How to export and back up your Zendesk Help Center (Guide) with Salto's free app

Written by
Pablo Gonzalez
Business Engineering Architect
February 7, 2023
min read

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My name is Pablo, and I’m a Certified Zendesk Support Admin and Certified Guide Specialist I. 

In this article, I'll show you how to export your entire Zendesk Help Center (Guide) in just a few steps with our 100% free and open-source command-line app: Salto

Note: These instructions require some familiarity with development tools. You can follow the same steps in our user-friendly web app and do much more with your Help Center configuration with our PRO plan.

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Why export the Zendesk Help Center (Guide)?

One of the most popular reasons for wanting to export your entire Help Center (Guide) configuration is to keep it as a backup.

This can be useful in case certain articles get deleted by mistake or if you change your Guide configuration and want to see what the previous configuration looked like.

You may want to store your Help Center (Guide) locally or upload it to a GitHub repository.

I'll show you how to do this, but here's a teaser of what the backup will look like: 


Installing Salto

The first step is to install the Salto CLI on your computer. The easiest way is by downloading its latest binary from the GitHub Releases page per your operating system type (MacOS / Linux / Windows).

Once you've downloaded the binary, it is advised to copy it somewhere safe and add it to your path.

For example, on Mac (using zsh) one could do:

mkdir ~/salto
cd ~/salto
curl -Ls https://github.com/salto-io/salto/releases/latest/download/salto-macos.tar.gz | tar -xzf -echo "export PATH=$PATH:~/salto" >> ~/.zshrc
chmod +x ~/salto/salto
cd -

Exporting your Zendesk Help Center (Guide) configuration

Now, create a new folder called support_apps and go to it.

Once there, use the salto initcommand to create a new workspace. We’ll give it the name zendesk_prod. You can use any other name.

Then, use salto account add zendeskto log in to your Zendesk instance. Provide your username, password, and Zendesk subdomain.

By default, Salto is going to export all your Zendesk Support configuration. To export Help Center (Guide) as well, we need to modify the file salto.config/adapters/zendesk/zendesk.nacl

Once you open this file, modify it to match the example below. You must change the brand to match the brands you want to export configuration from. For example, I’m exporting everything for the Salto brand. You could replace this with one or more brands, for example, “brand1”,”brand2”.

Save the changes.

Now use the salto fetchcommand to export all your Zendesk configuration.

Now you will find a folder called zendesk. You can now open this folder in your favorite code editor (in my case, VSCode), and just like that, you have all your Zendesk configuration downloaded to your computer!

Note that this includes much more than just the Guide configuration. It also includes a lot of the Zendesk Support configuration since it’s typically used by Guide as well (think of tags, groups, etc.)

Reviewing your Zendesk Help Center (Guide) configuration

Now, you can browse through your Zendesk configuration. The Guide configuration can be found under the Guidefolder.

If you have multiple brands, you’ll see all the sections, categories, articles, etc., under each brand.

If we go down to the articles, we can find them along with their translations (if any). Here’s what one of my articles looks like: 

If you are wondering, this is not JSON but NaCl (Not another configuration language), which is the language Salto uses to describe your Zendesk configuration.

Backing up your Zendesk Help Center (Guide) configuration

Now, let's see how we can back up this directory in a GitHub repository. All you have to do is use the following git commands to commit the entire folder:

git init

git add .

git commit -m "initial backup"

Then, you can follow the instructions on GitHub on how to upload this directory to a GitHub repository. In my case, I used the following commands:

And here’s the end result: 


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Take full control of Zendesk Help Center (Guide) with Salto

This was just a teaser of what you can do with Salto. On our PRO plan, we can represent your Zendesk Guide configuration in one user-friendly interface, enabling you to search and analyze it as well as to test, deploy, and track changes across your environments. 

For example, I can see the entire configuration of an article on a single page. 

I can also see where a specific Help Center Brand is being used (i.e., which articles, sections, etc., are specific to that brand)

You can also compare two Zendesk Guide instances and quickly replicate the differences, test changes in an always up-to-date sandbox and deploy them to production in a few clicks.

And really, there’s a lot more you can do with Salto! Check out our library of Zendesk demos so you can see it yourself. 

That's all I have for today. I hope you found this helpful! 

Written by
Pablo Gonzalez

Pablo is a Business Engineering Architect at Salto. He is the developer of HappySoup.io and has 11 years of development experience in all things Salesforce.

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