How to Organize Your Firefox Bookmarks

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Samsung Laptop showing firefox download screen with plant and mobile phone

I don’t know about you but bookmarks seem to be a constant uphill battle to keep organized and prevent them from getting cluttered with broken, duplicate or links you no longer need. I have far too many bookmarks to count and I’ve meant to get things under control for a while. But ugh, it’s such a time-consuming task!

Finally, I caved in and decided to make a start on getting things in order. Here’s what I discovered.

The first thing I did was go to my bookmarks window and start looking at the folders to see if I could just move things into sub folders. To my horror my bookmarks menu felt like it had turned into an infinite scrollbar. You could keep scrolling and scrolling and never find the bottom of it. Clearly I had left things too long and got into a bad habit for a while to just hit the star button and be done with it. With the intention of coming back to it later or just in-case I needed it at some point. Only this never happened.

How to organise Firefox Bookmarks - Automatically clean duplicate, broken or redirect links.

I decided to focus on getting rid of bookmarks I no longer needed or wanted. For reference, I started off with 9039 bookmarks!

There was no way this was going to happen without some help. So, being a Firefox user I decided to turn to the addons search. I tried a few different terms like bookmark sort, bookmark organize, bookmark duplicate. There were plenty of results but not many that specifically seemed to be for sorting bookmarks.

I found 2 addons that appeared to do what I wanted – Bookmark Organizer and Bookmark Deduplicator.

Backup your bookmarks before using any bookmark addons!

IMPORTANT: Before carrying out any altering of files using addons you should always backup incase the end result isn’t what you expect. In this instance it means backing up your bookmarks.

To backup your bookmarks do the following:-

1) Press Alt to bring up the top menu bar > ‘Show All Bookmarks’. You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+B

2) At the top of the new window click ‘Import and Backup’ > ‘Backup…’

Firefox bookmarks library screen view

3) Browse to a folder and click ‘Save’ to back up your bookmarks somewhere safe. I chose my desktop because it’s quick, I’m lazy and there’s always some random stuff on my desktop anyways so why not add more?

Right – now that we’re all backed up. We can have fun deleting stuff without worrying it might be lost forever. After all accidents can happen when someone’s being trigger happy with the delete button 😉

You can close any previous screens from the backup process.

Getting Started

I played around a lot with the 2 addons to test and play around with their settings. Neither of these addons are perfect but both add some unique features which will make clearing up your bookmarks a lot easier.

I started off with Bookmark Deduplicator for reasons that will become more clear later. I found the ‘+ Add to Firefox’ button for each addon and clicked Install when prompted.

Add to Firefox green addon button

Firefox bookmarks organizer addon's install prompt screen

Bookmark Deduplicator

First let’s start with Bookmark Deduplicator by Systemcluster (You can download the addon from here).

To access this addon you need to go into the addons screen. You can do this by pressing Alt to bring up the top menu bar and go to ‘Tools’ > ‘Add-ons’ (or you can press Ctrl+Shift+A).

Find the Bookmark Deduplicator and click Options.

Firefox bookmarks organizer addon screen

At the bottom of this screen is a ‘Search’ button. It’s pretty inconspicuous and took me longer than it should have to find it. A nice and easy icon button added to my addon bar that I can just click would have been a lot more user intuitive in my opinion.

Firefox bookmarks organizer addon's download & search screen

Once you click ‘Search’ another window will pop up (yes, that’s a lot of deviantart links, I blame the evil infinite scroll they have on their front page!).

Firefox bookmarks organizer displaying list of duplicate bookmarks found

These are basically a list of all the duplicate links it has found. For me it was pretty much instant to search for these. Unfortunately, it doesn’t give you any statistics or comparisons so you can tell what you are keeping and what you are deleting. Nor any insight as to how it is matching stuff.

Clicking ‘Remove All’ will delete these. For me this resulted in Firefox freezing and the dreaded (Not responding) message to appear. I also got Warning: Unresponsive script pop ups twice which I just clicked ‘Continue’ to ignore. This step took around 5mins to complete on my machine removing 4426 duplicate bookmarks.

Firefox bookmarks organizer popup box of successful duplicate bookmarks removed

Remember how I started off with 9039? That’s 49% of my bookmarks deleted in minutes, just by removing duplicates. Pretty nifty if you ask me. Though how I ended up with so many in the first place I have no idea.

Bookmarks Organizer

Next up I tried the Bookmarks Organizer by Sören Hentzschel (You can download this from here).

Starting this addon was a lot more intuitive as it installs a little icon to your toolbar. Click on the icon to start it up. The user interface within the addon also seems user-friendly with nice clear arrows for where you should start. Also, I must admit I do have a soft spot for this cute little red fox in the corner.

Firefox bookmark organizer addon starting screen with start here arrow

If you click on the box called ‘broken bookmarks’ it gives you 3 options on what to check.

Firefox bookmark organizer search options for broken, duplicates or missing bookmark names

Broken bookmarks checks for links that no longer work.
Duplicates looks for bookmarks with the same url like the previous addon.
Missing bookmark names looks for anything that doesn’t have a name.

Removing Duplicate Bookmarks

I selected ‘Duplicates’ from the list and clicked ‘Check bookmarks…’ The addon found only 1 link that the other addon didn’t. This addon doesn’t have a bulk remove for duplicates which is a huge limitation in my opinion and one of the reasons I used the Bookmark Deduplicator first.

For comparison, I tried searching for duplicates using Bookmarks Organizer on my original 9039 links. By restoring the file I backed up earlier. The process was instant despite the amount of links. It only found 3259 duplicates compared to 4426 though.

It’s worth noting the app is dependant on your internet speed since it has to open each link in your bookmarks. This could potentially be a security risk if you have links that have been infected by viruses. So make sure your antivirus is running and updated beforehand. When I was checking for broken links I did get a blocked link via Avast mid-search so it can happen.

Broken Bookmarks & Redirects

Next I checked the broken bookmarks option and clicked ‘Check bookmarks…’ again to search. This process seems to take much longer at around 15mins for me. It also causes Firefox to become locked and the ‘Not Responding’ status until it completes. So I recommend doing this while you’re not using Firefox. It found 657 errors and 1,785 warnings. To clarify, it appears that errors are broken links and warnings are links that redirect.

Firefox bookmark organizer's results screen for broken or redirect links

I clicked ‘delete all broken bookmarks’ and then ‘correct all redirects’. Then I clicked ‘Check bookmarks…’ again expecting it to be 0. I got a further 164 errors and 20 warnings. Not sure why this happens, whether it’s a bug, false positives or deleting/fixing links was causing more duplicates and redirects etc. I repeated this step a few times to clear anything that appeared.

Once I had corrected as many broken and redirecting links as possible. I changed the option to ‘missing bookmark names’ and checked my bookmarks for any problems. The addon found 194 errors. Most of these I deleted manually one-by-one as there was no bulk option again. They were old links I’d most likely never use again so it wasn’t worth renaming them. Tip: I used one hand to mash the enter button whilst my other hand was clicking the delete button beneath each link to help speed up the process.

That’s pretty much it for this addon.

After this I would suggest going through your bookmarks and deleting any empty folders, if you deleted anything near what I did then you’d probably have a lot of these. Sadly I haven’t seen any addon which helps with this but if you spot any please let me know!

Bookmark Deduplicator vs Bookmarks Organizer

Pros

Bookmark Deduplicator
Bookmarks Organizer
  • Almost instantly compared 9039 bookmarks for duplicates
  • Removing duplicates was fast (5mins)
  • Found more duplicates – 4426 compared to 3259
  • Ability to bulk remove duplicates
  • Simple
  • Almost instantly compared 9039 bookmarks for duplicates
  • Found 1 duplicate that the other addon didn’t
  • More utilities such as removing broken links
  • More user friendly
  • Addon easily accessed via icon on addon bar
  • Bulk option to correct redirects and delete broken links

Cons

  • Missed 1 duplicate found by Bookmarks Organizer
  • Not user intuitive
  • Addon is hidden in the addons menu
  • Firefox becomes unresponsive during duplicate removal
  • Less utility compared to Organizer
  • Found less duplicates – 3259 compared to 4426
  • No option to bulk remove duplicates or handle missing names
  • edit / delete options are hidden by default and need to be hovered over to see – not very user friendly
  • Could potentially open bad links when checking for broken bookmarks
  • Some buttons are hidden unless you hover over them
  • It takes significantly longer to check for broken links (15mins)
  • Which links are related to Error and Warning is not clear

Summary – Both addons have their uses!

Bookmark Deduplicator does what it says on the box, but lacks some love in the interface department.

In this post I’ve talked through how I used these two addons to speed up the process of tidying up bookmarks in Firefox. These apps both have their pros and cons. Personally I feel Bookmark Deduplicator just needs a better user interface, it shouldn’t feel hard or cumbersome to open. Other than that, it really does what it says on the tin. It ability to remove duplicates is very efficient. However, this is all it does. There are other issues bookmarks have and this addon doesn’t cover it.

Bookmark Organizer looks at more than just duplicates, but falls short when it comes to finding all the issues.

Firefox bookmark organizer logo of cartoon red fox

This is where Bookmark Organizer comes in. It has a lot more work to do to get it working optimally but it does attempt to tackle some of the other issues you might have when organizing your bookmarks to be clean and clutter free. It’s a fairly new addon since it’s still in beta. Hopefully the developer will continue to improve on it and it will be as efficient as Bookmark Deduplicator in the future in terms of detecting duplicates and bulk removing them. It could potentially even remove the need to use Bookmark Deduplicator meaning everything could be done in one addon.

My bookmarks are far from finalized and tidy. I’m down from 9039 to 2766 after doing some further manual deleting of old folders. If I find a better way to do this I’ll be sure to share. But for now this is a huge difference. The real challenge will be keeping it this way!

Now if only someone would create an addon to remove all those empty folders I had left at the end of this!

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