How-To Geek

How to Easily Back Up and Migrate Your Browser Bookmarks

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Most of our browser data isn’t too important—cookies expire, and histories eventually get cleared. Bookmarks are different, though, which is why browsers allow you to import and export your bookmarks—ideal for creating backups and migrating between browsers.

Most browsers can export your bookmarks to an HTML file. Some do it natively, while others require an add-on, extension, or a third-party program. Most browsers can also import these HTML files, so you can use this trick to move bookmarks among the browsers you use. We’ll show you how to export bookmarks to an HTML file and import bookmarks from an HTML file in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, and Opera.

Google Chrome

To import or export bookmarks in Chrome, click the Chrome menu icon at the top-right corner of your browser window, and go to Bookmarks > Bookmark manager. You can also quickly open the Bookmark manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+O.

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The Bookmark Manager opens on a new tab. Click “Organize” and select “Export bookmarks to HTML file”. (If you’re importing from an HTML file you already have, choose “Import bookmarks from HTML File.)

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On the Save As dialog box, Chrome will automatically give the HTML file a name containing the current date. Navigate to where you want to save this file and change the file name if you want. Since we’re going to be exporting bookmarks from different browsers, we added the name of the browser to the file name. Click “Save”.

NOTE: In the image below, the Save as type is Firefox HTML Document because we have that set as the default app for HTML files. The exported HTML file can be opened in any browser.

If you’re importing an HTML bookmarks file, select the HTML file on the Open dialog box that displays.

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Bookmarks imported from an HTML file are put into a folder called Imported.

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To close the Bookmark Manager, click the close (X) button on the tab.

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Mozilla Firefox

To import or export bookmarks in Firefox, press Ctrl+Shift+B to open the Library window. Then, click “Import and Backup” and select “Export Bookmarks to HTML”. (The Backup option will create a .json file, which other browsers can’t open.)

To import bookmarks from an HTML file you exported from Firefox or any other browser, select the Import Bookmarks from HTML option here.

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When exporting bookmarks, Firefox names the backup file “bookmarks.html” by default. You may want to change the File name and add more information, such as the date and the browser name.

If you’re importing an HTML bookmarks file, select the HTML file on the Import Bookmarks File dialog box that displays.

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Bookmarks imported from an HTML file are added to the Bookmarks Menu. If you want to put them on the Bookmarks bar, drag and drop them from the Bookmarks Menu to the Bookmarks Toolbar in the tree structure on the left.

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Click the “X” in the upper-right corner of the Library window to close it.

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Internet Explorer

To import or export bookmarks in Internet Explorer, click the star-shaped favorites icon.

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Click the arrow on the right side of the “Add to favorites” button.

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Then, select “Import and Export” from the drop-down menu.

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On the first screen of the Import/Export Settings dialog box, select the “Export to a file” option (or select the “Import from a file” option if you’re importing bookmarks from an HTML file) and click “Next”.

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Whether your exporting or importing bookmarks, check the “Favorites” box and click “Next”.

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If you’re exporting bookmarks, select the favorites you want to export—to export all your favorites, select the Favorites folder at the top. (It’s selected by default.) Then, click “Next”.

If you’re importing bookmarks, this screen displays later in the procedure.

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When exporting bookmarks, the HTML file is named bookmark.htm by default and will be saved to the Documents folder. However, we want to change the file name and save it to a different location, so, we click “Browse”.

If you’re importing bookmarks, click “Browse” to select the HTML file to import.

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If you’re exporting bookmarks to an HTML file, the Select Bookmark File dialog box displays. Navigate to where you want to save the HTML file and change the File name, if you want. We added the date and the browser name to our HTML file name. Click “Save”.

If you’re importing an HTML bookmarks file, select the HTML file on the Select Bookmark File dialog box that displays and click “Open”.

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If you’re exporting bookmarks, even though you clicked “Save” on the Select Bookmark File dialog box, you must click “Export” on the Import/Export Settings dialog box to finish exporting the HTML file.

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If you’re importing bookmarks, the following screen now displays on the Import/Export Settings dialog box. Select the folder into which you want to import the bookmarks. To place the bookmarks on the Favorites bar, select the Favorites Bar folder in the tree here. Then, click “Import”.

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Click “Finish” to close the Import/Export Settings dialog box.

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Microsoft Edge

There is no built-in method of exporting bookmarks to an HTML file in Microsoft Edge. However, Edge does have a built-in feature that allows you to import bookmarks directly from Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. If you want to back them up to an HTML file, there is a free third-party tool called Edge Manage that can do so. Let’s start with the built-in feature first.

Click the Hub button on the toolbar in the upper-right corner of the browser window.

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The hub pane slides out from the right. Click the star icon on the toolbar at the top of the pane to display the Favorites, if they’re not already showing. Then, click the “Settings” link.

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In the Import favorites section, select the browsers from which you want to import bookmarks and click “Import”.

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Depending on how many bookmarks you are importing, the process most likely happens quickly and you’ll see an “All done!” message below the Import button.

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To get back to the Favorites list, click the Hub button once to close the right pane and again to re-open it. Your imported bookmarks are put into “Imported from…” folders and are not available on the Favorites Bar. To add an imported bookmark to the Favorites Bar, simply drag and drop it from one of the Imported folders to the Favorites Bar folder.

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Now, we’ll show you how to export bookmarks to an HTML file and import bookmarks from an HTML file using Edge Manage. Download Edge Manage and make sure Edge is closed before installing and running Edge Manage.

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Select a folder of Favorites to export. Selecting the Top folder (the default selection) will select all the Favorites in all subfolders, including the Favorites Bar.

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To export bookmarks to an HTML file, go to Data > Export to HTML file.

To import bookmarks from an HTML file you exported from Microsoft Edge or any other browser, go to Data > Import from HTML file.

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If you’re exporting bookmarks to an HTML file, the Save As dialog box displays. Navigate to where you want to save the HTML file. By default, the File name is bookmark.htm but you can change this, if you want. Like we’ve been doing, we added the browser name and the date to the file name. Click “Save”.

If you’re importing an HTML bookmarks file, select the HTML file on the Open dialog box that displays and click “Open”.

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A dialog box displays when the export (or import) is complete. Click “OK” to close it.

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Imported bookmarks are put in the Top folder, but you can drag and drop them to any other folder.

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If you’ve imported or rearranged bookmarks, you need to save your changes. To do this, go to File > Save Changes and then click “OK” on the Success dialog box that displays.

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Close Edge Manage either by going to File > Exit or by clicking the “X” in the upper-right corner of the window.

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Edge Manage has many other features for managing your favorites, such as viewing all your favorites and folders in a graphical tree, move favorites and folders around with drag-and-drop, renaming favorites and folders, and importing favorites from an HTML bookmarks file, just like you just exported. See their website for additional features and descriptions of the options available in the program.

Opera

Opera does not have a built-in way to export bookmarks into an HTML file. However, there is an add-on available on the official Opera add-ons website, called Bookmarks Import & Export. Visit the webpage for the add-on and click “Add to Opera”.

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A button for the add-on is added to the toolbar to the right of the address box. Normally, you would click this button to open the add-on. However, when you first install the add-on, it opens on a new tab automatically.

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To export your Opera bookmarks, click “Export” on the Bookmarks Import & Export add-on tab.

To import bookmarks from an HTML file you exported from Opera or any other browser, click the “Choose File” button to select an HTML file to import on the Open dialog box, and then click the “Import” button.

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When exporting your bookmarks to an HTML file, the Save As dialog box displays after clicking Export. Navigate to where you want to save the HTML file. By default, the File name is Bookmarks.html, but you can change the name, adding information such as the date and the browser name. Click “Save”.

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A popup displays when the download of the exported bookmarks is complete and the number of bookmarks saved displays below the Import/Export box.

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To close the Bookmarks Import & Export add-on, click the “X” on the right side of the tab.

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If you’ve imported bookmarks, they are put into a folder called Imported bookmarks. (You can manage your bookmarks by clicking on the Opera Menu and going to Bookmarks > Show all bookmarks.)

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Store the HTML bookmark file in a safe place if you are using it as a backup. While browsers have cloud-syncing solutions that synchronize your favorites between a computers, most browsers don’t have a “roll back” option. If you accidentally delete bookmarks on one computer or the sync service makes a mistake, you could lose your bookmarks. A backup HTML file will allow you to get them back.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.


Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 12/2/16

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