Sorting and rearranging bookmarks - Firefox

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This article explains how to alphabetically sort, organize, or rearrange your Firefox bookmarks.

Sorting bookmarks alphabetically

There are several methods you can use to sort your bookmarks, which are explained below. Note: In Firefox 3 and up you can no longer right-click an individual bookmark to "Sort By Name", you can only do that for folders.

The best way of sorting bookmarks is with the "SortPlaces extension, which although no longer available on the Addons site, can still be found by an Internet search elsewhere. This extension will be mentioned several times relative to different aspects of this article.

Bookmarks toolbar

If not displayed on toolbars use "Alt": to make toolbars visible, then View (menu) > toolbars > (check) Bookmarks Toolbar.
There is another setting there -- to restore bookmarks toolbar to just above the the viewing area uncheck Bookmarks on Top.

By including separators to group bookmarks (below) you can allow sorting of the Bookmarks Toolbar but restrict sorting to within each group as bounded by bookmark separators when sorting folders.

Usage tips #simplifying use of the bookmarks toolbar continues below.

Bookmarks menu

(Drop-down bookmark menus, toolbar menus, and bookmarks sidebar)

  1. Open the Bookmarks menu and select the item you wish to sort.
    • Firefox 3 (and later): Context click (right-click) the specific bookmarks folder that you want to alphabetize.
    • Firefox 2 (and earlier): Right-click any bookmark inside the bookmarks folder you want to alphabetize.
  2. From the context-menu, click "Sort By Name". The bookmarks in the selected folder will be sorted alphabetically. You will have to do the same for subfolders, if you want them sorted as well by this method. (suggest #Using an extension to sort bookmarks recursively instead)

Unsorted bookmarks

This is the default folder when adding bookmarks with the bookmark star.  There is no reason not to sort this folder, but you would want to add a bookmark separator at the bottom for chronological usage in finding bookmarks created more recently to check later if they should be categorized into folders.

Using an extension to sort bookmarks recursively

Many users prefer an alphabetized list of bookmarks in all folders, even within the Bookmarks Toolbar. You can install the SortPlaces extension to sort all bookmarks folders recursively.

  • Firefox 3 (and later): The SortPlaces extension was designed for Firefox 3. It is very fast and will sort subfolders and contents recursively. Use the add-on's option to indicate which folders you want sorted -- by default only "Bookmarks Menu" is sorted, but you can also have "Bookmarks Toolbar" and "Unsorted Bookmarks" sorted. It can be started from Bookmarks menu, Status Bar, or Toolbar button. You can sort "Unsorted Bookmarks" independently with the above Bookmarks menu method within bookmark menu drop-downs or bookmarks sidebar if didn't want to sort them at the same time. You can independently sort or not sort any of the three major bookmark folders by name (or choose Unsorted, Name, URL, Last visit, Visit count, Keyword, Description, Date added, Last Modified).
  • Firefox 2: The "Bookmark Sorting" extension (for Firefox 1.5-2.0.*) will sort all bookmarks folders, recursively. Be sure to review the add-on's options.  The auto-resort option provides for resorting a folder automatically after changes and a specified delay, but makes it harder to locate and modify a recent bookmark then changing it at the bottom of the folder and then later sorting all bookmarks.

The following are for sorting bookmarks in Firefox 2 (or below), which uses bookmarks.html:

Rearranging bookmarks

You can use drag-&-drop or cut-&-paste to rearrange your bookmarks or reorganize your bookmarks into different folders.

  • In the Bookmarks menu, click and drag a bookmark, or hold down the SHIFT key to click and drag a bookmark folder and then drop the item to reposition it or place it in a different folder. If you do not hold the SHIFT key when dragging, you will copy the bookmarks rather than move the bookmarks. (See Mouse tips.)


  • In the Bookmarks Manager or Library window, go to "View -> Unsorted" (Firefox 2 and earlier) or "Views -> Sort -> Unsorted" (Firefox 3 and later) and simply click-drag-&-drop an item in the right-side pane to reposition it. You can select more than one item with Shift or Ctrl/Cmd as usual.

Instead of Drag-&-Drop you can also use Cut-&-Paste from the context menu (or from the Bookmarks Manager "Edit" menu, or the Library window "Organize" menu). If you want to create a new folder , select "New Folder" from the context menu (or from the Bookmarks Manager "File" menu, or the Library window "Organize" menu).

Firefox 3 and later: (multiple selection) You can select multiple entries without invoking the bookmark for dragging, copying, moving or deleting, (similar to how you can select multiple browsing history items) with use of the Ctrl/Cmd key (to add to a selection) & Shift key (to extend a selection) by clicking to the left of the favicon (webpage icon) in the list to make selection(s). To extend from the last selection made of dis-contiguous entries use Cntr/Cmd+Shift+click. Makes moving several bookmarks from different places to a new location easier. Multiple selection is not available in the drop-down menus, and in Firefox 3 only is not available in left pane of Library List. [2]

Using separators to group bookmarks

Bookmark separators can be used for a visual separation of bookmarks into groups. Entities are sorted within each group, independently of the other groups when bookmarks are sorted. All of the sorting methods respect bookmark separators to maintain independently sorted groups.

To create a separator, right -click on a bookmark or folder, then choose "New Separator". This can be done from the Bookmarks menu, on or within the bookmarks toolbar, or from "Organize Bookmarks"/"Library List" (Bookmarks Manager using "Views -> Sort -> Unsorted"). Such separators are normally added before the entity selected.

For an obstinate case trying to place a single bookmark separator after a single bookmark and before a folder, you may need to place the separator between two folders and then move the single bookmark before the separator.

Removing a separator can't be done from the Bookmarks menu or drop-downs, but can be done from both the sidebar (Ctrl/Cmd + B) and from "Organize Bookmarks"/"Library List", where the separator is part of a larger space. Right-click on the separator and choose "Delete".

The difference between Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 and later is that, in Firefox 2 sorting, you selected an item within a folder to sort the folder. In Firefox 3, you select the folder to sort items within a folder. Both versions sort everything in the folder that gets sorted. Sorting folders recursively is not available in Firefox 3 at this time.

All sorting explained here is from the context menu, use of column sorting within the Bookmarks Manager in a different view than the normal hierarchy order will not be permanent.

Bookmarks Manager or Library window

Bring up the Bookmarks Manager or Library window ("Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks", or Show all Bookmarks" or "Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+B")

Sorting bookmarks in the main portion Library List via the view menu or clicking on column headings is temporary, it does not actually affect bookmarks in any way.

Viewing bookmarks in the Bookmarks Manager or Library window

The left pane of the Bookmarks Manager, is similar to the bookmarks sidebar, but never displays individual bookmarks. The expansion indicators only indicate that there are additional folders inside.

Sorting an individual folder through the context menu will be remembered just as if done sorting a folder elsewhere, such as the bookmarks sidebar

Firefox 3 introduced arrow points replacing the less ambiguous [-] and [+] symbols to collapse or expand a folder, and in Firefox 3 the right pane folders can expanded to bookmark folders within, but not bookmarks. (bug 440119)

The right pane of the Bookmarks Manager or Library window provides a listing that can be sorted by clicking on a column. This does not permanently sort your bookmarks, and only applies within this list (bug 405108). It will not affect the left pane, nor your bookmarks menu, nor your bookmarks toolbar. Multiple-selection is possible in both left and right panes of the Bookmarks Manager in Firefox 2 but only in the right pane of the Library window in Firefox 3 (bug 440119).

When a search is not involved, the right pane displays the folders and bookmarks within folder(s) selected on the left, but in Firefox 3 and later only one folder can be selected on the left and only one level of that folder is displayed.  When a search is involved, the right pane displays all of the bookmarks (and only bookmarks) within the folder(s) selected on the left paneIn Firefox 3 after a search has been invoked check the scope of the search in the box below the search box. (bug 440119, bug 424076, bug 469441).

The Library Search box applies to all bookmarks (or all history, but never both bookmarks and history). Starting with Firefox 3.5 you can easily check whether you are searching bookmarks or history by the gray wording in the Library Search box "Sort Bookmarks" or "Sort History". You will see item counts at the bottom of the window after first touching the vertical scroll bar.

In later versions of Firefox 3 and up, searching on any folder is possible, but a bit convoluted under the safer assumption that you probably wanted to search "All Bookmarks".

  1. Select the folder you want to search on in the left pane.
  2. Enter search arguments strings in the search box (i.e. google )
  3. You will have search all bookmarks
  4. Click on the folder name above the left-most column, the "(R)" if present is a reminder that all searching here is recursive.  Now the search results show only bookmarks within the selected folder and subfolders.

Columns in Library window

In the Library window, you can click on any column header to sort by that column (click a second time to reverse the order), and you can rearrange columns by dragging the column header. You can view additional columns by right-clicking on a column heading or via the Views menu (Show Columns). In addition to Name and Location, you can also select Visit Date (last) and Visit Count. In addition to the columns shared by Bookmarks and History, there are additional items for bookmarks: Keyword, Tags, Description, Added (date), and Last Modified. The | Show Parent Folder extension provides for a Parent Folder column for bookmarks, unlike the other columns, it is not sortable.  The View Menu also allows you to choose the column to be sorted on, even if not visible, and also offers an unsorted order. In Firefox 2, you can click on the icon to the right of the column headings (above the scrollbar) and choose the columns to be shown.

You can rearrange columns dragging a column heading.

Bookmark properties in the Library window

Bookmark properties are displayed at the bottom of the Library window, and can be modified / renamed there. You can not right click on a folder or bookmark to change its properties in the library window as you would in bookmark menus or the bookmarks sidebar.

Can the tags be hidden in the properties window, so only shown if expanded.  as annoying as this space waster is haven't found anything yet in yet. (FF2 was certainly better for viewing properties in the Library List).

Finding a forgotten bookmark within a Date Range

To find a bookmark that you know was created within a date range, you have to use the Library List.

  • Starting with Organize Bookmarks or new wording in Firefox 4 Show All Bookmarks (under Bookmarks Menu, or use Ctrl+Shift+B if it works)
  • On the left Select "Bookmarks Menu" folder in Firefox 3 and later ( or "Bookmarks" folder in Firefox 2)
  • On the right side, Right click on column label, select "Added" (timestamp). Available in Firefox 2 using View Menu
  • (Firefox 3) In the search box type in http (make it generic as it could be https: or just use //) The purpose of this simple search is to eliminate display of folders, so you have bookmarks that have at least some part of a url presented in chronological order.  If you want to see all your bookmarks place a colon(":") in the search area as that is included in "http:", "https:", "file:", "ftp:", and "javascript:".  if you want to see only those with substitution, include "%s" (for %s, and %S).  You can not select only those that have keyword shortcuts, but you can sort on the "Keyword" column.
  • (Firefox 3) If you know of any other strings in the Title and/or in the url include them in any order so you might have
http .gov
  • (Firefox 2) Search options are more limited, even with an extension
  • Click on the "Added" label so that you have an Ascending Sort (do this last) -- the triangle on the label tells you that you are sorting on that column, and the ascending or descending direction is noted by the direction of the triangle.


  1. (Firefox 3 and later) You can search on any part of Title, url, or tags, but keywords and description can not be included. [[3]]
  2. (Firefox 3) Unfortunately due to the restructuring of your view of bookmarks in Firefox 3 choosing "All Bookmarks" is not an option, you will have to do this separately for "Bookmarks Menu", "Bookmarks Toolbar" and the other one named either "Unsorted Bookmarks" or "Unfiled Bookmarks". [4] Firefox 2 users can simply choose "Bookmarks" folder.

Location Bar autocomplete searches

There are modifier prefixes to limit the location-bar autocomplete results to searching for bookmarks ("*"), history ("^"), tags ("+" ) and also for limiting to title ("#"), to url ("@"), as typed ("~"), to tabs other than active tab ("%").  [5] Bug 393574 Bug 393584 Bug 480350 % new in 3.7. See Location Bar search and Changing autocomplete behavior - Firefox for more information on customizing Location Bar autocomplete results.

Simplifying use of the bookmarks toolbar

The bookmarks toolbar spreads across the toolbar and the space here is prime real estate, so you want to see as many items as possible in that space.

  • Bookmarks Toolbar Fx4 Blue/Folders, Red/Bookmarks (style, hides folder and bookmark icons on the bookmarks toolbar))
  • Multi Row BookmarksToolbar (style for Fx3.7a1pre Fx3.6a2pre), wastes space but does allow more bookmarks to be seen at one time.
  • For easy access to keyword shortcuts and frequently referenced articles, place them in one folder, "K", keyword shortcuts and have frequently referenced support articles in sub-folders there as well. The advantage is that you can find them in one place and/or using the AwesomeBar (internal search facilities). This way the number of items showing directly on the Bookmarks Toolbar is greatly decreased.

See also

External links

Tools for sorting and viewing bookmarks

The following extensions allow you to sort bookmarks in Firefox 3 (and later), which uses places.sqlite:

The following are not directly related to sorting, but sorting can be invoked from within for folders, and these extensions will help you work through the folders hierarchy in your bookmarks:

  • Manage Folders extension, quickly access folder listing from the context menu of a bookmark folder to bring up the folder within the Library list. (Firefox 3 and later)
  • Go Parent Folder extension, locate the Bookmark folder for a Bookmark in Bookmarks search results. (Firefox 3 and later)
  • Show Parent Folder extension, adds a column to list view of Library (Organize Bookmarks / Show all Bookmarks), especially useful if view is of search results. Must add column through View menu (Firefox 3 and later)
  • Without the above extensions, you can still find out what folder a single bookmark is in by invoking the bookmark, clicking on the bookmark star to bring up the bookmark dialog where you can see what folder the bookmark is in, and can choose a different folder. This method will not work if the bookmark involves substitution or JavaScript. Simply right-clicking on a bookmark to bring up a bookmarks properties will not indicate what folder a bookmark is in.

Addition and/or editing of Bookmarks:

  • Add Bookmark Here ² is a great help in viewing and changing a single bookmark, including the folder it is bookmarked to. In addition to incorporating most features of the OpenBook extension involving working with a bookmarks properties, including the folder location, adding a keyword and description, it also allows one to bookmark the active tab or all of the foreground tabs using a bookmark folder's context menu (right-click menu).
  • Multiple Tab Handler provides features to handle multiple tabs at once, for example, close them, duplicate them, reload them, include and format selected tab title/links for use in an email or documentation, and so on. In addition it provides the ability to bookmark selected tabs.

Viewing a folder of Bookmarks with real scrollbars:

  • Scrollbar Menu will add normal vertical scrollbar to menus including bookmark menus instead of the tiny arrows for scrolling. A related style is used for Context Menus

Viewing a sorted list of Bookmark Keywords:

  • keywordManager extension is a small tool to manage bookmarks keywords (Firefox 3)
  • KeywordBar extension, sidebar with all bookmarks that contain a defined keyword (shortcuts) (Firefox 1.0-2.*)
  • Alternative include keyword column in Library List, search on colon (":") and sort on Keyword column.

Viewing Bookmarks Menu

  • Stay-Open Menu extension facilitates opening multiple tabs from the Bookmarks Menu and various other bookmark/history/tab related drop-down menus. Less need to keep reopening menu, without using the sidebar.

Addition to Bookmarks Toolbar Menu

Displaying Bookmarks Menu in multiple columns:

Viewing an exported list of bookmarks, bookmarks.html, for searching with Find or for using on another system without making changes on that system.

  • Make the list more readable with bookmarklets you could include the following from Keyword Shortcuts in your exported file: "keywords:" to see keywords, "href:" to see urls, "bml:" to identify bookmarklets, in bookmarks.html type listings.