SMS Backup & Restore FAQ: Edit files on computer

How to view or edit the SMS & call log backup files on a computer

Although the files created by SMS Backup & Restore and Call Logs Backup & Restore are XML files, they can be easily viewed in any Web browser (like Internet Explorer or Firefox) and can also be opened in MS Excel.

Before using any of the methods, make sure that the preferences for “Add XSL Tag” and “Add Readable Date” in the Preferences of the app are checked before taking a backup. Backing up emojis may prevent the ability to view a backup file outside the app.

There are multiple ways to view the files:

  1. Use a Backup Reader
  2. Open it in a web browser
  3. Open it in MS Excel
  1. Use a Backup Reader (Only for SMS)

    Matt at XtNetworks is working on a Java based Viewer for the backup files which is probably the easiest way to view the files on a computer. The program now works with displaying threaded conversations on Windows, OSX, and Linux and it can also export messages to text files. More information is available at his site: http://devadvance.com/sms-backup-reader/

  2. View the backup data using a web browser:

    Note: The following does not work on Google Chrome or Firefox due to security risks of opening local XSL files.

    To be able to view the files on a computer, first make sure that the preferences for “Add XSL Tag” and “Add Readable Date” in the Preferences of the app are checked before taking a backup.

    1. Copy the backup file to a folder on the computer.
    2. For SMS Backup & Restore:
      • Download (right click on the link and select “Save Target As” or “Save Link As” or equivalent on your browser) sms.xsl for SMS Backup & Restore file and store it in the same folder as the xml file.
      For Call Logs Backup & Restore:
      • Download (right click on the link and select “Save Target As” or “Save Link As” or equivalent on your browser) Calls.xsl file and store it in the same folder as the xml file.
    3. Open the xml file in the browser. The browser will now display it in a friendly HTML format.

    copy the xml file to a folder on your computer

    open the xml file in the browser

    Threaded view for SMS Messages:

    BlueChip has put together a nice stylesheet to display the SMS Messages in a threaded view. Currently it only works on Opera and Mozilla Firefox.

    1. Make sure that the preferences for “Add XSL Tag” and “Add Readable Date” in the Preferences of the app are checked before taking a backup.
    2. Copy the backup file to a folder on the computer.
    3. Click here to download the ZIP file containing the scripts and style sheets required.
    4. Once downloaded, extract the files from the ZIP file into the same folder as the backup XML file.
    5. Open the XML file in the browser. The browser will now display it in a friendly HTML format with a threaded view.
    6. You can also change the style/theme by changing the option in the drop down.

    threaded view backup sms

  3. View/Edit messages using MS Excel:

    MS Excel can also be used to edit these files if you are not comfortable in editing them in a text editor. Here are the steps involved:

    1. Open Excel and select File > Open and then select XML Files (*.xml) in the file type dropdown.
    2. Select the backup file from the list. Press Open.

      app-img4

    3. Press OK.

      Open the file without applying a stylesheet

    4. Press OK.

      Open the file as an XML table

    5. The 4th column will have the date as stored in the file and is not easily readable. The readable date gets added further to the right of the list in the 2nd last column called “readable_date”. The format of this date can be changed when creating the backup by changing the “Readable Date Format” setting.

      the readable date is added further to the right of the lest in the readable date column

    6. If the backup file does not contain the “readable_date” then it can be calculated…
    7. To view the date in a human understandable format, enter the following value in a new column and then copy it to all the rows: =([@date]/86400000)+25569

      To view the date in a human understandable format, enter the following value in a new column then copy it to all of the rows

    8. Format the new column as a date/time.

      Format the new column as a date/time

    9. Done.

      done

    10. If you edit the file in Excel, it may not allow you to Export it back to xml and display this error message:

      Excel error message

    11. To be able to export again:
      1. Open the Developer Tab in the Ribbon Bar.
      2. Click on the Source button.
      3. Remove the Count Element from the Map.

        Remove the Count Element from the Map

    12. Now Excel should let you Export.