followed the instructions step by step.

AbcHobby.it January 11, 2010 4:59 am  

Thanks to share!! Excellent tutorial, very useful!! I've change my template and I don't lost any widgets!!

thanks elisabetta

A Telugu Guy February 02, 2010 11:53 pm  

thanks for the useful tutorial...I'll try from now on...

DemonLover's Blog February 19, 2010 12:22 am  

I need HELP. I have to change my blog to a 3 column layout and can't figure it out. I've worked so hard to get the blog looking right. Can you please help me???

Kelly(DemonLover)

Asociatia ”People” February 19, 2010 11:34 am  

It's amazing. Thank you so much!

Pen Tan Sze Yen March 26, 2010 4:52 am  

Your template could not be parsed as it is not well-formed. Please make sure all XML elements are closed properly.
XML error message: The element type "b:section" must be terminated by the matching end-tag "".

This is the message displayed after I upload the template. I couldn't really understand what it means. I'm just guessing maybe I have to add another "b: section" which of course, didn't work out.

Just want to know, when I copy and paste the widgets codes..do I copy and paste one widget code only or do I copy and paste everything single widget codes that I want. I really don't get it. Help me out pls...

Pen Tan Sze Yen March 26, 2010 8:25 am  

Hey, thought this might help dummies like me. I found a solution to save my precious widgets. I uploaded the templates and as usual they said that some widgets won't be included. Instead of keeping the widgets that can't be displayed, I deleted them. Thanks to what Gary said, I already save the codes for the gadgets before doing so. All I have to do is just add the gadgets again. Important gadgets like FOLLOWERS can be retained. Just don't keep the gadgets. U can get it back again. As for others like the chat box,u can get it back by doing what Gary said. Just make sure u save the codes.

It's easier this way coz you don't have to do any copy n paste. Maybe experts can figure the whole copy n paste method but I can't. So if u are a dummy like me, just try what I said coz it work for me. You can visit my blog to see the proof. Click Scraps and Craps. That's the blog that I modified. This template is the exact one that I downloaded before I change the colors, text and header.

PS: Thanks btw for providing so many templates. It help me a lot.

cjnoof May 14, 2010 6:17 am  

Is there anyway to colorize the code, like the way it is shown in the example? I'm afraid I'm a bit dyslexic!

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