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How to Export Chrome Extensions

Posted by Arch on August 22, 2019
how to export chrome extensions

Chrome extensions help you to effectively browse the internet, and you can easily find them in the Chrome Web Store. But on some occasions, these add-ons may disappear from the store. Also, there’s always a chance that a new update doesn’t suit you as much as the previous one did.

That’s why you may want to export all your Google Chrome extensions into one place.  This way, you can always reinstall them, regardless of any changes to the Web Store or the extension itself.

These extensions come in unique CRX file formats, and this article will explain how to store them on your drive.

Check Your Chrome Profile

Before you start exporting, you should check if your Google Chrome profile is the right one. Chrome allows you to use multiple profiles, and each one will have its own set of extensions.

You can make sure that you are using the correct Chrome profile in a few simple steps:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click on the ‘More’ icon in the top-right corner (three vertical dots).
  3. Select the ‘Settings’ menu.
    settings
  4. Under the ‘People’ section, check if you are currently using your profile.
  5. If not, click on the small arrow next to the profile name and switch the profile.
    people

You can also add and remove profiles by clicking on the profile icon on the top-right, and selecting ‘Manage People.’

manage people

Export Chrome Extensions as CRX Files

If you want to export Chrome extensions manually, you have to enable ‘Developer mode’ in the browser and pack the extension in a CRX file. CRX is a file that Chrome automatically downloads and installs when you add an extension.

To do this, you should:

  1. Launch Google Chrome.
  2. Press the ‘More’ icon (three vertical dots).
  3. Hover your mouse over ‘More Tools,’ until a new menu appears.
  4. Click on ‘Extensions.’
    extensions
  5. Enable the ‘Developer mode’ on the top-right of the ‘Extensions’ menu.
  6. Remember the ID that appears under the extension that you want to pack.
    developer mode
  7. Now hold Win Key + E to open Windows Explorer.
  8. Go to the following path:
    C:\Users\<Username>\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions
    Note that the <Username> should be your username.
  9. Locate the folder that has the ID.
    name
  10. Copy it to the Desktop.
  11. Go back to the ‘Extensions’ menu.
  12. Click the ‘Pack Extension’ button on the top-left corner of the menu.
    pack extension
  13. When the new window appears, select the ‘Browse’ option next to the ‘Extension root directory’ bar.
  14. Look for the folder that you’ve moved to the desktop, expand it, and choose the folder with the same version number as its name.
  15. Click ‘OK.’
  16. Select the ‘Pack Extension’ button. Leave the ‘Private key file’ section blank.

Now, the extension folder should have a CRX file too.

For each extension that you want to export, you can use the same method. You can share these CRX files, or store them on your drive.

How to Find Extension Folder on MacOS or Linux

If you’re using MacOS or Linux, the process is slightly different. You can follow the same first six steps from the previous section, but the path to the extension folder is slightly different.

For MacOS users, the correct application folder is normally in ~/Library/Application Support.

For Linux users, the extension folder should be in the ~/.config folder.

Use a Special URL to Save and Download Extensions

If packing extensions to a CRX file seems like a long and exhausting job, you can just save the extension URL somewhere and download it when you need it.

Using the method from the previous section, save the extension ID if you already have it on the computer. If you don’t, you can find the extension from the Chrome Web Store and copy the extension ID. The ID is always the last part of the URL in the address bar.

Once you get the ID, open any other browser besides Chrome and type this link in the address bar:

https://clients2.google.com/service/update2/crx?response=redirect&prodversion=49.0&x=id%3D<Extension_ID>%26installsource%3Dondemand%26uc

Replace the ‘<Extension_ID>’ part with the proper ID and execute. A download window will pop up prompting you to complete the download. You should get the CRX file on your computer.

It’s important to use another browser (like Mozilla Firefox or Opera) because Google Chrome will try to install the extension automatically instead of downloading it.

Use a Third-Party App

There are various third-party extensions and web apps whose only purpose is to help you export other extensions.

For example, Chrome Extension Downloader will download the CRX files directly from Chrome.

Just type in the extension ID or copy/paste the extension URL in the address bar and hit the ‘Download Extension’ button.

Another useful extension is Export Links to All Extensions which exports all extension names and URLs to a single file. You can combine these two apps to quickly get all needed URLs and then get their CRX files.

How to Import Extensions

All of the aforementioned methods will download a CRX file. However, you can’t just click on these files and expect them to install.  Instead, you should:

  1. Open the ‘Extensions’ menu as explained in the previous sections.
  2. Locate the CRX file on your computer.
  3. Drag-and-drop the CRX file from its location to Chrome’s Extensions menu.
  4. Wait for the extension to install.

Keep Your Extensions Safe

Now that you know how to export all your Chrome extensions, you don’t have to worry about them disappearing from the store. Also, you can easily keep track of all extensions that you use, so you don’t miss out on some if you need to switch profiles.

Do you prefer to keep your extensions backed up? Have you ever lost an extension that you couldn’t get back? Leave a comment and let the other readers know.

One thought on “How to Export Chrome Extensions”

William J Greenberg says:
I’m concerned not just with saving the extension, but with saving the information entered into the extension. I have some 245 links in Read It Later. But because Chrome is not updating, I have to uninstall & then reinstall it. How can I make sure to be able to reinstall Read It Later, along with all its links, in the new installation?
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