First published April 2006. Some details may be a bit dated. Update February 2008: hmmm, Google’s so efficient I seldom bother bookmarking anything any more. When I do use bookmarks, I generally do it via Delicious.]
Update October 2010: Between Google, RSS feeds, Twitter and the browser History I’ve stopped using Delicious and seldom need bookmarks at all.
Locating good websites can easily fill many hours. If you’ve invested precious time into finding the best camera review website or that crucial manual for your classic motorcycle then the last thing you want is the intense frustration of looking for it again next week or next month.
Are you still using Internet Explorer for web browsing? It was pretty good in its day, but that day was about 5 years ago and it can’t keep up with modern web pages. It’s time to use a modern browser such as Safari, Firefox, Opera or OmniWeb.
Advice columns will cheerfully tell you to Bookmark a web page, and of course you should, but with dozens or hundreds of bookmarks the list is unwieldy and hard to use. Banish frustration and temper tantrums with some organisation. This article shows you how to manage Safari’s bookmarks, but it’s pretty much the same even if you’re using a different web browser.
Tip: Visit Safari’s File Menu and choose Export Bookmarks … before you start messing about with your Bookmarks. Save the html file in a safe place. If you mess everything up you can import this file again. This is also a good way to back up your Bookmarks.
Show all Bookmarks
First make sure the Bookmarks Bar is visible by visiting the View menu and checking it. You can Show all Bookmarks from the Bookmarks menu, or by clicking the open book icon at the left end of the Bookmarks Bar. Once the Bookmarks window is open select any folder in the Collections list on the left to see all the individual Bookmarks it contains.
Delete and re-order Bookmarks
Delete a bookmark by selecting it and pressing the Delete key on your keyboard. Be careful with this as the bookmark is simply deleted with no additional warnings. If you accidentally delete a bookmark you intended to keep immediately choose
Command Z to restore it. You could also choose Undo from the Edit menu.
Change the order of bookmarks by dragging them around in the list. A bookmark appears to stay where it is until you finish the move by dropping it in its new location. A black line with a circle at the left end shows where the bookmark will go when you drop it.
Tip: you can duplicate a bookmark by holding down a modifier key while dragging. The Option key is the normal choice for this, but the Command key seems to work too.
Work with collections
The Collections list may already have some default folders of bookmarks. If you don’t want the bookmarks Safari came with you can delete a folder by selecting it and pressing the Delete key on your keyboard. The folder (and its contents) is simply deleted with no additional warnings. You can Undo this (see above) if you don’t do anything else in the meantime.
Add a new Collection by pressing the
+ icon below the Collection list. It will appear as an Untitled Folder. Type a suitable name and press the Return key to complete the action.
Drag the new folder within the list to change the sequence of Collection folders. Drag a bookmark from one Collection folder to another to move it.
Find a bookmark
Macguide — now where was that bookmark? In the latest version of Safari (and possibly earlier versions) there’s a search box at the bottom of the Bookmarks window. Click the icon of the magnifying glass to choose whether to search in the currently selected Collection or all Collections. Then type your search term.
It’s a Live Search so each letter you type filters out bookmarks, leaving only possible matches. The column called Parent tells you which Collection contains the bookmark.
Use the Bookmarks Bar
I keep a handful of my most commonly used bookmarks in the Bookmarks Bar. Group related bookmarks into a folder. You’ll see the Bookmarks Bar collection at the top of the Collections list. Seleect the Bookmarks Bar collection and click on the
+ icon below the Bookmarks list to create a new folder.
I check the box in the Autoclick column for my new Astronomy folder so I can call up several pages showing me the night sky with just one click.
Backing up and organising your Bookmarks can save a lot of hair-pulling. Try it and see.
First published in Macguide magazine Issue #26 March / April 2006 and republished with permission. This article may have been modified from the original.