Backup LastPass and other password managers to KeePass

It is said that anything stored in just one place is at risk. What if something went wrong? For this reason it is a good idea to backup passwords stored in a password manager to KeePass.

We have so many bits of information like usernames, passwords, PINs, and security questions that it is impossible to manage them all without help. A password manager service is essential. However, it means that all of your security information is in one place. A technical fault or if you forget your master password and are locked out your password manager, you are locked out of everything you use it for – logins, banking, shopping and so on.

If you are worried that your passwords are only stored in one place, create a backup. KeePass is not a traditional backup tool, but it is actually a good choice when it comes to passwords, banking and other personal and private information stored in a password manager.

KeePass is a free open source database app that is designed to store passwords and other information that you want to keep secret. It does this by encrypting the contents of the database using the most secure algorithms known today, like AES-256 and others.

It is thought that it could take billions of years to crack AES-256 using current computer technology, so whatever you store in a KeePass database can only be accessed by you, with the right password. Providing that password is sufficiently long and complex, the database and its data are 100% secure.

To create a backup of your password manager’s contents, all you need to do is to export it and import the data into KeePass. The KeePass database can be stored wherever you want, such as on the computer or online in Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive, where it can be accessed by any computer or phone you use.

This can be done on a Windows PC or an Apple Mac and there are KeePass apps for both platforms. LastPass password manager is used here, but KeePass can import data from a wide range of password managers. If whatever you use can export your data, KeePass can probably import it.

Export your passwords

Many password managers can be backed up to KeePass and I will use a LastPass backup as an example of how to export your passwords. Other passwords managers can be used, but they have different menus and buttons. If you use something else, like Bitwarden for example, you will find similar features for exporting your passwords.

1: LastPass advanced options

Go to the LastPass website in a browser and log in. On the account home page, click Advanced Options at the bottom of the left panel. Another panel appears next to it and it contains the feature we want, Export. Click it.

Advanced options at the LastPass website.
LastPass export options on the Advanced Options menu

At one time, you could simply export your data straight away, but security has been increased these days. You are sent an email asking if it was you trying to export your passwords. Check your email and click the Continue export button.

A LastPass security email.
Work through the LastPass security features

More security notices may pop up and you may have to enter your email and master password again. Just keep trying the Export option until you get through all the security.

2: Copy and paste LastPass data

Eventually, the browser will show all your LastPass passwords and other stored data as plain text in a new browser tab. Open a text editor, like Windows Notepad, Mac BBEdit or something similar, and paste it in. In the browser window press Ctr+A, Ctrl+C (PC) or Cmd+A, Cmd+C (Mac) to copy it and Ctrl+V or Cmd+V to paste it into the text editor.

Exported LastPass passwords appear as plain text in the browser.
LastPass export is plain text (I blurred it)

Save the file to disk on the computer with a .csv extension using whatever text editor you have. For example, save it as lastpass.csv. This is a specially formatted file that can be read by databases.

Import passwords into KeePass

Your LastPass backup data is in plain text, so it is a bad idea to leave it on the disk like this. Immediately create a KeePass encrypted database and import it. Then you can delete this plain text LastPass export. Don’t forget to empty the bin afterwards.

1: Create a KeePass database

KeyPass app on Windows showing the File menu.
Create a new KeePass database using the File menu

Download and install KeePass on your PC or Mac if you have not already done so. Run it and click New on the File menu to create a new database in which we can store passwords.

Create a database in KeePass and secure it with a password.
Enter a password for the new KeePass database

First, you need to think of a password, which it calls a Master Key. This must be entered every time you open the database to decrypt it, so make it hard to guess, but easy to remember. Do not forget it. Write it down if you must, and store it somewhere safe.

Name the new KeePass database.
Name the KeePass database, set the security and more

Give the database a name, like Passwords. There are several tabs that enable you to configure security, compression and other features, but you can ignore them because the default settings are fine. Just click the OK button at the bottom. A secure encrypted database is created. There are even a couple of sample entries.

2: Import LastPass passwords into KeePass

Import option on the File menu in KeePass database.
Use the Import option in KeePass

We have created a secure and encrypted database on the computer (PC or Mac). Now we can import the LastPass data. Open the File menu and click Import.

Select the file type to be imported into KeePass.
Choose the import file type in KeePass

A long list of file types is displayed and KeePass supports many password managers, like LastPass, Dashlane, 1Password, Enpass, Kaspersky, Norton, and a lot more. Select your password manager from the list and click OK.

KeePass showing imported passwords from LastPass.
LastPass passwords imported into KeePass

Your passwords, logins and other information from the password manager export file appear in the KeePass database. Save it. You do not need to worry about where it is saved because the AES-256 bit encryption is uncrackable.

Passwords, logins and other information stored in KeePass can be organized into categories. If you didn’t organize them in LastPass or whatever password manager you exported from, they will not be organized here. They can be manually organized, but I don’t bother since it is just a backup. Passwords can easily be found with the search option if you need them.

Can you restore a KeePass backup? KeePass has a limited Export option on the File menu and most password managers have an Import feature, so yes. However, you would need to import into an empty password manager account or you would probably end up duplicating everything.

I mainly keep a KeePass database as a backup. Store it in an online drive like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, Box or something similar and you can even access it on a phone.

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