RAW Computing

Sort Safari bookmarks into alphabetical order in OS X


Safari is a great web browser and it is both fast and accurate in its web page rendering. It's hardly surprising that most Mac owners use it for web browsing despite there being several alternatves available like Chrome, Firefox and others. However, Safari is not perfect and it has had an irritating flaw since, well, forever. Why on earth can't you sort the bookmarks into alphabetical order?

As you add bookmarks to the bookmarks menu or bookmarks bar, they are stored in the order you add them. This order is basically random and it makes finding the bookmark you want very difficult when there are a lot of them. Come on Apple, put a sort facility into Safari! In the meantime, here is a work-around to sort your Safari bookmarks into alphabetical order.

If you open Safari and then select Bookmarks, Show All Bookmarks, you can click and drag the bookmarks around to change the order in which they are displayed. For example, select Bookmarks Menu in the left panel and then click and drag your bookmarks into the order in which you want them. Of course, this is very slow and tedious when there are a lot of bookmarks and a much better method is required.

Safari cannot sort bookmarks into alphabetical order, but Finder can sort files and display them in order. What if we use Finder? Show the Bookmarks in Safari and then select Boomarks Menu in the left panel. Now create a new folder on the desktop by right clicking. Open the folder so you have Safari and the new folder next to each other.

Click the first bookmark in the list, hold down the Shift key and click the last one to select them all. Drag them to the folder you created and drop them. They are copied to the folder as .webloc files. Select the bookmarks again in Safari and then drag them to the Trash to delete them. They're gone!

What we have done is to export the bookmarks to a folder on the disk and now we need to import them again.

Click a bookmark in the desktop folder and Press Ctrl+A to select them all. Drag them back to the now empty Safari bookmarks list and drop them. Safari imports the bookmarks in alphabetical order and the result is that the bookmarks menu is now sorted. Click the Bookmarks menu and see.

Sort Safari bookmarks

You can delete the folder you created on the desktop because it is no longer needed. Other bookmarks, such as the Bookmarks Bar, can be sorted in the same way. You can drag whole folders of bookmarks to the desktop, delete them in Safari, and then when you drag them back they end up sorted into alphabetical order.

It's a pain having to export and import bookmarks just to sort them into order, but at least it works. There is one thing to watch out for. When you drag all your bookmarks to the Trash Safari will sync with iCloud. This may take a minute or two, so wait a while before dragging the bookmarks from the Finder window back to Safari. It will then sync them again, so wait another minutes to let it sync. It might not appear to be dfoing anything, but it is, so be patient.

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