Choosing a browser is enough of a difficult decision that needing access to your bookmarks shouldn’t impede it. Instead of discovering how to backup bookmarks in various browsers only to import them in another, why not sync them with Xmarks? Xmarks offers free cross-browser synchronization between Firefox, Internet Explorer Safari, and Chrome. Not only can the same bookmarks be used at ease, even viewing history and using the same opened, existing tabs is allowed.
Setup an account with Xmarks to get started syncing bookmarks
We’ll be using Chrome and Firefox in this example but for now, we’ll just install it on one browser to get the account setup completed. Download the appropriate add-on for the browser you want here.
After installation, in Chrome right-click the blue icon on the top right of the browser and choose “Options.”
The settings for the extension will appear, where we want to choose “Run Setup Wizard.”
Click through to the second setup screen and choose to create a new account.
Enter all the appropriate data in the fields and choose “Next.”
Accept the email notification to complete the setup.
Now that the setup is finished, we’ll install the add-on for Firefox, ensure they’re both configured correctly, and then allow synchronization between the two.
Sync bookmarks with Xmarks
Now that we’ve verified our account with Xmarks we can begin configuring the settings. Choose to “Sign in” in Chrome via the same window we used for setup.
Choose the “Sync” tab on the menu and enter a “Name for this computer:” to better identify where these settings are at. When multiple browsers are involved this field will make deciphering easier. Select to sync bookmarks and/or open tabs between the browsers in this tab. The bottom portion should be checked to “Enable Automatic Synchronization” so nothing manual needs to be done after all browsers have been configured.
The “Advanced” tab has additional features like security and other bookmark management tools. Options for encryption can be chosen here.
As well as bookmark repair and upload/download options. Repairing the bookmark database can be chosen if errors occur while syncing. Upload bookmarks currently have on this browser (Chrome) with what Xmarks currently has on file. For example, if you have an account that has old bookmarks used in the past from Internet Explorer but no longer wants those to sync, the upload the ones in this browser. Choose to “Download Bookmarks” to pull what Xmarks has into this current browser, overwriting the current ones.
Now that Chrome is configured, we can open the Xmarks in Firefox and sync all these bookmarks between the two.
Access Firefox’s Xmarks settings by navigating to “Tools > Xmarks Settings…” or entering “Ctrl + Shift + O.”
Now choose to run the same wizard in Firefox, only this time we’re able to enter our account details in for a log in.
The first prompt upon log in is to save the password for Xmarks. Choose “Remember” so you don’t have to enter it in every time it syncs.
The next screen in the wizard is the “Sync Open Tabs” settings. Enter a name for the computer with the other browser installed (Firefox) and choose to “Enable synchronization of open tabs” so transitions between computers or browsers won’t require reopening the current tabs you were viewing.
The next option is for syncing browser history. Enable this to sync visit history across the browsers.
If enabling, enter a name for this computer.
A few more options are presented on the following screen. Enable or disable these as you wish, but they aren’t required to sync bookmarks.
The next screen is for uploading these bookmarks in Firefox to your Xmarks account.
This looks to be an important decision to make, as you don’t want the bookmarks to be overwritten. It’s at this point you need to decide whether you want the Firefox or Chrome bookmarks to be uploaded first. In our example, we don’t have any Firefox bookmarks at all, so we’ll cancel this and move back to Chrome.
So, return to Chrome’s Xmarks settings and choose to “Upload Bookmarks” under the “Advanced” tab.
A confirmation message is given and we’ll accept it for upload.
Upload shouldn’t take too long until a completing notice is given.
Now that Chrome’s bookmarks are securely on our Xmarks account, return to Firefox to manually download these bookmarks there.
Confirm the prompt to download Chrome’s bookmarks into Firefox.
The settings we configured are now being applied, like bookmarks, history, and open tabs synchronization.
Now go back to the first browser, Chrome in this instance, and ensure you’re signed into Xmarks, where you’ll be presented with a screen for merging the bookmarks. We have a few options here on how we want to sync. First, we could merge Chrome’s bookmarks with what’s on Xmarks, using Chrome’s bookmarks first or using what’s on the account. We could also keep all the Xmarks bookmarks online, making no changes to those, and then discard additional items in Chrome that are not in Xmarks. Finally, we can remove all the saved ones on the Xmarks server while keeping Chrome’s.
Because we already uploaded Chrome’s bookmarks in a prior step, and Firefox has none at this point, we will merge the server list by pulling those down first – the second option.
Now that we have everything setup correctly, let’s see how tabs work with Xmarks. In Chrome, to see what tabs are open in Firefox, click the extension icon and choose to “Open Remote Tabs.”
Because we named the Xmarks settings in Firefox, we can see the open tabs while knowing what computer and browser is being used.
Do the same in Firefox through the “Tools” menu, “Xmarks > Open Remote Tabs…” or “Ctrl + Shift + Y.”
Thoughts on Xmarks
Syncing bookmarks with a central server is a great backup solution, especially if you have many valuable pages saved. Xmarks is great not only for backing up but for pulling that backup from your account and placing it in other browsers. Being able to access pages from history on a remote computer and even pulling the open tabs up gives us one less reason to hate mobile browsing.