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How to Import / Export WordPress Theme Customizer Settings

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Do you want to import or export theme customizer settings in WordPress?

If you have multiple WordPress sites, then exporting and importing theme customizer settings will allow you to use the same configuration for the theme on both sites.

In this article, we will show you how to easily import / export WordPress theme customizer settings.

Import / export theme customizer settings in WordPress

Why Import / Export WordPress Theme Customizer Settings?

Many WordPress themes allow you to set up your WordPress website using the theme customizer. It allows you to change colors, header images, background images, choose layout settings, and more.

Some paid and free themes have more settings available in the customizer, while others have just a few basic options.

If you were working on customizing the theme on a local server or staging site, then wouldn’t it be nice if you could just move those settings to the live site?

This will allow you to move theme customizer settings from one WordPress website to another without having to move the content and database.

You may also want to export the customizer settings if you have created a custom child theme that you want to share with others or if your theme has an error and you have to delete it.

Then, once you’ve fixed that issue, you can easily import your theme customizer settings back again.

That being said, let’s take a look at how to easily import / export theme customizer settings in WordPress.

How to Import / Export Theme Customizer Settings in WordPress

First, you need to install and activate the Customize Export/Import plugin on both sites where you want to export/import. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, visit the Appearance » Customize page from the WordPress dashboard of the website you want to export from.

Export/Import option in Customizer

From here, click on the ‘Export/Import’ panel in the left column to open further settings.

Next, click the ‘Export’ button to download your customizer settings and send them to your browser in a .dat file.

Export customizer settings

The plugin will export all your theme options that are defined as theme mods or stored as options in the WordPress database. This means you can export things like color settings, layout directions, header media, etc.

However, it will not export your navigation menus, site title and description, widgets, and more.

Now, to import customizer settings, head over to the WordPress site where you want to import these settings.

From here, visit the Appearance » Customize page from the WordPress admin sidebar and click on the Export/Import panel.

After that, click on the ‘Choose file’ button under the ‘Import’ section to select the file you exported earlier.

You also need to check the box next to the ‘Download and import image files?’ option to import the header and other image files.

Import theme settings
Next, click on the ‘Import’ button to start uploading the customizer settings from your export file.

Once it is finished, you can review your changes in the customizer and then click on the ‘Save & Publish’ button to make those changes live.

Keep in mind that the plugin only exports theme settings saved using theme customizer and does not export site data like menus, widgets, images, and more. You will have to manually set up those changes.

Bonus: Import/Export Navigation Menu

If you have multiple WordPress sites, then you may want to transfer the navigation menu from one site to the other. You can easily do this using the WPS Menu Exporter plugin.

Upon plugin installation, visit the Tools » Export page from the WordPress dashboard. Here, simply check the ‘Navigation Menu Items’ option and click the ‘Download Export File’ button.

Export the navigation menu items

Once you do that, your navigation menu will be stored as an .xml file on your computer. You can then import the navigation menu to the new site by visiting the Tools » Import page.

Here, you must click the ‘Install Now’ and ‘Run Importer’ links under the WordPress option.

Install the WordPress import tool

This will take you to a new screen, where you can easily import the navigation menu file from your computer.

You have now successfully imported and exported a navigation menu on your new WordPress site.

Upload your .xml file and click the button to import it to your new site

For detailed instructions, see our tutorial on how to import/export the navigation menu in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you learn how to import/export theme customizer settings in WordPress. You may also want to see our beginner’s guide on how to use the WordPress theme customizer like a pro and our checklist of things you must do before changing WordPress themes.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

25 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Dayo Olobayo says

    This is a great tip. I’m always worried about losing my customization settings when I switch to a new theme. I’ll definitely be looking into the Customize Export/Import plugin. But please, does this plugin work with all WordPress themes or are there any specific themes that it’s compatible with?

  3. Dennis Muthomi says

    if I export the theme customizer settings from one site and then import them to another site that has a different theme installed, will the imported settings still apply properly?
    Or does this import/export process only work if I’m using the exact same theme on both sites? Having the ability to transfer settings between different themes would be really valuable

      • Dennis Muthomi says

        Wow, thanks for the reply! good to know it only works for the same theme or child themes.Appreciate you clarifying :-)

  4. Ram E. says

    Thanks! Although I don’t think this would work for block themes–from default WP 2023 to the recently released 2024 theme with WordPress 6.4. I am trying to install a staging environment for my website today to configure the new WP default theme before pushing the changes to live but the staging feature of the Bluehost plugin s*cks. This is how I ended up in this article. (Sigh) Looking for some staging alternatives as I only need to update the theme.

  5. Teresa E Langston says

    This plugin does not work with child of 2022 theme.

    Export works fine. Error on import:
    Error importing settings! The settings you uploaded are not for the current theme.

    There does not seem to be a way to get past this situation. Have scanned faqs/support forums

    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to ensure the folder names are the same for your child theme to prevent that specific error. You can also reach out to the plugin’s support and they may be able to assist further.


    • WPBeginner Support says

      You would want to check with the support for the plugin whose settings you are looking to transfer for if they have a tool for that purpose.


    • WPBeginner Support says

      If you reach out to the plugin’s support and let them know your specific theme and they should be able to help


  6. Salman Saleem says

    Thank you so much for saving my day. Was thinking to migrate the whole site but this plugin is a saviour.

  7. Fejiro says

    Please a search bar is showing in my customize theme page. Its blocking the save button. How do I remove it.

  8. Ted says

    I used this plugin to export customizer settings from one site and import them to another site using the same theme. Worked without a hitch and even imported background and header images. One thing I noticed is the current version (0.8) automatically saves the changes, which may be an issue if somebody just wants to see how it looks without committing to the changes. The unwary user will inadvertently overwrite any settings they may currently have saved.

  9. NazakatMunawar says

    WordPress themes are easily imported and export as all the content and images will get transformed into any themes accordingly but still, I suggest to make a back up before making any changes to the themes.

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