Moving from Safari to Firefox, and importing bookmarks

After hearing lots of good things about Firefox, a new open source web browser from the Mozilla developers, I’ve decided to try it for a few weeks instead of Apple’s Safari browser. The only problem is that the current version of Firefox doesn’t have the ability to import the XML-based bookmarks file that Safari keeps.

But it’s not a problem thanks to a few minutes with Google.

I started out by reading through the Firefox forums, without any luck. Then I just switched to Google and searched for +safari +bookmarks +file +html and within the first half-dozen results found a link to the free application Safari Bookmarks Extractor. 30 seconds of download and this free application sucked out the 480 bookmarks and 48 folders in my Safari Bookmarks list and turned them into a flat HTML file on my desktop.

Then, in Firefox, I choose Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks, then File -> Import, and selected the new html file. No more than a second or two later they were all imported, and a little drag-and-drop action later (putting things where I wanted them) I have a completely identical bookmark bar and set of bookmarks off the Bookmark menu.

Quickly and easily done! And now I can try another browser and see how it works compared to Safari, which I’ve used as my main browser for at least a year. Want to take the Firefox challenge with me? Write about it here…

25 comments on “Moving from Safari to Firefox, and importing bookmarks

  1. Interesting stuff, Peter. Actually, I’ve just wasted an hour playing with themes and skins and am starting to find the edges of the implementation. Even with the Mac OS X specific themes there are quirks to implementation, and I can’t yet find one that will let me change the background color of the main navbars yet. Further, I’d like to have the address section a bit smaller so that the Google search section is a bit larger, but that’s not an option. (Worse, there’s no search history, a feature I already miss quite a bit).
    Also, I figured out how to change to Firefox as my main browser: I had to go into Safari and set the default browser to Firefox. Weird.
    Ah well, it’s certainly interesting. Will I make it another week with Firefox? Not sure at this point…

  2. migration help

    Does anyone know if there exists a really nice migration doc for Firefox? The reason I ask is that I just ran acrosss this success story but it might not have turned out so well. If there exists a “moving from other browsers to Firefox” doc, we should …

  3. Dave:
    1)You can change the size of the address section via CSS, just ask in the THEMES forum on mozillazine and someone will help you out.
    2) If you open up the History panel (toolbar icon or via “View->Sidebars->History”) at the top there is a “search” texbox where if you start typing it will show the relevent URLs in your history
    Or were you looking for something different?

  4. Jed, thanks for the tips! I’ve gone ahead and posted my wish-list to the Firefox community at mozillazine and we’ll see what answers I get. 🙂
    The equation query box is something I wrote on my own and I’m not willing to share it, using the simple logic that because it’s different and unique, it’s that much more effective. And effective it is: I see 400-600 hits/daily to the mt-comments.cgi URL, but get zero (knock on e-wood) actual spam messages on the Weblog. Sweet. 🙂

  5. Hey, Dave–thanks for the import utility. I decided to move over to Firefox (at least tenatively) tonight but was struggling to figure out how to move over the several hundred bookmarks from Safari.
    You and I worked together briefly while we were both at Purdue a decade or so back. Glad to see you’re still keeping up the great work.

  6. Great to connect again with you Johndan! Gosh, has it been a decade since we were in West Lafayette? Wow…
    Btw, I’m back to using Safari for now, and eager to pop the new beta of Safari off the Mac OS X Tiger CDROM that I just got from Apple (shhh) which apparently has a built-in RSS subsystem too.

  7. I tried the bookmark import with Firefox preview release 1.0 and SafariBookmark Extractor as described above.
    Firefox asks me to click the Import from file radio button….but when I hit ‘Next’…nothing happens…no import…no nothing. (Tried restarting first, too).

  8. I have the same problem with the disappearing File > Import Box. Got all excited to try out the new Firefox, but can’t use any of my old bookmarks…

  9. I’m rolling with Firefox version 1.0 Preview Release now!
    You can import Safari bookmarks with an older build of Firefox. When you then run Firefox PR1 old bookmarks have been imported.

  10. Guys,
    Read DTs post. He doesn’t use the main File > Import ,
    he uses “I choose Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks, then File -> Import, and selected the new html file.”

  11. I’m using Firefox 1.0 Preview release running on Mac OS 10.3.5, and I get the same prob (and yes i’m using the Bookmarks -> Manage Bookmarks way, Cyndi :p )
    guess i’ve gotta try Mike’s workaround…

  12. Just read your instructions for importing Safari bookmarks into Firefox. Problem is I don’t have a Manage Bookmarks, then File -> Import. It just says orgnanize bookmarks. So are you talking about an earlier or later version of Firefox??? I have

  13. I’m having the same problem, on a Mac. There is no “manage bookmarks” in Mac Firefox – it’s in Bookmarks/Organize Bookmarks, where you then click the button at the top of the dialog box with the star on it, and choose “Import Html”. You then get a dialog box that allows you to browse your computer for the bookmark html file. You can export this to your desktop from your Safari. So far so good, but this is when things fall apart. You choose to “Open” your .html file you’ve exported from Safari, the dialog box closes, then… nothing. Bookmarks remain the same. Very frustrating. I’m using Safari 3.2.1 and Firefox 3.0.5, both for Mac obviously. Both absolutely up to date. Anyone?

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