Best bookmark managers for Google Chrome

Tiny Bookmarks and Popup My Bookmarks win test of seven popup bookmark managers.

bookmarks
Thinkstock/Google/Misc

Recently, while going through my bookmarks in Chrome to determine which ones I wanted to keep, I accidentally deleted all of them. Rather than panic, I felt an odd sense of . . . relief. I realized that I had collected several hundred bookmarks over the years, and that managing them was difficult.

So I wondered what alternatives were available beyond Chrome’s default bookmark manager, and beyond Google’s optional extension for Chrome, Bookmark Extension.

Both Chrome’s default bookmark manager and Bookmark Extension open a tab and present you with a user interface inside it for you to manage your bookmarks. But I wanted a manager that works without having to open a tab.

There are several, and they generally work like this: You click an icon on the extensions toolbar (located to the right of the URL box), which pops open a panel that lists your bookmarks and bookmark folders. Right-clicking on a bookmark’s name opens a small menu which lists choices to edit the bookmark’s name or URL, or to delete it. So which one of the seven that we tested is the best overall?

Despite some misgivings about the smoothness of their user interfaces, my favorite is Tidy Bookmarks, with Popup my Bookmarks coming in second. Both utilize a panel that expands to the left to list your bookmarks inside a folder, which I found necessary in order to effectively drag-and-drop bookmarks among folders.

Popup my Bookmarks has a few more features, but its UI felt more unstable to me while running on either the 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Chrome on two different Windows 10 notebooks. According to its listing in the Chrome Web Store, though, it's far more popular than Tidy Bookmarks, so maybe your experience will be better.

Here are capsule reviews on all seven pop-up bookmark managers for Chrome:

1. Bookmarkie

A search box is located along the top of Bookmarkie’s panel, which you can use to find a bookmark by entering keywords. Click a folder and a list of the bookmarks you’ve stowed under it expands downward. Bookmarks can be moved to another folder or spot on a list by drag-and-drop.

Managing your bookmarks through this UI works well enough, but becomes difficult when you’re having to drag a bookmark vertically through a long, scrolling list of bookmarks and bookmark folders. (I found this was the same problem with the other pop-up bookmark managers I tested that used only a single column layout to present your bookmark folders and the bookmarks contained within them.) There’s no option to sort your bookmark listings by alphabetical order.

+ PREVIOUSLY: Chrome users attack Google over revamped bookmarks manager +

2. Bookmarks Menu 

bookmarkie

Move the mouse pointer over a bookmark folder and another panel automatically opens to the left, which lists your bookmarks that are stored inside that folder. You can reorder bookmarks by alphabetical order. But you cannot drag-and-drop a bookmark to another folder. This extension doesn’t allow you to delete folders, and it lacks a search function.

3. Chromarks

Clicking a folder opens a list of all the bookmarks inside it, which branches down. A bookmark can be drag-and-dropped from one folder to another, but cannot be moved to another spot on a list. You can sort the order of your bookmarks alphabetically or by date, but this can only be done through the extension’s options settings. The top of the Chromarks panel has a search box.

4. Minimal Bookmarks Tree

Click a folder, and the bookmarks saved inside it scroll down in an animated effect. You can drag-and-drop a bookmark from one folder to another, or move it to a new spot on the list, but there is no option to alphabetize your bookmarks. This pop-up bookmarks manager doesn’t include a search tool. While the animation of the list of bookmarks scrolling down looks appealing, it became unnecessary eye candy whenever I simply wanted to get through deleting, editing or rearranging my bookmarks as quickly as possible. You can adjust the speed of this effect or turn it off.

5. Popup my Bookmarks

Similar to the way the Bookmarks Menu extension works, hovering the mouse pointer over a folder will cause the panel to expand toward the left to show the bookmarks inside the folder. There’s a search box at the top of the panel. Bookmarks can be sorted alphabetically. A bookmark can be dragged from a folder and dropped into another, or to another place within a list. This extension includes some other maintenance tasks that the others lack, like adding a horizontal line separator to your bookmark lists. Everything sounds good, but the responsiveness of the UI of this extension came across as a little janky -- it didn’t perform as smoothly as the other pop-up bookmark managers in this article, occasionally jamming up.

6. Tidy Bookmarks

When you hover the mouse cursor over a bookmark folder, the Tidy Bookmarks panel expands to the left to list the bookmarks saved inside the folder. You can also manually adjust the panel’s width by clicking-and-holding onto its left border and dragging it side-to-side. When you open a folder, the top of the panel then shows the nested path of the folder as a series of buttons representing any folders that are containing it; you can jump to a folder in this hierarchy by clicking the button with its name.

There’s a search box at the top of the panel, but it goes away when you hover the mouse cursor over a folder. The drag-and-drop functionality lets you move bookmarks to another folder, or spot on a list, and this extension can sort your bookmarks alphabetically. This extension was a little jumpy whenever I would open it and click on a folder for the first time -- the panel that appears to the left, to show your bookmarks inside a folder, slides out erratically as an animated effect.

7. vBookmarks

VBookmarks is a continuation of Neater Bookmarks, which hasn’t been updated since November 2014. Clicking a folder will list the bookmarks contained inside it, which expands down. Like Tiny Bookmarks, you can adjust the width of this extension’s panel by clicking-and-holding onto its left border and dragging it horizontally. Like Popup my Bookmarks, you can add a line separator to your bookmark lists. There’s a search box situated at the top of the panel. There’s no option to alphabetize bookmark names, but you can drag-and-drop a bookmark from one folder to another, as well as move a bookmark to another spot on a list.

Further reading: Where are my bookmarks in Chrome?

 

This story, "Best bookmark managers for Google Chrome" was originally published by Network World.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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