How to Organize Safari Bookmarks and Favorites

Organize links to your favorite sites

Book with a lot of different colored bookmarks

JamieB / Getty Images 

Bookmarks tend to get out of hand. One way to get and keep them under control is to store them in folders. Of course, the process is easier if you set up folders before you start adding and editing bookmarks, but it's never too late to get organized.

The steps and screenshots here were performed in version 13.0.3 of Safari, but they should apply to older versions as well.

The Safari Sidebar

The easiest way to manage your bookmarks is through the Safari sidebar (sometimes referred to as the bookmarks editor). To access the Safari sidebar, click Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks. In older versions of Safari, the menu item might say Show All Bookmarks.

Safari Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks

An alternative method to reveal the Safari sidebar is to use the Sidebar button in the Safari toolbar. It looks a little like an open book.

Safari Show sidebar icon

With the Safari Sidebar open, you can add, edit, and delete bookmarks, as well as add or delete folders or subfolders.

There are two main places to save bookmarks and bookmark folders: the Favorites bar and the Bookmarks menu.

The Favorites Bar

The Favorites bar is located near the top of the Safari window. It might not be visible depending on how you have Safari set up, but it's easy to enable: Simply select the View > Show Favorites Bar.

Safari Show Favorites Bar

The Favorites bar is a great place to keep your favorite websites handy, either as individual links or in folders. The number of individual links you can store horizontally across the toolbar is limited to your screen width, of course, but it allows you to see and access them without clicking a drop-down menu. If you put links rather than folders in the Bookmarks bar, you can access the first nine of them using keyboard shortcuts rather than the mouse.

Using folders rather than links in the Favorites bar makes an almost endless array of websites immediately available from the bar. Otherwise, consider reserving the Favorites bar for sites you visit daily or at least once a week, and store everything else in the Bookmarks menu.

The Bookmarks Menu

The Bookmarks menu provides drop-down access to bookmarks and/or folders of bookmarks, depending on how you decide to organize it. It also provides a second way to access the Favorites bar, as well as bookmark-related commands. If you turn off the Favorites bar, perhaps to gain more screen real estate, you can still access it from the Bookmarks menu.

Add a Folder to the Favorites Bar or Bookmarks Menu

Adding a folder to the Favorites bar or the Bookmarks menu is easy; the trickier part is deciding how to set up your folders. Some categories, such as News, Sports, Weather, Tech, Work, Travel, and Shopping, are universal, or at least pretty obvious. Others, such as Crafts, Gardening, Woodworking, or Pets, are more personal.

Consider adding a Temp category to hold the sites you might visit briefly but want to return to later, when you have more time. These should be sites you wouldn't bookmark permanently but are interesting enough to check out—just not at the moment. If you corral them in a Temp folder, they will still pile up frighteningly fast, but at least they'll all be in one place.

Naming Your Bookmarks

To add a folder:

  1. Click Bookmarks > Add Bookmark Folder. A new folder named untitled folder will appear at the bottom of the Bookmarks section, ready for you to change it.

    Adding a bookmarks folder in Safari
  2. Type in a new name, and press Return or Enter.

    If you accidentally click away from the folder before you get a chance to name it, right-click the folder and select Edit Name from the pop-up menu. If you change your mind about the folder, right-click it and select Remove (or Delete, depending on your version of Safari) from the pop-up menu.

  3. Click and drag the folder to the Favorites bar or the Bookmarks menu entry in the sidebar, depending on where you want to store it.

Whether you decide to add individual bookmarks or folders to the Favorites bar, keep their names short, so you can fit more of them in. Short names aren't a bad idea in the Bookmarks menu, either, but you have more leeway here because the links display in a hierarchical list.

Adding Subfolders to Folders

If you tend to collect a lot of bookmarks, consider adding subfolders to some of the folder categories. For example, you might have a top-level folder called Home that includes subfolders called Cooking, Decorating, and Gardening. To add a subfolder:

  1. Open the Safari sidebar (Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks).

  2. Click the Favorites Bar or the Bookmarks Menu entry, depending on the location of the top-level folder.

  3. Click the target folder and then the right-facing arrow to the left of it to display the folder's contents (even if the folder is empty). If you don't do this, a new folder you create will be added at the same level as the existing folder, rather than within the folder.

    Add a subfolder to Safari's Bookmarks bar
  4. From the Bookmarks menu, select Add Bookmark Folder. A new subfolder will appear in the selected folder, with its name ('untitled folder') highlighted and ready for you to edit. Type in a new name and press Return or Enter key.

    Safari Bookmarks > Add Bookmark Folder

    If you're having problems getting the subfolders to appear in the selected folder, simply drag the subfolder to the folder you wish to have the subfolder occupy.

  5. To add more subfolders to the same folder, click the folder again, and then select Bookmarks > Add Bookmark Folder. Repeat the process until you've added all of the desired subfolders, but resist the urge to get carried away.

Organize Folders in the Favorites Bar

Rearranging the folders in the Favorites bar is easy. There are two ways: directly in the Favorites bar itself or in the Safari sidebar:

  1. Click the folder you want to move, and drag it to its target location in the Favorites bar. The other folders will move out of the way to accommodate it. Or ...

  2. Click Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks. In the Safari sidebar, click Favorites.

To move a folder, click and hold the folder's icon, then drag it to the desired location. You can move a folder to a different position at the same level in the hierarchy, or drag it into another folder.

The first option is easiest if you're rearranging top-level folders; the second option is the one to choose if you want to rearrange subfolders.

Organizing, Deleting, and Renaming Folders

To rearrange your bookmark folders, open the Bookmarks sidebar and simply drag the folders to the desired positions.

To delete a folder from your Bookmarks menu or Favorites bar, right-click on the folder, and select Remove from the pop-up menu.

Check the folder first to be sure that it doesn't contain bookmarks or subfolders that you'd like to save elsewhere.

To rename a folder, right-click it and select Rename (older versions of Safari used Edit Name instead) from the pop-up menu. The folder's name will be highlighted, ready for you to edit. Type in a new name, and press Return or Enter.