backup apps from mac

I want to backup my iMac apps only (that are not available for redownload from App store.   Can I just drag my ".app" file to an external hard drive, and then restore that app to my iMac by simply dragging it back to the Applications folder?  Will that work, or is that too simplistic?
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serialbandConnect With a Mentor Commented:
All the apps that were installed by dragging into the Applications folder can be backed up that way.

Apps that were installed with license keys will need to be installed.  Microsoft Office, beyond 2011, needs to be installed on each new system.  A license key is generated based on your system ID.  Older versions of Office can still be copied.

You can also just install a new OS onto an external drive, then use Migration Assistant to duplicate all the data.  Afterwards, you can rsync all the data to copy over the changes.  As long as you boot the disk in the original system, your licensed programs will work.
Eoin OSullivanConnect With a Mentor ConsultantCommented:
Mark .. it depends on the app.

Some are simply fine to copy the APP from the Application folder to an external HD.

Others like MS Office, Adobe Photoshop etc. etc. etc. require an installer application as the installation process puts files and folders in several locations on your system.  For these apps .. you need to keep the installer file and backing up the application is useless.

Personally I recommend a system-wide backup like TimeMachine or a cloning tool like Carbon Copy Cloner which can create an image of your Mac on an external HD.
David AndersConnect With a Mentor Technician Commented:
Some applications are available from the creator's website as well as the Apple Store.
A clone will preserve almost all applications to run on that clone, some apps might protest. Most often Microsoft and Adobe applications.
I am fond of SuperDuper for cloning, the free version works well. Clones to drive, partition, or SparceImage DMG
The $27 pro version adds smart updates, sandboxing and other advanced options.
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