How-To Geek

What You Said: How You Sync and Organize Your Bookmarks

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Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite techniques for synchronizing and organizing your browser bookmarks. Now we’re back to highlight the most popular techniques, tricks, and services.

By far and away, Xmarks was the most frequently mentioned service. For the unfamiliar, Xmarks is a bookmark syncing service that is packed with features. Not only does Xmarks sync bookmarks between browsers and/or computers it also supports iOS, Android, and BlackBerry (mobile integration requires an upgrade to the premium account). In addition to syncing the bookmarks it also integrates with your search results so you can see how other Xmarks users have ranked sites within your search results. Steve-O-Rama highlights one of the many benefits of Xmarks:

Xmarks seems to do the job for me. I’ve got a handful of machines, each with three or four browsers; over the years, I’ve accumulated thousands of bookmarks, stretching across many areas of interest. Trying to keep them all straight had been quite a struggle until Xmarks came along. I freaked out when the company was acquired by LastPass, but was subsequently relieved when they continued the free service. Xmarks has a very nice web interface to access, export, search, organize, and do many other things with your bookmarks. In this way, even if I’m on the go, I can access every bookmark I’ve made. Even so, I still make occasional local backups, directly from the browsers to a network folder.

Delicious bookmarks, another veteran of the bookmark syncing services, had a fair number of supporters among the HTG readership.

Evan highlights how you can use multiple services together for a comprehensive organization and backup plan:

About 85% of my bookmarks go into Pinboard. The other 15% are things I frequently use and are organised into folders for quick access. I wrote a little program that will merge the JSON export from Firefox, and the XML export from Pinboard (or Delicious) into a new JSON file I can import back into FF, which I run every now and again to pull all my Pinboard books back local. (One year when I have copious amounts of spare time I’ll write an extension to do this easily.)

I use Xmarks to painlessly synchronisation between Firefox and Chrome on my various machines and operating systems. (And the app to make them available on my phone.)

Many readers skipped using dedicated bookmark syncing services and either stuck with basic organization in the browser or combined that with the built-in syncing offered by browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome.


Aaron highlights his Favicon-only approach to organizing simple bookmarks:

In Firefox Aurora, I drag the pages I view regularly (CNN, email, Endadget, Google, various forums, Weather Underground, etc.) [to the bookmark toolbar]. I remove the text title so I’m left with just the Favicon. This makes way for a bunch of links that I can immediately recognize. There is also a Firefox add-on that does it for you!

Vale was one of the many readers who were quite happy using the built-in browser sync features:

I only use Chrome, so the built-in sync works perfectly for me. All my bookmarks are on the bookmarks bar, divided in exactly 15 folders:

– Vale (forums/blogs/sites I visit every day)
– Mail (including gmail but also gcalendar, gdocs etc)
– Fic(fan fiction sites)
– News(news sites)  […]

Works extremely well for me.

Have a tip, trick, or bookmarking service to share? It’s not to late to join the conversation; hit up the original Ask the Readers post to check out more reader comments and add your own input.

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/11/11

Comments (15)

  1. hotnikkelz

    I use google bookmarks to store all my bookmarks in the cloud. My mainly used ones, which I don’t really add to or change i keep in my browser toolbar, irregardless of what browser it is.

  2. zeepkist

    i wish, i wish that it would become possible in firfox to export just 1 folder of 10 or so bookmarks to a friend.
    at the moment you can only export the whole lot of them and i have around 1500.
    don’t want to do that to a friend, now do you.

  3. nt0xik8ed

    i can never get my posts to show up in here anymore but i said xmarks when asked

  4. Bashar

    I would recommend Google bookmark and using chrome, any device support chrome can easily benefit from this feature (syncing bookmarks)

  5. T.A.

    @zeepkist You can create a “list” of bookmarks in Google Bookmarks and send that to your friend.

  6. zeepkist

    thank you for the tip.

  7. Johan

    The best bookmark tool I know is Wonderpage. See: You have all your bookmarks visible on pages and in categories. Whatever computer you use, as long as it has internet access all you bookmarks are always there. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderpage.

  8. Jeremiah

    I use Windows Live Mesh. It syncs your Internet Explorer bookmarks/favorites and any Office settings you have. Trouble is, doesn’t work with FF. I have to use IE at work, and use both IE and FF at home. I may have to look into this xmarks.

  9. Dark Reality

    I never saw a need for Xmarks, though I did just come from their site, so I read all their features and I know what they’re about. Sounds neat, but I decided against joining.

    I also held out against joining LastPass as well, but I wish I’d done that sooner. (Maybe I’d feel the same about Xmarks?) Still, LastPass sort of gives me access to all my bookmarks. All the ones where I can login to a site, anyway. Logging into Google gets me Gmail, Google News, and other Google services. I actually have a Weather Underground account, so I can get to that as well. For sites like How-to Geek and Lifehacker where you can’t make an account, well, I can just remember those URLs or I can get to them via Facebook or even by Googling their names. Not hard.

    I’ve been online since 1994, and I’ve collected a lot of bookmarks, but I’ve started over quite a few times, too. There’s nothing like a fresh start. You don’t want to delete individual stuff, it’s hard to say goodbye to them, but when you wipe out everything, you find the links you really want by what you go to the trouble to bookmark again. :)

  10. rajaspidey

    i too use xmarks?! I use it to sync firefox & internet explorer & then internet explorer to my ipad 2 as iPad supports only safari & internet explorer!! Firefox sucks as it always shows me error!! but the best browser i use on my Laptop & on mobile for 2G network browsing!!

  11. StevenTorrey

    I used Yahoo Bookmarks. Worked. Than it stopped working, won’t save anything to bookmarks. It’s moderately helpful for quick access to on-lline calculators. So anyone who has a tip on getting it re-started would be helpful.

  12. Michael

    Full disclaimer, I’m a computer newb. I’ve tried Xmarks because I prefer Firefox for regular life, chrome for all things google, and have to use IE for work. It seems to work well for syncing firefox and chrome, but I always get errors trying to get IE to work with it all. I pretty much end up having to open up firefox and cleaning up all the bookmarks…uploading and overwriting the xmarks data…switch to chrome to download and overwrite the data there, then doing the same with IE. It gets so time consuming it seems almost pointless. Any suggestions on how to do this better?

    Thanks in advance.


  13. JoseCarioca

    For those of us that use Firefox as our browser and to store bookmarks it is expressely indicated by Firefox support and forums gurus not to use Xmarks cause it is not supported by Firefoz and there are known conflicts and issues that might produce the loss of some or all of your FF bookmarks.

  14. nixdagibts

    Im using transmute portable.

  15. scouser73

    I use sync mine with Google and also have them backed up to my sugarsync account as an extra method.

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