Sort Safari's bookmarks

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Safari includes a pretty good bookmarks manager—it’s easy to add, view, and manipulate your collection of bookmarks—but it’s missing one very simple and (I’m guessing) often-requested feature: the ability to sort your bookmarks alphabetically. You can drag-and-drop to rearrange, of course, but that gets tedious after the first few dozen times you do it.

There are, as you might have guessed, third-party solutions that handle this task for you. Saft (for one; probably many others as well) adds the ability to sort bookmarks directly within Safari. Taking it a step further, programs like Bookdog and URL Manager Pro are external bookmark managers (which work with many browsers), and they also include the ability to sort your bookmarks.

But since this is a Hints column, it’s all about finding ways to do things yourself, so that’s what we’re going to do.

First, consider a typical unsorted entry in the Bookmarks menu, such as this collection of Apple-related sites I use:

As you can see, the order is far from alphabetical. Without resorting to external tools or dragging links about, it’s actually fairly simple to order the list. Make sure you can see a Finder window, or your Desktop, and the Safari Bookmarks window at the same time. Now just drag the folder (or folders) you want sorted from the Safari window to your Desktop—you’ll see the folder appear when you release the mouse. Switch to the Finder, and open each folder. Set the view to List view, and then close the window (not strictly necessary, but I’m a neat freak).

Now drag the folder back into Safari’s Bookmarks window; Safari will treat it like a newly-imported folder of bookmarks and add it to the list. Open the folder in the Bookmarks window, and you’ll see your neatly-sorted bookmarks:

You’ll also have a duplicate folder of bookmarks, since the original unsorted one is still there. Click once on it to select it, then hit Delete. (Remember to delete the folder in the Finder as well.) You can only use this trick to sort alphabetically; sorting the list view window by any other column heading won’t change the displayed order in Safari.

July 12 update: Removed reference to Safari Enhancer as a bookmark sorting solution, as it doesn't provide bookmark sorting features.

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