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How to Easily Back Up and Migrate Your Browser Bookmarks

chrome firefox bookmarks

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

All browsers can export your bookmarks to an HTML file. All browsers can also import these HTML files, so you can use this trick to move browsers between Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and any other browser.

Google Chrome

Click the Chrome menu icon at the top-right corner of your browser window, point to Bookmarks, and select Bookmark manager. (You can also quickly open the Bookmark manager by pressing Ctrl+Shift+O.)

chrome-open-bookmark-manager

Click the Organize menu and select Export bookmarks to HTML file. (To import your bookmarks later, select the Import bookmarks from HTML file option.)

chrome-export-bookmarks-to-html-file

Chrome will give the HTML file a name containing the current date.

Mozilla Firefox

Click the Firefox menu, point to Bookmarks, and select Show All Bookmarks. (You can also press Ctrl+Shift+B to quickly open the bookmarks library window.)

firefox-show-all-bookmarks

Click the Import and Backup menu and select Export Bookmarks to HTML. (The Backup option will create a .json file, which other browsers can’t open.) Use the Import Bookmarks from HTML option here to import bookmarks in the future.

export-firefox-bookmarks-to-html

Firefox will give the backup file a name of “bookmarks.html” by default. You may want to change the file name and add more information, such as the date.

Internet Explorer

Click the star-shaped favorites icon, click the little arrow to the right of Add to favorites, and select Import and Export.

internet-explorer-import-and-export-bookmarks

Select the Export to a file option and click Next.

internet-explorer-export-to-a-file

Check the Favorites checkbox and click Next.

export-ie-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.)

select-ie-favorites-to-export

Provide a name for the file. It’s named bookmark.htm by default, but you may want to name it something like bookmarks_date.html. Click Export and IE will create a backup file.

export-ie-bookmarks[4]

Opera

Click the Opera menu, point to Bookmarks, and select Manage Bookmarks. (You can also press Ctrl+Shit+B instead.)

opera-manage-bookmarks

Click the File menu and select Export as HTML. (The Export Opera Bookmarks option exports the bookmarks as a .adr file, which other browsers can’t open.)

export-opera-bookmarks-as-html

Enter a name such as bookmarks_date.html, replacing date with the current date.


Store the file some place safe 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+.

  • Published 02/4/13

Comments (22)

  1. duhr

    The whole article could be replaced with one word: Xmarks. :) … Okay, it does not work for Opera unfortunately.

  2. dmachop

    Nice one! How to backup/restore the firefox history with custom server options would be a good article…….

  3. franzD

    I used to manually manage a master list of bookmarks across multiple browsers and multiple OSs but there were always issues with formatting glitches. Xmarks solved this though I do keep the master file on gmail.

  4. michel

    Internet Explorer does a poor job of importing bookmarks. The list is always truncated. This problem has persisted for years.

  5. Al Pope

    With Mozilla I use a program called Mozilla backup

  6. cam2644

    I use Firefox on various machines and find their sync system works well.

  7. Richard Steven Hack

    I just periodically back up the entire Firefox profile somewhere else on the hard drive. Which reminds me, I haven’t done that lately! Off to take care of that! :-) (Of course, my nightly backup to an external USB drive does that, as well, but I like having another copy of the profile, too.)

  8. Balachandran

    Chrome has an issue- if you remove the name of the bookmark (during addition) to save real-estate on the bookmark bar then during export few of the bookmarks will be missing.

  9. CHD

    Nice article. Just a suggestion for some users, Xmarks doesn’t work well for Chrome and it will be good to backup your bookmarks even you use whatever sync.

  10. XVSE

    Kids always arguing on something, we told them A but they said B. They can’t just read, they always have something in their mind to spit out. My advise, don’t be how-to-dumb okay, just read and swallow it.

  11. ancient1one

    Helpful post.. Thanks

  12. Linder

    With Opera (v.12.13) You need to click the File Menu then Import and Export and then Export Bookmarks as HTML .

  13. Noel

    Mozilla have a great little program called mozbackup that backs up everythig including settings, bookmarks etc. it also backs up Thunderbird, contacts saved emails etc, it also has a restore feature. I have been using it for about 10 years and it has saved me a couple of times.

  14. milkshake 123456

    Why

  15. milkshake 123456

    K

  16. bubbatie 2

    Hi!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. bubbatie 2

    Sunny dumy

  18. minecraft 123

    What

  19. minecraft 123

    Dancing butt cracks in the sky

  20. LOL 123456

    Crapy

  21. Bob

    I use Xmarks – it is outstanding. Have used it early on when it was called foxmarks (I believe). I also use their product called Last Pass for password management – using the premium edition which costs a paltry $1 per month – signed up for 24 months – love the fact that all PW’s are in one place secure.

    Also really like the ‘virtual keyboard’ so I don’t have to be concerned about a key logger when I may log in to last Pass on a computer I do not trust – which are all computers but my own.

    May sound like an advert – but it is my experience.

  22. FJMcNasty

    A) Who let the kids out of their cage?

    B) The second line of the Opera section includes a fascinating keyboard shortcut. I must try that some time.

    C) Thanks for the article.

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