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Sync Your Google Chrome Bookmarks, Theme, and More

Do you regularly use Google Chrome on multiple computers?  Here’s how you can keep almost everything in your browser synced easily in Google Chrome.

Google Chrome offers a very simple way to keep your bookmarks, settings, theme, and more synced between different computers running Chrome.  This can help you keep the same browsing experience on your desktop, laptop, and work computer, or even between your Windows, Linux, or Mac OS machines.  All you need is a Google account, such as your Gmail, and the Chrome browser installed on multiple computers.  Here’s how to set it up.

Setup Sync in Google Chrome

To get started, click the wrench button in Chrome and click Set up sync.

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Alternately, click Options, and then select the Personal Stuff tab in the Options window, and the select Set up sync.  Note that this is the only way to open it in the new Chrome 6 dev release.

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Now, enter your Google account and password in the popup, and click Sign in.

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After a few moments, you’ll see a confirmation that your browser is now synced with the cloud.  Now, if you want to have your bookmarks and more sync with Chrome on another computer, repeat the above steps on that computer, and the bookmarks and theme from the first computer will be merged with Chrome on the second.  You can sync as many computers as you like this way.

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Change Sync Settings

If you’d rather only sync some things from Chrome, such as your Bookmarks, click the Synced entry in wrench menu or open the Options dialog as above.

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Click the Customize button to choose your settings.

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If you’re running the default release version of Chrome, you can currently choose to sync your Bookmarks, Preferences, and Themes.  Uncheck any items you don’t want to sync, and then click Ok.

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If you’re running the Chrome 6 dev version, you’ll have more synchronization options, including the ability to sync form data and extensions.  You can switch to the dev version of Chrome if you like; check out our tutorial on Switching Between Release, Beta, and Dev versions of Chrome.

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If you’ve chosen to sync themes, Chrome will inform you when a new theme is installed via sync.  If you don’t want to keep the synced theme, click Undo to revert to your default or previous theme.

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Turn Off Chrome Syncing

If you want to stop Chrome from syncing with your other browsers, open the Options tab as before and select

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Click the Stop syncing button on the popup, and now Chrome will stop updating your changes with the cloud.  Note that you will need to turn of syncing on all computers you’ve setup to sync.

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Access Your Chrome Bookmarks From Any Browser

Syncing your bookmarks and more keeps your browsing experience consistent across your computers and operating systems.  But, what if you’re browsing from a friend’s computer or a public computer?  Actually, Chrome syncing will still help you stay productive.

When Chrome syncs your bookmarks between browsers, it also saves them to your Google Docs account.  Once you’ve setup bookmark syncing in Chrome, login to your Google Docs account.  Select the Google Chrome folder to see your bookmarks.

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Now you can browse your bookmarks and even organize them by folders.  If you wish to open a bookmark, simply click the

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Sometimes, Google Docs doesn’t seem to redirect to the bookmark correctly.  If you receive a 404 error, go back to Google Docs and right-click on the bookmark you want to open.  Click Show Details to see the actual address.

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You can preview the page in the Details page from Google Docs, or click Open to open the site directly.

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Or, if you’d like to download all of your bookmarks, select the folder, click More actions, and select Export.

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Click the download link in the box, and Google Docs will save all your bookmarks in an HTML file and let you download it as a zip file.  Once it’s downloaded, you can unzip the HTML file and then look at your bookmarks or import them into another browser.

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Conclusion

Whether you regularly use Chrome on multiple computers or on multiple OSs installed on the same computer, Chrome Sync makes it easy to keep your browsing experience consistent everywhere.  Since you can also access your synced Chrome bookmarks anywhere with Google Docs, it’s a great idea to sync your bookmarks even if you only use Chrome on one computer.  We’d love to see tabs sync so we could open tabs on one computer and continue using them on another, but perhaps we’ll get this later in a future release.

Links

Download Google Chrome

Access Your Google Docs Account

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 07/12/10

Comments (17)

  1. SquareWheel

    “editor’s note: insert link to article on switching Chrome channel”

    Last I checked, they got rid of their channel changer tool. I don’t know if you’re able to install a different build on top of a current one or if you should uninstall first, though.

  2. Matthew Guay

    @SquareWheel – Yes, the tool no longer works, but there are still ways to switch channels. We’ve got an upcoming article on it, so hold tight and we’ll update the article with the info :)

  3. SP

    Is there a way to delete synced bookmarks? Deleting a bookmark the usual way (bookmarks manager) does not seem to permanently delete it. Next time you restart Chrome it gets synced from the google docs folder including the one you just deleted!! Bookmarks folder under google docs itself looks to be “read only”. Thanks for all the tips…

  4. Matthew Guay

    @SP – It has always deleted bookmarks from Google Docs when I delete them from the Bookmarks bar in my experience. Not sure, but perhaps your syncing is having a problem I haven’t experienced…

  5. RandyN

    While the Chrome sync feature is great in theory, in practice it doesn’t work well. As I move from one computer to another I often end up with multiple (2, 3, or 4) duplicates of the same bookmarks or missing bookmarks.

    Personally, I don’t trust it yet and use Xmarks instead.

  6. Roi

    @RandyN
    I sync my bookmarks on 3 computers and never had duplicates. Maybe something is going wrong when you sync?

  7. Bob Fichtner

    So – is there anyway to do this if access to Google Docs has been denied by IT?

  8. Andy C

    Sync works fine if all PC’s are on at the same time, but fire up sync on chrome that hasn’t been used in a while and any reorg of bookmarks you have done on frequent use machines has all the old crap added back to them. There has to be a way of preventing this when enabling sync, because having to delete all bookmarks and then re-sync them isn’t really user friendly :) If it time stamps the changes on Google Docs, then surely it should replicate this across browsers?

  9. Ken R

    I set up two computers to sync (everything) and nothing happened? I got the affirmative statement from Chrome that the browsers were set to sync, but nothing changed on either computer. Did I miss a step?

  10. Samantha

    Hi,
    I followed everything you said, but, when i went to access my bookmarks from docs it said the folder was empty.
    Also do you know if you can still sync to another computer while using the incognito window ?
    Many Thanks

  11. hazel

    Hi,
    I looked up my google docs page but can’t find the google chrome bookmark folder? Has google stopped this feature?

    Thanks

  12. Zakir

    My question is same as Hazel has quoted. Can anyone help?

  13. VIVIDH

    Hi,
    I am also having the same problem. I did ever step and Google chrome also showed that it is synced to my Google account. But I can’t access them on Google Docs. There is no folder with the name of “Google Chrome”.
    Please tell me where I am wrong. I desperately need this sync feature to work.

    Thanks,
    vividh.

  14. Jasnz

    Chrome Sync hardly ever works properly for me. I just checked and mine last synced a week ago. Setup went through fine, but it just doesn’t appear to work.

    Install Xmarks and sync is instant and reliable, so why can’t Google get this right?

  15. Robin

    Like VIVIDH I too get nothing added to my Google Docs. Has it changed?

    Robin

  16. chunkynutz

    This out of date and redundant information now. You can not access sync info any longer

  17. bzero

    It just does not sync at all… Also tried to remove all bookmarks while sync was stopped, then enabled sync again. nothing.

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