How to do a Shopify theme export (start-to-finish guide)

How to do a Shopify theme export (start-to-finish guide)

Exporting a Shopify theme can come in very handy when faced with losing theme data or when you want to customize a theme with a text editor. We admit the jargon can be a little confusing, especially when words like export, import, ZIP, and CSV files are thrown around.

But don’t let the jargon intimidate you. It’s an easy process that can be a huge benefit to your store in the long run. Whatever your reason for choosing to export your Shopify theme, we are here to help with an easy 4-step guide. 

This article will also cover the benefits and limitations of a theme backup. Plus, we’ll cover how to manually export data that can’t be downloaded with the Shopify theme, to help you create a complete store backup.

shopify theme export

What does it mean to export a Shopify theme?

Exporting a theme is just jargon for downloading your Shopify theme and transferring it to you through email. Shopify will email the exported theme to the email used when the store was registered. With this, your theme can be kept on a local drive where you can access it. 

There are many benefits to being able to export Shopify themes. When you export your theme file, you will be able to edit your Shopify theme and customize it in a text editor.  You can save the theme to create a theme backup in case you want to reset a Shopify theme but don’t want to risk losing any data. 

Shopify also limits store owners with how many themes their Merchant Dashboard can hold.  Every merchant is allowed only 20 themes. 

This sounds like a lot but it can make switching between themes difficult, especially in the beginning stages of a store’s setup. If you don’t want to lose any previous theme data or like a theme but no longer have space for it, you can export it to keep a backup. 

Having an exported copy of your theme will also keep it safe in case of any store malfunctions or if an update went wrong. It’s always a good idea for Shopify store owners to have a copy of their theme protected on a local drive.  

how to download shopify theme

The limitations of exporting a Shopify theme

Shopify understands what its merchants’ needs are and has built a system that allows themes to be downloaded with relative ease. But there are limits to what data will be in the file when exporting the theme. The following data will not be in the exported theme file: 

  • Images: Image won’t be exported with the theme file. This means all images including banners, promo images, product images, and logos. If you choose to import the Shopify theme again, these images will all need to be manually added back to the store.
  • Paid Theme Licensing: When a theme is bought on the Shopify theme store, the license only applies to the store it was bought for. If you want to transfer a paid theme to a different store, you will have to contact Shopify support to pass the licensing onto the new store. This only applies to licensed Shopify themes. Unlicensed themes aren’t eligible for support or Shopify theme updates.
  • Certain Data Sets: When exporting a Shopify theme file, store data won’t be exported with the theme. But don’t worry. Below, we have a guide on how to manually export specific data sets to create a complete store backup when combined with the theme file. 
Shopify help

Shopify theme export tutorial

Now that we have covered the benefits of exporting a Shopify theme and the limitations that come with it, let’s get into the Shopify export theme tutorial. 

Step 1: Log in to your Shopify Merchant Dashboard

Log in to Shopify with merchant admin details. This will open up your Shopify Merchant Dashboard. To the left of the Merchant Dashboard will be a sidebar with categories like Home, Orders, Products, Reports, and so on. 

Move down on this sidebar until the Online Sales category is available. Click on Online Sales. 

Step 2: Enter the Shopify theme library

Under the Online Sales section will be the Themes category. Click on the Themes category. 

The dashboard will change into the Shopify themes library. This is where all your Shopify store themes are kept and managed. 

Scroll down until you find the theme you would like to export.

Step 3: Download the theme file

Next to the chosen theme title will be a dropdown button that reads Actions. Click or hover over the Actions button until the dropdown menu is available. 

On this menu will be many options:  Preview, Publish, Delete. Move past these until the action that reads Download theme file. Click on Download theme file. 

Shopify download Themes

Step 4: Confirm and send the email

A pop-up will appear with a small bit of text. This is to confirm the download of the chosen theme file. 

There will be an option that reads Send Email and an option that reads Cancel. Click on the Send Email button. The theme will be sent to the email address you used when creating your Shopify store. 

If you no longer wish to download your theme file, press the Cancel option on the pop-up. 

The exported theme will arrive via email and will be in a .zip file. It can be downloaded to your computer, phone, or hard drive. ZIP file formats are archive files that hold one or more compressed folders. To access the data, the file will have to be ‘unzipped’ or extracted. 

When you have finished exporting your theme, you can delete the Shopify theme in your themes library without having to worry about losing it. With this .zip file, you can transfer your Shopify theme to another account without having to worry about losing any of your theme data.

How to manually export data

Certain data sets won’t be exported with theme files. Luckily, store information can be backed up in CSV files from your Shopify dashboard. A CSV (Comma-separated values) file format uses commas to separate values and is primarily for data recording. 

 The store information that can be backed up include:

  • Products
  • Customer Information
  • Gift Cards
  • Discount Codes
  • Orders
  • Financial Data

In the below tutorial, the Products CSV data will be used as an example. The steps can be used for the rest of the data we mentioned in the above list. Just repeat the steps with all of them. 

  1. Login to Shopify Merchant Dashboard: As with the exporting tutorial, log in to the Shopify Merchant Dashboard. On the sidebar will be a section labeled Products. Click on the Products category. 
  1. All Products: Under the Products section will be a category labeled All Products. Click on All Products. 
  1. Export: Click on the Export option.
  1. Choose What to Export: A pop-up will appear with the following options available for download – all products, the current page of products, products that match a specific set of filters, and selected products. 

    These options will be all the information that can be exported from product data. Click on the data you would like to export.
  1. Select File Format: Select the file format you would like to export the data in. A CSV file is recommended for backup. 
  1. Export Products: After choosing the file type, click on Export Products. The data will be converted and can be safely stored with your theme data. 
how to export shopify theme

Repeat the above steps with the other data you would like to make copies of and save as CSV files. It can be a tedious process but will be worth it in case of any data losses or store malfunctions. Combine the exported CSV files with the theme ZIP folder to create a full backup of your store. 


With our guide, exporting your Shopify theme file will be a piece of cake. With this ZIP file create a backup for peace of mind or transfer your Shopify theme without a hitch. The theme file can also be edited when you hire a developer for specific tweaks and custom features.

If you are exporting your theme because you want to migrate to a different theme – in an effort to improve your store’s performance – we know how overwhelming it can be. 

To learn more about development projects and how we can help customize your theme, submit a task with our team. We’ll get to know each other and the unique struggles of your business.

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