How to Manage Your Internet Explorer Favorites

Everything you need to know about IE favorites

Internet Explorer favorites are super useful if you like to revisit the same sites. Save a favorite/bookmark in the browser and return to it any time you want to instantly access that site again.

There are several aspects to managing favorites. You can create one and edit an existing one, as well as organize favorites into familiar categories, export them so that you can access the favorites on a new computer, delete them, and more.

Microsoft no longer supports Internet Explorer and recommends that you update to the newer Edge browser; head to their site to download Edge. To keep all your IE favorites, learn how to import favorites into Edge.

How to Create Favorites in Internet Explorer

Building a catalog of your favorite sites is the foundation of any bookmarking tool, including your browser's. Adding IE favorites is easy to do and will become even easier once you get used to it.

  1. Locate the website you want to add as a favorite. You can do this manually by entering its URL into the address bar, or you can use a search engine like Google.

  2. Select the star from the upper-right corner of Internet Explorer.

    Internet Explorer open with Google Search loaded
  3. In the new window that appears, select Add to favorites.

    Internet Explorer list of favorites
  4. Name it something memorable. Most are pre-written appropriately, but if not, just erase what's there and type anything you want.

    Add a Favorite box in Internet Explorer

    Another way to quickly access this dialog box is with the CTRL + D keyboard shortcut.

  5. Choose where to save the favorite by selecting the menu next to Create in. For example, to have it show up on the Favorites Bar (we'll look at that below), select it from the list. You can also make a brand-new folder here.

    Create in menu for Internet Explorer favorites

    It's unnecessary to organize favorites right now in this pop-up box, but it is recommended. It's too easy to make a quick favorite like this over and over and never actually organize them into folders, which can quickly create a cluttered mess that's hard to sift through. We'll learn more about organizing favorites below, but for now, just understand that there are separate folders you can make to categorize your favorites.

  6. Select Add to make the new favorite.

    Add a Favorite prompt in IE for Google Search

Alternative Methods

Another way to save a favorite is with the Favorites Bar. If it's enabled (see below to learn how to turn it on), just select the icon to the left of the toolbar to instantly save it to the Favorites Bar.

Add to Favorites bar option in Internet Explorer

Yet another way to make IE favorites (though it's not necessary and may just be confusing) is to click and hold down on the logo to the left of the URL in the address bar, and drag it directly onto the Favorites Bar.

Where to Find Favorites in Internet Explorer

Making new favorites can be fun if it's your first time getting into it, but it's not so great if you can't find them!

It can be easy to think that a favorite has been deleted or that you've lost one, but it's most likely just been misplaced. This might happen if you forget which folder you placed it in, or if you're just not sure where Internet Explorer favorites are stored.

All of them are accessible from the star icon in the top right corner of the program. Select the star and then open the Favorites tab to see all the folders—such as Favorites Bar—and individual favorites that have been added to IE.

List of Internet Explorer favorites

Several favorites might have been added to Internet Explorer without your permission. For example, Bing or manufacturer-specific web pages. You'll learn how to clear out favorites below if you decide to delete them.

Now that you can see the favorites, you just need to select one to open it. Immediately, the favorites menu will disappear and you'll see the web page load.

There are keys you can use while selecting the bookmark to make the link open differently. For example, clicking while holding down Ctrl launches the favorite in a new tab.

The Favorites Bar is another way to find favorites. This method might be preferred if you like to have instant access to your most-visited sites at the top of the browser, without needing to use the star icon.

To enable the Favorites Bar if you don't already see it, press the Alt key and then go to View > Toolbars > Favorites bar. A new toolbar will appear below your open tabs that includes any favorites saved to the Favorites Bar folder.

Internet Explorer favorites bar toolbar setting

How to Organize Favorites Into Folders

Organizing your IE bookmarks is easy and makes finding them later a breeze. You can put similar favorites into the same folder, make one just for work stuff and another for online games, etc. How you organize your favorites is up to you.

One way is from the Favorites Bar: Click and drag any bookmark along the toolbar to reorder them.

Another method is through the favorites button (the star at the top right):

  1. From the star menu, select the arrow to the right and choose Organize favorites to open the bookmarks manager.

    Organize favorites option in Internet Explorer
  2. Choose New Folder and give it a relevant name. The idea here is to make folders that make sense to you, so that later when you add and reopen the bookmarks, you'll have an easy time knowing where to look.

    New favorites folder in Internet Explorer
  3. Select the favorite you want to organize into a folder, and then use the Move button to pick which folder to place it into; finish with OK.

    Browse For Folder prompt in Internet Explorer

    If you haven't created the favorite yet, you can still make the folder now; just add the favorite later and then put it into this folder.

    Another way to move favorites is to click and drag into folders from inside the Organize Favorites window.

    You can move folders into other folders, too, either by dragging them or using the Move button.

Editing Favorites in Internet Explorer

Another part of organizing your favorites is editing them. You can edit any favorite so that it shows up in your list of bookmarks as a different name or so that when you click it, it goes somewhere else.

To do this, right-click the favorite and go to Properties. You'll see the bookmark's URL in the Web Document tab; change it if you need to. In the General tab is how you can rename favorites.

General properties model for a favorite in Internet Explorer

How to Delete Favorites in Internet Explorer

You'll sometimes come across a favorite that you have no use for and can't really figure out why you added it in the first place. Or, maybe you saved by accident, or it's a duplicate favorite or one that leads to a broken page or website that's no longer active.

Regardless of why you want the bookmark deleted, doing so is easy, and there are several methods:

  • Right-click the bookmark from the Favorites Bar and select Delete.
  • Locate the bookmark in the Organize Favorites window and right-click it to find the Delete option.
  • Press the star icon once from the top right side of Internet Explorer, right-click the favorite, and choose Delete.
  • Open the C:\Users\[username]\Favorites folder and delete all the IE favorites at once or individually.
Delete option for an Internet Explorer favorite

How to Export Internet Explorer Favorites

Exporting bookmarks means to save the list to a file as a backup. Once the favorites are backed up, you can copy them to a new computer and use the favorites there, too.

  1. Select the favorites icon (the star) at the upper-right side of IE.

  2. Use the down arrow to select Import and export.

    Import export option in Internet Explorer
  3. Choose Export to a file, and then Next.

    Export to a file Internet Explorer option
  4. Pick Favorites from the list, and then select Next.

    What would you like to export window in Internet Explorer
  5. Select which folder you want to export, and then hit Next. To copy everything to a file, select the folder at the top called Favorites.

    Favorites export option in Internet Explorer
  6. Use the Browse button if you want to change where the bookmarks file is saved and what the backup should be called.

    It can be anywhere you like—you can even leave the default location selected—and named whatever makes sense to you, just remember what you choose so that you know where to look when it comes time to using the backup.

    Select Bookmark File prompt in Internet Explorer
  7. Select Export to complete the backup and save the HTM file to the folder you specified.

    Location of favorites export in Internet Explorer


  8. You can now exit the window or use the Finish button to return to Internet Explorer. With the HTM file saved on your computer, you can send it over email, copy it to a flash drive, back it up online, import it into another browser, etc.

Exporting favorites is different from saving a specific web page. Internet Explorer lets you save web pages to a text format like HTML or TXT so you can view them offline or keep them for archiving. You can also "print" any web page to a PDF file for easy sharing.

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