Learning how to export bookmarks from Google Chrome may seem like something that only power users would want. After all, with automatic history syncing, tabs that reload on startup, and other organizational features in the browser, most users won’t ever need to use the bookmarks bar. And, with tab groups now in place, alongside those features, it’s never been easier just to keep all of your tabs open anyway.
But, simultaneously, other browsers such as Microsoft Edge are finally buckling down to provide real competition to Google Chrome. So it may be time for some users to switch over. Of course, there are many other good reasons to export bookmarks too. So, really, exporting Chrome bookmarks is something everybody should learn how to do. And that’s exactly what this guide is here to help you do. So let’s dig in.
Why would you want to export your Chrome bookmarks?
As noted above, one of the primary reasons users may want to backup their bookmarks is so that they can migrate to a new browser. Most modern browsers will freely copy data over from Chrome or any other previously-default browser. But maybe you don’t want all of the data transfered over. And in that case, saving tabs as bookmarks to transfer over is going to be far easier than trying to copy and paste all of those URLs. Just for example.
Tying directly into that reason for backing up Chrome bookmarks, maybe you’d just like to give a friend or family member a set of bookmarks you think they’d find useful. For instance, sharing bookmarks to useful news sources or for some other purpose.
Or, the same can hold true for a co-worker, whether freshly on-boarded or a long-time employee. They may need the bookmarks to complete their job efficiently or learn new tasks. Exporting Chrome bookmarks to import for them can be a useful way to share any such resources. Especially if there are a lot of resources to be shared all at once.
And, it almost goes without saying, it can be useful to export bookmarks for future retrieval. That’s in the event that something happens to the current bookmarks such as getting accidentally deleted. With bookmarks saved, you can simply import them again to go back to your most recently saved list of bookmarks.
Whatever the case, exporting bookmarks from Chrome can actually be incredibly useful for just about any user.
How to create an exported bookmark file in Chrome desktop
Now, the steps to export bookmarks from Google Chrome are fairly straightforward. We’ll be using Chrome via Chrome OS for this guide, but the steps will still be the same on any desktop platform. With slight differences with regard to the file system used for saving the bookmarks.
- Of course, the first step here is to open up Chrome. This can be a completely new page, as we’re using for this guide, if that’s more comfortable. But Chrome should automatically open things up in a new tab, following these steps. So any page will be fine
- Tap or click on the three-dot menu icon at the top right-hand side of the page
- In the second partitioned segment, near the middle of the menu, there is a “Bookmarks” option with a left-facing arrow. Hover over that option with the mouse or tap it on touchscreen devices
- The option we’re looking for here is called “Bookmark manager.” Tap or click on that option. Conversely, users can also simply press and hold “CTRL” and “Shift” before pressing the “o” key. That will launch the Bookmarks manager from any open Chrome window or tab
- In the resulting “Bookmarks” page, Chrome will list out all of your bookmark folders and bookmarks. This includes “Mobile bookmarks,” so if there are any bookmarks saved from mobile, that’s where those will be. Each segment has its own three-dot menu to the right-hand side but that’s not the menu we’re looking for. Instead, click or tap the three-dot icon at the top right-hand side of the page, inside the blue-colored band at the top
- Tap or click “Export bookmarks” from that menu in Chrome — if we were discussing how to import into Chrome, that’s where that option would be found
- Chrome will create an ‘.html’ file containing all of the bookmarks and throw forward a system-level save menu, asking what to name and where to store the file
- Rename the file as needed — we didn’t for this guide, since it’s the only save file we’re keeping but we did create a bookmarks backups folder to store it in
- Click or tap on the “Save” option
Of course, after saving the file, it can be renamed, copied, pasted, and more. Just about any interaction that is available for any file on your computer will work. And the file can also be exported from just about anywhere, just so long as the ‘.html’ extension at the end isn’t changed.
So, from here, what you do with this file is entirely up to you. Whether that’s backing it up to a cloud platform or importing it elsewhere. For our purposes, we’ll back up the file to Google Drive so that it can be imported on a Windows machine.
This will work on just about any platform but not mobile, yet
There is, however, one major caveat that must be noted before continuing on to discuss how to use a Chrome bookmarks export. Namely, it isn’t currently possible to export or import bookmarks via mobile device. Now, with Chrome supporting cross-platform syncing and those other features above, this isn’t really a problem. Unless, of course, you don’t have access to Chrome on any other platform.
Google may choose to include these tools on those platforms at a later date. Once bookmarks have been exported and imported, as noted above, you’ll be able to have them sync over with a mobile platform. But, for now at least and unfortunately, you’ll need to find a desktop platform to use.
What do you do with your exported Chrome bookmarks?
The final step is learning how to use the bookmarks export you’ve created from Chrome and, as noted above, that’s fairly straightforward. As discussed already, importing into another instance of Chrome is easy. Users simply need to choose “import bookmarks” from the menu in the Bookmarks manager. Then select the file they want to use. But how does that work in another browser?
We’ll be using Microsoft Edge, which is itself based on Chromium, for this part of the guide. But the process should be similar in just about every modern browser to some extent. With slight variations in terms of the location of the bookmark importing tools.
Now, this guide will assume you’ve already moved the file from the computer you want to import from or that you’re moving your bookmarks from one browser to another on the same computer.
To get started, the file will need to be moved to the computer housing the browser the bookmarks will be imported to. We moved the file to Google Drive, for example. Then we downloaded it to the Downloads directory on a Windows computer, moving it from the Chromebook to that other machine. That is, of course, a process in and of itself. But, once the file is where it needs to be for importing, the process is fairly straightforward. Or, at the very least, it should be for just about any of the most popular browsers available.
- Now, as noted above, the bookmarks bar works differently from browser to browser. So the first step will be determining just where those are and what they’re called in your chosen browser. On Microsoft Edge, for instance, it isn’t even called “Bookmarks.” It’s dubbed “Favorites” and it isn’t a bar, either. Instead, it’s a drop-menu housed in a star-shaped icon in the URL bar or in the settings menu. They’re also called “Favorites in Mozilla Firefox. For Safari, Opera, and Chrome, they’re called “Bookmarks”
- Whatever the case may be, to get started, navigate to the new browser’s ‘bookmarks’ equivalent and then to the “import” menu for that feature. For us, that’s Microsoft Edge’s Favorites menu
- Choose which type of import you’d like to perform. In this case, we’re just importing “Favorites” or “Bookmarks”
- Navigate, using the system-level file picker, to the HTML file containing Chrome bookmarks and select it
- Tap or click “Open”
- The bookmarks tool, in this case “Favorites” should import and then that segment of the new browser’s UI will show the imported bookmarks, just as they were saved
Once imported, you should be able to access, adjust, and use your bookmarks just as you would in Chrome. With minor concessions and changes depending on the browser you’ve chosen to import to. As noted already, for our Microsoft Edge import that meant adjusting to recognizing “Favorites” as bookmarks. And adjusting to accessing those via either a tap on the URL bar’s dashed-star icon or in the three-dot settings menu.
For other browsers, the adjustments will be similarly different depending on how and where the browser stores and provides access to bookmarks.