Upgrade Your Bookmarks Toolbar in 9 Steps

Over the Thanksgiving break, you may wake up from a tryptophan-induced nap and want to play around on your computer. May I suggest a project for you? Clean up and streamline your bookmarks in Firefox.

Here’s what mine looks like:
my bookmarks

Ready to do yours?

Step 1: Make sure you have Firefox. I don’t want to have to repeat myself, but I have to sometimes. And yes, some of this may work in Internet Explorer.

Step 2: Make sure the bookmarks toolbar is showing. To do this, just right-click somewhere in the top of Firefox until you see the option to turn on (or check) the Bookmarks Toolbar.

Step 3: Organize your bookmarks by going to Bookmarks then Organize Bookmarks in the menu at the top.

Step 4: Add currently most-used bookmarks to the “Bookmarks Toolbar Folder”. Here’s where I get conservative. What sites do you visit most often? Put them on this toolbar. But put ONLY the ones you use most. If you don’t use it much, leave it in the regular bookmarks folder.
OPTIONAL: You may need to add a few websites that are not bookmarked. Simply go to that site and move your mouse over the little image before the web address (we call the image a favicon and the web address a URL). Drag the favicon to the toolbar. Done.

Step 5: Order you bookmarks in a way that makes sense to you. You may want to group some together and use a separator for them. You do all of this in the Organize Bookmarks window that should still be open. Just drag and drop.

Now you are done. But I know you want to get it to be even cooler and practical, right? I mean, don’t you want just the little icons there like I have? Here’s how:

Step 6: Let’s get the favicons to show up. Close your Organize Bookmarks window and go back to Firefox. If a favicon exists for a site, it will load in the toolbar. To check, click the link. When you go to the site, you’ll see if a favicon is available. If it is, it’s probably now loaded on your toolbar. If not, click the bookmark again and it should load. If not, sorry. Most of the time this works.

Step 7: Let’s trash the words. You already recognize that favicon to be for the site you visit, right? You don’t need words taking up space telling you something you don’t need to know. Right-click a bookmark and go to it’s properties. There you can delete the name so just the favicon shows up.

Now I’m sure you’ve looked back at my toolbar and asked a few questions like “what about that folder with a ‘b’ and the other favicons with a + by it”?

Step 8: Time to group several bookmarks together in a folder because they are just too similar or too many to have them stretch across the toolbar. Simply right-click on the toolbar and chose “New Folder”. Rename it to whatever and drag and drop bookmarks into it. As for the letter ‘b’ in mine, I’ll get to that later.

Step 9: Add some practical bookmarklets to the toolbar. These are little tools that don’t take you to a website, they actually do something! You’ll find all kinds of things to add if you just do a search for “bookmarklets”. Once you add them to the toolbar, right-click one and go to it’s properties. The location will be something like “javascript…blah blah junk”. Highlight it all and copy it to the clipboard (just click on the text and do CTRL-A then CTRL-C). Now find the URL in the location code by scanning down the line until you see the http://www.whatever.com part. Delete everything in that line except the URL. Now save it and get the favicon to show up. Got it? Now go back to the properties and paste the javascript code in the location. Then change the name to + and you’re set.

Yeah, that’s the most complicated one, but well worth it. I add the + because usually when I click on it I’m adding something or it’s just a way to separate it from bookmarks.

Now I know you’re wondering what mine are. What have I chosen and why just these? Here’s my toolbar again:
my bookmarks

My first section are my most used sites:

  • Google Reader – all of my web updates
  • gMail – my online email
  • del.icio.us – my online bookmars (most everything else not on my toolbar)
  • MeeVee Guide – my customized TV listings
  • CBS Sportsline – for my sports and fantasy football
  • Facebook – for social networking

My second section are for my blog management:

  • Twitter – for status updates
  • Flickr – for my photo blog
  • rob’s place – my blog
  • Casita de Pitatayo – my wife’s blog
  • orangejack.com – my home blog
  • eMinistryNotes.com – my work blog
  • ‘d’ folder – a folder that contains links to all my wordpress dashboards and blog stats

My third section is for my bookmarklets:

  • Send page in gMail
  • URLtea.com – make webpages shorter (like TinyURL)
  • Add to del.icio.us – bookmark a page
  • Post to my blog

NOTE: There are many other sites I visit and check out often. However, most of those I’ve subscribed to get RSS updates from them and I access them through Google Reader or del.icio.us.

There you have it. Streamline and have fun!

PS. If you want to get even more creative, try moving your toolbars around and going even more minimalist with a tiny menu.

Be Sociable, Share!