Importing Your Firefox Settings Into Safari

I’m probably going backwards compared to most people, but I have been using Firefox and am tired of it crashing all the time, so I want to go back to Safari on my MacBook. Problem is, I don’t know how to copy across my bookmarks bar and it’s pretty tweaked for the way I browse.

Dave’s Answer:

There are a lot of Web browsers available nowadays for us Web surfers, whether you’re on a Windows system or a Mac OS X-based computer, but each seems to have its pros and cons, which is still pretty frustrating. Google Chrome? Not compatible with a bunch of sites. Firefox? Crashes left and right. Safari? Breaks some sites too (like Google Image Search, surprisingly enough).

Still, I appreciate your desire to move from one browser world to another and see if that works better for you. I keep switching back and forth, though I haven’t found The Perfect Browser yet.

The best solution to your question is really to sign up and use one of the different free and commercial bookmark synchronization services. A quick Google search of “bookmark sync firefox safari” produces a quarter-million results. I’m sure there’s one or two that’ll work for you.

Rather just do it manually? No worries, here’s how I exported my bookmark bar from Firefox and brought it into Safari with just a few mouse clicks…

I think the hardest part of this entire task is figuring out how to export your Firefox bookmarks. Why? Because the feature is hidden in the “organize bookmarks” area. Launch Firefox the choose “Organize Bookmarks…”

firefox safari bookmarks organize 1

The bookmarks organizer window pops up and if you don’t look closely, you won’t see the button you need to click: “Import and Backup” (apparently “export” is something they’d rather avoid saying):

firefox safari bookmarks organize 2

That brings up a small pop-up menu, and you’ll want to pick “Export HTML…”

firefox safari bookmarks organize 3

Now just give the file a memorable name:

firefox safari bookmarks organize 4

Saved? Good. You can quit Firefox and launch Safari now.

In Safari you want to choose “Import Bookmarks…” from the “File” menu:

firefox safari bookmarks organize 5

Find the .html file you just saved from within Firefox and select it.

firefox safari bookmarks organize 6

Click “Import” and the HTML file will be parsed and all the bookmarks will be brought into Safari:

firefox safari bookmarks organize 7

We’re over half way, no worries! As you can see, though, the problem now is that the Firefox bookmarks are indeed imported into Safari, but they’re in a new sub-menu, which doesn’t help you replace the bookmarks bar in the browser.

Luckily it’s not too difficult once you realize that you can drag and drop sets of bookmarks from one area to another in Safari as a way of organizing them. What you need to do is delete everything that’s currently on your bookmarks bar in Safari, then we’ll just drag the bookmarks bar bookmarks there to update them.

Start by choosing “Show All Bookmarks” from the Bookmarks menu (or clicking on the little open book button on the very left of the bookmarks bar). You’ll see this:

firefox safari bookmarks organize 8

As you can see, I have selected the “Bookmarks Bar” on the left and it’s showing me all the bookmarks I have in the current Safari bar. I don’t want those, though, so I’m going to click on the first bookmark in this folder that I want to delete (it’s on the right side), Shift-click on the last in the list (which selects them all), then Cmd-click to get the pop-up menu. I’ll select “Delete” and *poof* they’re all gone.

On the left side you now want to click on the newly imported bookmarks folder.

firefox safari bookmarks organize 9

Open up the “Bookmarks Bar” folder, and use the same click + Shift-click to select every single bookmark from there that you want to move. Now, just click and drag the entire set to the “Bookmarks Bar” on the left side:

firefox safari bookmarks organize 10

Here you can see that I am moving 17 bookmarks with a single mouse click. Handy!

The end result:

firefox safari bookmarks organize 11

Hopefully that’ll help you quickly and easily move your bookmarks from Firefox to Safari!


Dave Taylor
About Dave Taylor
Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs.

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