2018 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2018-11-19

Don's Freeware Corner notes are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG) Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page at  where there may be corrections, updates, and additions.


CHROME is the most used browser on Windows computers; others include Firefox, Opera, Edge, Internet Explorer, and Safari. A Wikipedia article gives statistics, but these change and results can be measured differently -- . A good review article of browsers is . This Freeware Corner article is about the bookmarks that all browsers allow, but I will concentrate on Chrome.


Bookmarks are icons you create and place on your Bookmarks Toolbar (near the top of your browser). When you are at a webpage that you want to return to later, make a bookmark of it on your browser by just dragging the small icon from in front of the address of the webpage in your browser onto your Bookmarks toolbar. These are like icons on your desktop, but you only see them when your browser is open. Icons on your desktop can be formed the same way by just dragging the icon to your desktop. For desktop icons clicking will open the browser you used to form it and take you to that website. Your Bookmarks toolbar on each browser will have the bookmarks you have saved on that browser, so each browser on your computer will probably have a different collection of bookmarks. There are programs that synchronize bookmarks between browsers, and even between computers, but if you usually only use only one browser, you don't need such a program. Such programs may also have other properties such as checking to be sure it is a valid bookmark, organizing them, and cleaning up your bookmarks toolbar. Some browsers allow you to import the bookmarks from another browser on that computer.


As you save more and more bookmarks, you will have more than will fit on the Bookmarks toolbar and you will probably want to edit them. Do this by right-clicking on a bookmark and you see options such as Open, Edit, Cut (delete), etc. I usually edit bookmarks so their names are shorter so they take up less space on my Bookmarks toolbar. Bookmarks on the toolbar can be moved by just clicking and dragging them. The right-click options also include ways to organize your icons such as adding a folder to put them in. It also is a way to go to the Bookmarks Manager which we will discuss below.


For websites you want to use regularly, you can click and drag their bookmarks to the left end of the Bookmarks toolbar so they are easy to see and use. When you no longer need them regularly, move others into those easy-to-use places. As you put more and more bookmarks on your toolbar, it gets filled up to the right and eventually they get pushed off the right end. Then, in Chrome, you see two small right-pointing chevrons at the right end of your toolbar and clicking there opens the rest of your list, all in the order they were on the toolbar. Eventually you will have more bookmarks than you can keep track of conveniently and you will want to organize them. One way to organize them is to sort them alphabetically. In Chrome you do this by going to the Bookmarks Manager, either by right-clicking on a bookmark or by clicking on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of your browser (above the two right-pointing chevrons), hovering your cursor over the word Bookmarks in this menu, and clicking on Bookmarks Manager. This opens two columns, one with folders containing bookmarks, if there are any, and the other with the bookmarks in whichever folder is open. Folder icons are small manila folders. You can also get to this same Bookmarks Manager screen by clicking CTRL-SHIFT-O from anywhere in Chrome. Other browsers have similar bookmark managers. In Chrome this screen has a wide bar at the top labelled BOOKMARKS. It contains a SEARCH box which allows you to search for any terms or words in a bookmark title. At the right end of this wide bar is a vertical 3-dot icon that contains a menu of options, the top one of which is Sort by Name. This sorts all the bookmarks in the open folder alphabetically. Other options on the 3-dot menu are Add a New Folder and Import or Export Bookmarks. Adding folders makes it so you can keep various categories of bookmarks together. On my computers I have bookmark folders labelled Genealogy, Internet, Computers, Searchers, People Searchers, Math, and others, and they are all nested in a folder called Categories. You can drag and drop bookmarks or folders into another folder to organize them the way you want. These folders can be moved around like individual bookmarks and they can be nested as deeply as you want, but just one or two levels will usually be sufficient. Running the Sort by Name option puts the folders at the beginning, followed by the bookmarks not in folders, all in alphabetical order. To have particular icons always be near the left end of the bookmarks toolbar when you alphabetize them, one way is to put all the folders inside another folder, so there is only one "outside" folder. Then name the other icons you want near the beginning using numbers before the name such as 1-[name], 2-[name], 3-[name], etc. Then, when they are sorted, the Categories folder is first, followed by the other icons in the order you wanted.   On my desktop computer there is only room for about 8 or 9 icons on the Bookmark toolbar, so the rest are in the "double chevron" menu at the right end. I have many bookmarks and frequently find that I have saved duplicates, so when sorted, these sort next to each other and I can eliminate the duplicates.  I put 01- and 02- on my Gmail and my Google Contacts list so they are always near the left end to get to easily.


On the 3-vertical-dots icon on Chrome Bookmarks Manager are the Export and Import options. Export allows you to export all your bookmarks into a single html file which is the kind of file that browsers need. Then, exporting your bookmarks, you can transfer this file to another browser by Importing it. To transfer your collection to another computer you can use a program like Dropbox or just copy it to a flash drive. The Import operation in Chrome gives you the same format you had on your original Chrome browser. Importing into different browsers, e.g. Firefox, you will get all your bookmarks, but they may not be in folders the way they were set up.  But this does give a way to copy your bookmarks to another browser and/or computer. Some browsers have an option to import all the bookmarks directly from another browser on that same computer.  For example, Firefox will import all Chrome bookmarks directly without having to go through the Export/Import process.  


As you work on the Internet you will undoubtedly find websites that you want to return to and saving these links as bookmarks makes this process very easy. One thing to keep in mind is that about 1/4th of all websites on the Internet change every year, so even though you have the bookmark, it may not work later. I have found that sometimes I can get a current bookmark from an old one by pasting the old one into Google, or another search engine, and see if it takes me to a new website with the information. If there is something you really want to be sure you can get back to, you can save the website itself in, for example, Evernote. Then, no matter how the website is changed or deleted, you will have a copy. ==============================