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manage many bookmarksBookmarks seem to accumulate over time, growing into collections of hundreds or thousands over the years. If you only have a handful of bookmarks, this article isn’t for you – this is for the people with large collections of bookmarks. The tips here will help you tidy up your bookmarks, back them up, and make the best use of them.

Of course, these tips are no substitute for sitting down, going through your bookmarks, and deleting the ones you don’t use. Only you know which bookmarks are actually important to you. Decluttering Rid Your PC Of Outdated Bookmarks, Duplicate Files, Broken Shortcuts & Empty Folders [Windows] Rid Your PC Of Outdated Bookmarks, Duplicate Files, Broken Shortcuts & Empty Folders [Windows] Collecting is part of human nature. Over the course of a life, we collect a lot of things. For a few decades, this has been including digital data. With every backup you make, you are... Read More your bookmarks is a great idea if you have trouble finding the important ones.

Remove Dead & Duplicate Bookmarks

If you actually have 17 years of bookmarks, you’re guaranteed to have some dead links in there – and possible some duplicate ones, too. The web was a very different place just 15 years ago Go Back In Time: How 10 Big Websites Looked 15 Years Ago Go Back In Time: How 10 Big Websites Looked 15 Years Ago The year was 1997. Apple was a struggling computer company, AOL was a booming Internet service provider, Microsoft was on the verge of releasing Windows 98, and the Web was a very different place. Through... Read More , of course.

Even if you don’t have such an extreme amount of bookmarks, you may have dead or duplicate bookmarks anyway. You can clean up your bookmarks by using AM-DeadLink, a Windows application that automatically checks your bookmarks AM-Deadlink: Clean Up Your Bookmarks by Removing Dead Links And Duplicates AM-Deadlink: Clean Up Your Bookmarks by Removing Dead Links And Duplicates Read More . It won’t delete anything automatically – you’ll be able to verify each suggested bookmark deletion it makes.

AM-DeadLink works with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera bookmarks. It also works if you have your bookmarks backed up to an HTML file (you can export your bookmarks to HTML in all browsers.)

Install it, select your browser, and click the green Check Bookmarks icon on the toolbar to get started. It will automatically check each bookmark. You can also use the Find Duplicates button on the toolbar to quickly find and remove duplicates.

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manage many bookmarks

If a bookmark is a dead link and there was something important there, you can always try using the Wayback Machine The New Wayback Machine Lets You Visually Travel Back In Internet Time The New Wayback Machine Lets You Visually Travel Back In Internet Time It seems that since the Wayback Machine launch in 2001, the site owners have decided to toss out the Alexa-based back-end and redesign it with their own open source code. After conducting tests with the... Read More to view the web page as it existed in the past.

Sync Your Bookmarks with Your Browser

You’ve probably spent time some building up and sorting your collection of bookmarks. To have access to your bookmarks on every computer, ensure you’re automatically synchronizing them 4 Great Ways To Sync Your Bookmarks & Favorites Across Computers & Phones 4 Great Ways To Sync Your Bookmarks & Favorites Across Computers & Phones Gone are the days when we used a single browser on our only computer. Today, many of us constantly switch between desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, smartphones, and tablets, all of which are outfitted with various... Read More . Many browsers now have built-in bookmark synchronization, so this is easier than it used to be.

manage lots bookmarks

Sync Bookmarks Between Multiple Browsers

If you use multiple different browsers, try Xmarks. Xmarks was more popular before browsers offered integrated bookmark syncing, but it’s still a useful tool. Unlike the browser-specific bookmark sync systems above, Xmarks can synchronize bookmarks between Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari XMarks Syncs Bookmarks & Passwords Between All Major Browsers XMarks Syncs Bookmarks & Passwords Between All Major Browsers Read More . The cross-browser bookmark sync feature is free, but only premium subscribers can use the mobile apps.

manage lots bookmarks

Back Up Your Bookmarks

As with any important type of data, bookmarks can be lost. Maybe your sync system will have a server hiccup, or maybe you’ll accidentally delete some bookmarks and the changes will propagate to your other computers. Don’t lose all those bookmarks you spend so much time accumulating – back them up The Backup & Restore Guide [PDF] The Backup & Restore Guide [PDF] Disasters happen. Unless you're OK with losing all of your data, you need a good backup system. If you know this but haven't got around to setting up backup on your PC, this is the... Read More instead.

Every browser has the ability to export your bookmarks to an HTML file. You can then import this HTML file into another browser later. (This is also useful if you’re switching between browsers.)

  • Chrome: Open the menu, point to Bookmarks, and select Bookmark manager. Click the Organize menu and use the Export option.
  • Firefox: Open the Firefox menu and click Bookmarks. Click the Import and Backup menu and select Export.
  • Internet Explorer: Click the star icon to open the bookmarks panel. Click the arrow to the right of Add to Favorites and select Import and export.
  • Opera: Open the menu and select Settings > Import and Export > Export Opera Bookmarks.
  • Safari: Click the File menu and select Export Bookmarks.

Store this file somewhere safe, just in case you ever need to recover your bookmarks. You may want to do this regularly to create regular backups of your bookmarks.

manage lots bookmarks

Use Social-Bookmarking Services

Social-bookmarking services Import & Search Your Social Network Links in Delicious Import & Search Your Social Network Links in Delicious Have you ever wanted to find that one link you posted on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, but couldn’t seem to find it anywhere?! It’s frustrating. You might say "well, bookmark it!" And that’s good... Read More like the popular [NO LONGER WORKS] Delicious and lesser-known Diigo allow you to share your bookmarks with your friends and discover other websites that may be interesting to you. If you’ve built up quite a collection, try using a social-bookmarking service to share it with others.

Use Icon-Only Bookmarks

If you have a large amount of bookmarks and like using your browser’s bookmarks toolbar for easy access to these bookmarks, try using icon-only bookmarks. This will give you one-click access to the largest amount of possible bookmarks at the same time. As long as the bookmarks have distinctive favicons (web page icons), they should still be recognizable.

Firefox has some extensions that can do this for you, although users report crashes and other problems with them. However, you can do this in any browser. For example, in Chrome, right-click each bookmark, select Edit, and erase each bookmark’s name. You can still see where a bookmark goes by mousing-over it.

bookmark manager

For easier access to larger collections of bookmarks, try placing them into folders and putting the bookmarks folders directly on your bookmarks bar.

Organize and Tag Your Bookmarks

Organizing your bookmarks into hierarchical folders can give you easy access to them. For example, you could have all your music-related bookmarks under Media->Music. This would save you from having to scroll through long lists to get at the bookmarks you care about. There’s no limit to how deep you can make these bookmark folders, so you can have very fine-grained categorization. Want to put all your bluegrass music video bookmarks under Media->Music->Music Videos->Bluegrass? Go ahead!

If you’re using Firefox, you can also use tags instead of (or in addition to) hierarchical folders. Assign tags by clicking the star icon a second time while creating a bookmark or use the bookmarks library to enter tags for many bookmarks at a time.

bookmark manager

Tags are useful because each bookmark can have multiple tags. This allows you to place bookmarks into multiple different categories, making it easier to dig through your bookmarks and find ones you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, Chrome doesn’t have an integrated bookmarks-tagging feature. if you want to use bookmark tags in Chrome, try using the Le Tags extension — it’s the closest you can get to real bookmark tags in Chrome.

manage many bookmarks

How many bookmarks do you have? Do you have an archive of more than a decade’s worth of bookmarks, or none at all? How do you manage so many bookmarks? Leave a comment and share your strategies!

Image Credit: Documents and computer mouse via Shutterstock

  1. David
    August 4, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Or... try ;)

  2. Gra
    July 12, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Why has nobody brought out a tool that organises bookmarks into some sort of Classification?

    Could be based on similar to library classifcation of books or similar?

    I've got many thousands od bookmarks in many many folders and I've long since given up ven using them!

    I'd love to just let some tool loose on them and then see them all sorted neatly ... it would renew my interest in them again!

    I wouldn't evem mind if the sorting / classification is less than perfect as they are in such a mess currently! ha

  3. Stephane Beladaci
    February 21, 2016 at 6:26 am

    I currently have 35,000+ bookmarks and it is a real challenge. Chrome sync is having a hard time keeping up. Third party services (I tried them all) either do not integrate properly, or try to take over the browsing experience, generally simply too intrusive. Delicious is the closest to a solution based on my experience. The only problem is that their integration with browsers is very poorly developed, and while there are many third party plugins or extensions, those are my biggest nightmare. The truth of the matter is that code written from the kitchen or bathroom of those dudes on the other end of the planet is just an accident waiting to happen. It is precisely what turned Chrome into the old Internet Explorer, and the reason why virtually all browser are staged to kill plugin and extensions entirely.

  4. David Harris
    August 24, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Great article. Also might want to consider using
    I love it ! I can create unlimited pages of bookmarks. Within each page I can create folders and then have unlimited nesting of folders.
    I can search on tags and url.

    The UI is easy. This tool has made my life SO much easier when dealing with years of bookmarks collections

  5. Clip MyStuff
    July 20, 2015 at 10:34 am may help to better manage your bookmarks and even see top bookmarks folders created by other users by following them

  6. Nacht
    May 19, 2015 at 4:21 am -- finally an bookmark solution that actually works (for me). Organize your favorite websites in a way thats best compared with the Trello taskscheduling board. You can create several boards- and decide to keep it private, or share with others.

    Check out my main (work in progres)

  7. Justin Goldberg
    May 3, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Why would you delete bookmarks if they are likely to still exist in the web archive?

    I use transmute as my bookmark sync tool. It can keep firefox, chrome, and ie bookmarks all in sync locally.

  8. Jon
    May 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Thanks for this very interesting and helpful article. Xmarks sounds very useful. However to make a general comment, it always surprises me that the basic concepts used in the major PC operating systems have hardly developed since the early 1990s. We have 3 more or less independent information clumps inside our boxes: files in folders, emails in their own structure of folders and favourites/bookmarks in their own system of folders.

    This is pathetic. We should be able to create a single structure of our own making that can have a hierarchy into which all objects, of any sort, can be put. An associative means of finding things would also be a serious blessing.

    I use a PC a lot, and have been doing so since they first came out. The overhead of lumbering on with what the box makes provide introduces a significant overhead in my work, with time spent finding, re-finding and sometimes mis-cataloging being part of this overhead. Please people, rail on about this, spread the word, and get the software people on to this. Thanks for reading this!

  9. Fik of Borg
    April 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    There are a lot of bookmark-related extensions out there. Alphabetical sort, delete duplicates and deadlinks, refresh favicons, sync, etc., but none do what I want.
    What I want is an extension that sort bookmarks by a most recently accessed first. It should't be difficult, just detect somehow when a bookmark is clicked, increment some associated tag and automatically or on-demand sort by that tag (or move it to the top of its folder when clicked). It also should support some kind of "do not sort this folder" setting.
    I'm tempted to learn how to write chorme extensions to do this.

  10. Nevzat Akkaya
    February 27, 2013 at 7:21 am

    This article seems to written for me. How did I miss it? Thanks Chris.

  11. Johan
    January 9, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    You cannot use am-deadlink for firefox bookmarks.. it wont delete those.

  12. Paul Girardin
    December 21, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Multiple computers and OS in the last years, a pain to sync until I saw your article!

    I will start this process after the Holidays!

    Thanks for sharing

  13. jazi g
    December 20, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I have hundreds of bookmarks, going through them is a long process. Found lots of interesting things I had forgotten though!

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      December 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Yeah. It's interesting to rediscover what I was interested to in the past.

  14. Mac Witty
    December 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Maybe a solution. Up to now I have saved bookmarks from 3 computers as HTML files once a year or so in a folder. Go there when I need something "old" Do never import bookmarks on new or reinstalled computers - use the html file for a while to see what bookmarks I need.

  15. Chew Jian Yue
    December 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    It can be better if there is an application for linux (ubuntu) and Chrome.

  16. Âdil Farôôq
    December 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    great information i have about more than 30 Bookmarks

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      December 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      30 is tame. I've like, 300 even with regular maintenance.

    • Siddhant Saraf
      March 16, 2015 at 5:21 am

      I've got like 17000 bookmakrs :p Yes, 17 thousand.

  17. salim benhouhou
    December 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    thank you Chris for this full guide

  18. Alexander
    December 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Great informative guide :)

  19. Jorge Andrade
    December 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    for me it is like 5 years of bookmarks, going to give this a try

  20. Noman Fayez
    December 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    good topics for those who do not aware of this... every time they install windows... lost the bookmarks as well

  21. Rahul
    December 20, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I initially used to tag my bookmarks, but later on seem to have lost the habit. Now its a big pain to individually tag them. I am using pinboard service to keep bookmarks alltogether from various services i use - twitter, pocket, firefox and google reader.

  22. ZoNi
    December 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Regarding backup of bookmarks from Firefox --- I always prefer to use option "Backup" to .json file (and use "Export as HTML" just as backup of a backup :) ).

  23. Junil Maharjan
    December 20, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I have done couple of things mentioned here and will be doing the others as well. got lots of work ahead then.

  24. Graham Richardson
    December 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    This has certainly reminded me to spend some time to sort mine out. I am sure I am not the only person to have multiple sets of book marks across various platforms and different browsers and then another different set at work. None of it synced or anything like that.

    Having said that I seem to manage perfectly well with a combination of the bookmarks and Google Search so maybe I dont need to spend so much time sorting it all out?

  25. jasray
    December 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Went through the process a couple of weeks ago. I use X-Marks, mostly.

    The biggest problem for me was that over several years copies of copies of copies had been made syncing with X-Marks which meant loads of unnecessary information.

    Now much faster. It was all completed manually via the X-Marks main page. Quick, efficient.

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