What Is a Bookmark?

Everything you need to know about web browser bookmarks

Photo of a Macbook Air sitting on a table next to an open book with its bookmark in the middle.

Alejandro Escamilla/Unsplash

If you're looking for a fast link saving option with built-in features for organizing a laundry list of saved links, you don't need look any further than your browser's search bar. That little star-shaped icon isn't just for looks, it's actually your browser's bookmarks feature.

Let's take a look at what web browser bookmarks actually are and how to get the most out of them.

What Is a Bookmark?

Sometimes referred to as "favorites" or "saved links," a browser bookmark is a feature in which a browser allows you to save a link to a web page so you can access it again later without searching for the website again using a search engine, or having to manually enter the exact web address in your browser's search bar.

The bookmark itself is the saved link. Your browser's bookmark manager is usually a series of folders and sub-folders allowing you to organize a large number of bookmarks.

For the most part, the bookmarks feature can usually be identified by a star-shaped icon located on the right side of your browser's main search bar. When you're ready to save the link to the website you're currently viewing, you can select the star icon to automatically save the link to your browser's bookmarks folder.

Usually, the star icon will either change color or show some sort of animation once you've selected it. In addition, you may also see a dialog box pop up, prompting you to pick a folder or sub-folder in which to save your link.

Finding Saved Bookmarks

To access your previously saved bookmarks, most browsers will usually have either a separate icon for your bookmarks folder and/or allow you to access them via your settings menu.

In Google Chrome, for example, you can access your bookmarks via its settings menu; select the three vertical dots in the top right-corner of the browser, then highlight Bookmarks to display more Bookmark options.

In Firefox, located on the right side of its toolbar, select the icon shaped like a series of four books shelved vertically to open a menu listing the Bookmarks as its first option.

And finally, Microsoft Edge will allow users to access their saved bookmarks within its settings menu; select the three horizontally-oriented dots located in the top-right corner of the browser, then select Favorites.

Another way to view your bookmarks in Edge is to select the shooting star icon directly to the right of the main search bar.

How to Manage Web Browser Bookmarks

While it's tempting to just amass a huge mountain of bookmarks without organizing them, it's strongly recommended you don't do that. Most browsers offer a number of easy-to-use, additional bookmarks features to help you manage your favorite websites. The following bookmark management features are particularly helpful for sorting, saving, and viewing your bookmarks.

Folders and Sub-folders

As you collect bookmarks, it may be helpful to get yourself in the habit of creating folders for different types of bookmarks, then saving them in their respective folders.

For example, if you know you love to collect links to recipes, create a folder in your browser's bookmarks manager just for those recipe links so you don't have to dedicate time to searching for it later.

Bookmarks Bar

Using a bookmarks bar kind of goes hand in hand with using folders and sub-folders. Now that you have well-organized folders for all of your links, make them easier to get by creating icons for them on your browser's main toolbar.

Enter the bookmarks bar. When you enable your browser's bookmarks bar feature, it usually creates another row of space underneath your browser's main toolbar, allowing you to pin links to your bookmarks folders to it. This lets you have access to your favorite bookmarks more directly instead of going through your browsers settings.

Syncing Your Bookmarks Between Browsers

So what if you decide to use a new browser for all of your web browsing needs? What happens to all of your favorite links that are stored in your old browser? Don't worry, all is not lost. In fact, most browsers allow you to carry your bookmarks over to other browsers with a simple feature usually referred to as "syncing your bookmarks."

If you decide to use a new browser and haven't uninstalled your old one yet, it might be worth checking out to see if your new browser has a bookmarks sync feature in its settings. That way, if you're able to sync your old bookmarks to your new browser, you won't have to rebuild your saved links in the new browser. You can just transfer them.

Are Some Browsers Better At Handling Bookmarks Than Others?

The use of bookmarks, while optional, has become a super-helpful utility in web browsing today. As most, if not all, browsers have some form of the bookmarks feature, you really can't go wrong with using it in any of the web browsers available today. Determining which browser is best really depends on your personal preferences and how you plan to manage your bookmarks. It really is up to you.