Backup / Export Bookmarks from Firefox 12

Click any screenshot pix below to enlarge.

Sometimes if testing web services for browser compatibility, my Apple Macbook 10.6.8 is fine when testing with Safari, Opera and Google Chrome.

IBM System i menu.
Mouseless menu.

Lately, i’ve found that my old stand-by browser was always my favorite, step forward Firefox. Just loaded version 12 which looks the same as previous versions. I have a shed load of history and old bookmarks in my Firefox browser history and bookmark sections. These are useful in a java tool I am writing called a ‘mouseless menu’ system. Gonna put it up on GitHub as Open Source so it might be useful to some old IBM dogs that were familiar with the old green screen menu systems of IBM System i, AS/400’s,S/38’s, S/36’s and IBM System 3’s. Peek at pix right to see what these old IBM menus looked like. Green text on black background was all the rage back in the good old days !

So i wanted to find out how to export and save all those URL’s. After much searching, found this: http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/Backing-up-restoring-bookmarks. It says :


Backup and restoring

Manual backup

  1. On the menu bar, click Bookmarks and select Show All Bookmarks to open the Library window.

  2. In the Library window, click the e3f62ffc25d52f883aa490cc65d71e2d-1252097598-804-1.png Import and Backup button and then select Backup….
  3. In the Bookmarks backup filename window that opens, choose a location to save the file, which is named bookmarks-“date”.json by default. The desktop is usually a good spot, but any place that is easy to remember will work.
  4. Save the bookmarks json file. The Bookmarks backup filename window will close and you can close the Library window.

Here are some screenshots :

To work with bookmarks, click Bookmarks in the menu. this should offer you a sub menu like this. Then click Show All Bookmarks to follow the trail to the next step.

See that button top left that looks like a Star ? Click that to open a sub-menu with options. Because the tool i’m writing can consume HTML, i clicked the Export Bookmarks To HTML choice.

Here you can see the Save As menu from my Apple.Typically, i export and import lots of stuff to my downloads folder. I know i can go back later and delete those items as they are typically short-lived. The Firefox export feature suggests a filename of bookmarks.html and as that is ok with me i click SAVE button, then run my tools over the exported HTML file.

Another alternative is to do a backup of all your bookmarks. Follow the same steps as above,but click the BACKUP menu item.

A Save As menu dialog opens with a suggested filename of the word bookmarks plus the date of this backup. Note that you can change the filename and folder locations to suit your work habits. Also note that the format of text within this file is JSON which is convenient for almost all browsers to work with. I have not tried to export a Firefox set of bookmarks and import them into another browser. I’ll leave that exercise for another sunday :}


I never did find out how to export the history of visited websites. Perhaps i’ll leave that for yet another sunday ! Oh, No I didn’t – just read that we cannot export browsing history. Aw, shucks, ma !

Here are short bits of the exported bookmarks.html and json versions so you can see how complex these formats can be…

bookmarks-2012-04-29.json
bookmarks.html
bookmarks.html

5 thoughts on “Backup / Export Bookmarks from Firefox 12

  1. The windows version of Mozbackup let you choose what you want to backup and export, including bookmarks, add-ons, history and cache?! I haven’t tried to backup firefox 12, but it accepted an restore from an earlier version without problems

  2. We had a major crash and then learned that the bookmarks never backed up. is there somewhere they are saved in the program files itself?

  3. This was tricky – why on earth would they move the import/export? It should be right off the bookmark menu, not under “Show all bookmarks.” I already had all the bookmarks showing in the left hand side panel so why would I think I need to Show all Bookmarks again? They’re already showing. But lo and behold, it brings up some different dialog box. And why would I expect the exporting to be under “Show all bookmarks”? They made this way harder to use and less intuitive when they did this.

    But anyway, it saves ALL your bookmarks, even if you just wanted to save the bookmarks of only one folder. Any idea how to save just one folder of bookmarks? Other than opening up the HMTL file and manually deleting the unwanted folders?

    1. Yes, we agree. This approach has made it much harder for a novice to discover the ways and mysteries of the bookmarking system, hence the post on it. Have also tried to discover a way to export a single selected sub-folder to no avail. Perhaps some bright spark will write an add-on to do this. :}

  4. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with
    the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Thank you!

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