3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

chrome new logo   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks BarWho doesn’t love bookmarks? The promise to remember an interesting website and visit it later when you will have more time to enjoy it. The endeavor would be easier if you hadn’t bookmarked several hundred cool sites over the past dozen years. Fortunately, someone invented the Bookmarks Bar, that space for all the awesome sites you do visit regularly, like MakeUseOf. Sadly, there will always be more favorite sites than space on the Bookmarks Bar. But there probably is room for improvement.

This article demonstrates how you can make the most of your bookmarks and the limited space on the Chrome Bookmarks Bar. Cleaning up your bookmarks will help you re-discover long forgotten gems and with the tips for best use of the Bookmarks Bar, you will be able to showcase them.

If you are not fond of the Bookmarks Bar at all, but would prefer to make better use of Chrome’s New Tab page, look no further.

Opening The Chrome Bookmarks Bar

The Chrome Bookmarks Bar offers instant access to your most favorite sites. You can open and close it with the keyboard shortcut [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [B]. Alternatively, click the customize icon in Chrome’s top right, expand the Bookmarks entry, and check or uncheck Show bookmarks bar on top of the list.

Chrome Bookmarks Bar   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

Cleaning Up Your Bookmarks

Chances are your bookmarks are a huge mess. Don’t despair, mine didn’t look very nice either. Before you start cleaning up your bookmarks manually, however, use a tool to purge duplicates, dead links first, and sort bookmarks. There are two Chrome addons that can do the job: Bookmark Sentry and Super Sorter.

Bookmark Sentry can help you clean up your bookmarks. Once installed, it immediately starts scanning your bookmarks. You can check its progress by viewing the addon’s options via your list of Chrome Extensions.

Chrome Bookmark Sentry Scanner Control   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

While Bookmark Sentry is busy scanning your bookmarks for duplicates and dead links, you can customize its schedule.

Chrome Bookmark Sentry Preferences   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

Once the scan has completed, the results will open in a new tab. The list will show a list of errors and duplicates. You can mass-delete empty folders, 401 errors, and duplicates. All other errors require manual action, but it’s fairly easy to delete them through the results list.

Chrome Bookmark Sentry Scan Results   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

Super Sorter is less advanced when it comes to scanning bookmarks and listing the results, but offers several sorting features that Bookmark Sentry is lacking, such as including putting folders before bookmarks and merging neighboring folders that have the same name. Duplicate bookmarks within each folder and empty folders can be deleted automatically. The bookmarks bar can be ignored.

Chrome Super Sorter Options   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

Are you using other browsers besides Chrome and want to tidy up bookmarks there, too? Try AM-Deadlink to Clean Up Your Bookmarks by Removing Dead Links And Duplicates. This Windows software works with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and bookmarks saved to a HTML file. If you need to manage years of bookmarks spread across multiple browsers, take advice from this article.

Maximizing The Space In Your Bookmarks Bar

Now that your bookmarks are all clean and tidy, it’s time to return to the Bookmarks Bar and fill it with your favorite links.

You can use the Bookmark Manager to drag and drop links and folders from your Other Bookmarks to your Bookmarks Bar. The keyboard shortcut to the Bookmarks Manager is [CTRL] + [SHIFT] + [O] and it is also accessible via the menu in Chrome’s top right.

Chrome Bookmark Manager   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

The space in the Bookmarks Bar is very limited and maybe not all of your favorite sites will show. However, there are two tricks to fit in more links:

  • remove the bookmark’s name and show only the favicon
  • merge similar bookmarks in a folder

I find the second trick useful for sites that I open in conjunction or for resources I access frequently.

Unlike Firefox, Chrome has no option to display favicons only. Instead, you have to manually remove the bookmark’s name. Right-click on the bookmark, select Edit, clear the name field, and click Save. Note that this space saving technique only makes sense if the respective site has a distinct favicon.

Chrome Edit Bookmark   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

Custom Favicons

If some of your favorite sites don’t have a clear favicon or none at all, you can use the Chrome addon I hate your favicon to assign a custom favicon. Open the respective bookmark, left-click the addon icon, paste in the URL of a desired icon, and click the Add new favicon button.

Chrome I Hate Your Favicon   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

You can edit all custom favicons or manually add new sites by opening the addon’s options window, available via a right-click on its icon in Chrome’s addon area.

Chrome Custom Favicon   3 Steps To An Organized & Simplistic Chrome Bookmarks Bar

The real challenge is setting favicons for bookmarklets. If you don’t mind advanced customization steps that involve HTML editing, I recommend this article. Alternatively, you can use a workaround that involves Firefox and the Firefox extension Bookmark Favicon Changer. Edit your bookmarks in Firefox and then import them to Chrome. Unfortunately, this will only let you change Favicons. Custom folder icons will not transfer and I have not found a straight forward way to change those in Chrome.

For more about Chrome, check out our Guide to Chrome or browse our Best Chrome Extensions page. And if you feel so inclined, learn some Chrome Shortcuts (PDF).

Conclusion

The Bookmarks Bar is a great place to store shortcuts to your favorite websites. With a little bit of optimization, you can fit a lot of bookmarks and make it look neat at the same time.

Where do you store links to your most used websites? Do you use the Bookmarks Bar or which other method do you prefer?

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14 Comments -

Rigoberto Garcia

Great article Tina. I’ll try “Bookmark Sentry” to clean my Bookmarks. Thank you very much …

Starletta

Bookmark Sentry was removed from the Chrome Store (listing there but you can’t download it). It was removed for including advertising malware. You can reasd about it here on the Google Chrome blog http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/chrome/ERR-6Rj2M2s

Tina

Starletta,

The forum post you quote is from early 2012 and it does not say anything about malware or why the extension disappeared briefly. Actually, you can find the addon on the Chrome Web Store. So apparently it was added again and is working just fine.

Also I didn’t observe suspicious behavior and recent reviews from other users don’t indicate malware-related issues.

John Hauxwell

Thanks for the tip about changing favicons – useful!

Dustin

I noticed and now worried that i could have dead links in my bookmarks because I book mark a lot of new sites. Is there a program that allows you to save all your bookmarked websites as PDFs? I know there is a bunch of programs that will allow you to save webpages as PDFs but looking for one that looks at your book marks and saves all to PDFs with one click. Well less clicks than going to every website and click save as PDF.

Thanks,
Dustin

Tina

Dustin,

Form the top of the head I’m afraid I don’t know of a tool that can do that automatically. But you could ask a question on MakeUseOf Answers

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Thank you very much :) I was just starting to go through the pain of organizing bookmarks manually.

Nevzat Akkaya

The one missing addon in Chrome is a multi-row bookmark bar and multi-row tab bar. Firefox has them fortunately.

Roberto Roberts

Sentry not working for me. No matter how many times I delete an individual bookmark, it’s there on the next scan. Since there’s no “save changes” button, perhaps it was designed to work only in an all or nothing category manner.

Aaron Chung

Thanks!! I going to try all three at the same time!!

Tina Sieber

Let us know how it works for you, Aaron!

Aaron Chung

Well, the sorter and sentry didn’t work that well… guess it’s just because my chrome bookmarks are already quite organised. the icon one is fine but I won’t spend too much time in editing my icons.

Geo

Thanks for this. I have been using Chrome for a hwile and my bookmarks have turned into a hot stinking mess.. With these two things I finally got it the way I want it.. I hate that I miss the order in which the bookmarks were added but I can live without that for this.