Customise the Safari Bookmarks Bar

Customise the Safari Bookmarks Bar
Mac Tip #384, 13 May 2009

Add your most-visited or most useful websites to the Safari Bookmarks Bar to put them only a keystroke or a single click away.

I’m sure you’ve saved some websites you’ve visited to your list of Bookmarks — it’s handy to get back to them later, as you just choose the site from a list of saved sites.

But do you have some sites that are specially important to you, or that you visit very frequently? Add them to the Bookmarks Bar to make them even easier to reach.

How to add pages to the Bookmarks Bar

  1. Show the Bookmarks Bar in Safari.

    Show the Bookmarks Bar in Safari.

    First make sure the Bookmarks Bar is visible: open Safari and choose Show Bookmarks Bar from the View menu. A grey stripe appears below the Address Bar. It may or may not contain bookmarks already.
  2. To add a new Bookmark visit a web page you want to add, such as
  3. Drag a favicon to the Bookmarks Bar.

    Drag a favicon to the Bookmarks Bar.

    When you are on a page you want to add, drag the favicon down into the Bookmarks Bar. A naming window appears. (Don’t know what a favicon is? I explain below.) Put the most-used bookmarks at the left-hand end for easiest access.
  4. Type a name for the bookmark.

    Type a name for the bookmark.

    Give the Bookmark a name that’s useful to you. If you keep it really short then you can fit more Bookmarks in the visible view. You can still access Bookmarks that don’t fit by clicking the Show more bookmarks arrows at the right-hand end of the Bookmarks Bar.

How to use the bookmarks in the Bookmarks Bar

  • Click a Bookmark in the Bookmarks Bar to visit that web page.
  • Type Command (⌘) and a number between 1 and 9 to visit a bookmarked page. Command 1 (⌘ 1) takes you to the leftmost bookmark.
  • Access bookmarks on the Bookmarks Bar but that don’t fit in the window by clicking the arrows at the right-hand end of the Bookmarks Bar. A dropdown list appears that shows all the ‘overflow’ bookmarks.
  • Choose a Bookmark from the Bookmarks > Bookmarks Bar submenu.


Many websites use one particular image as their ‘icon’ or representation. Thanks to PerformanceLogo the icon for the MacTips website is the grey cross with the smiley face inside.

That icon is usually displayed at the left-hand end inside the Address Bar, and is known as a ‘favicon‘, short for ‘favorites icon’. It is also visible in lists of Bookmarks.

Notes: to write this tip I used Safari Version 4 Public Beta (5528.16). Other versions may do things a bit differently. The MacTips logo used to have a red cross, but after the massive earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in February 2011 that seemed inappropriate so it was changed to a grey cross. MacTips comes to you from Wellington, New Zealand.

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  1. ed woznicki said:

    hi. all of a sudden mini-icons have appeared in my bookmark/favorites bar/list. how do I reverse/prevent this from happening? I prefer the little blue ball instead of icon next to favorite name. thank you.

  2. gerald said:

    My wife has a macbook pro, when she adds a bookmark it turns up on my macbook pro.

    why is this.???? regards

  3. Nicky said:

    Not sure if I am at the right place. I need to find something out regarding the Bookmarks Bar of the iPad and how it’s populated. I am a total novice when it comes to iPads. Can I ask my question here? I’m not even keen on publishing it on the website (as it’s a very personal issue), I will be happy if a person at the receiving end replies to my email. Is this possible? If so, I’ll email you my question in my next mail.
    Thank you in advance,

  4. Gerri said:

    I want to remove from the bookmarks bar in popular the websites I don’t want and just save like recipes etc. but I don’t know how as there is no delete. I want popular to save recipes, notes and such and not websites.

    • Gerri said:

      I have an iMac and safari-forgot to include this info.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Gerri, Bookmarks menu – Show All Bookmarks. Click on the Bookmarks menu item in Collections on the left. Then select the Popular folder (the icon, not the word) and press the Delete key on the keyboard (careful: this instantly deletes the folder and everything in it, so if you have the wrong one, it’ll be gone).

      Or to delete items inside the folder click the disclosure triangle beside it to reveal the individual items then select one or more (hold down Shift) and press the Delete key on the keyboard. Again, be careful as they’ll just go with no further warning.

      I hope that helps.



  5. James said:

    I know this is several years old but figured I’d ask anyways.
    Matt, I was wondering if you ever figured out how to get the favicon to show only?

    You can do this in nearly every other browser but not Safari. :/

  6. sherrie perlman said:

    i can not seem to bring up the grey bar under the address bar to see my bookmark bar.i can add bookmarks to the bookmark bar, but i can not see the bar, unless i use the pull down window. does anyone know how to get that grey bar visible under the address bar?i am in safari on a mac x.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Sherrie, this is a puzzle.

      I wonder if you’ve accidentally customized the Toolbar and removed all the buttons etc?

      Can you tell us which version of Safari you’re using (look at About Safari under the Safari menu) and which version of the Mac OS you’re using (look at About This Mac under the Apple menu).?

  7. Carl Croft said:

    M Jordan on 27 May 2009 read and it works. thanks CC

  8. Carl Croft said:

    How do i UNsubscribr from a RSS ?

  9. Claire said:

    Day 2 of owning an Apple Mac and really hoping that I’ve made the right decision going from PC to Mac! All I want to do is add websites to a favourite list (like the extensive one I have in place already on my PC) and be able to view them in their subfolders along side the screen whilst on the web. It seems a really long winded method to have a separate screen for bookmarks that then involves clicking on the link to get the page to come up rather than merely clicking through the folders whilst on the same internet tab. I don’t need to see an image of the particular website I’ve bookmarked in order to know it’s what i want as I will have saved it accordingly. Am i missing something?

  10. marty said:

    I want to know how to have my bookmarks bar shown in safari?

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      See Step 1 above: “First make sure the Bookmarks Bar is visible: open Safari and choose Show Bookmarks Bar from the View menu. “

  11. Janet Wood said:

    HELP! I am trying to find out how to REMOVE bookmarks no longer needed from POPULAR. Any ideas? They have unhappy associations and I no longer need them. They are very upsetting.

    Many thanks

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Open Safari. Choose Bookmarks – Show all Bookmarks. Once the Bookmarks window opens click on Bookmarks menu in the list on the left. On the right that shows all entries in the Bookmarks menu. Scroll down till you see the Popular folder. Click the disclosure triangle to show what’s in the folder. Select any Bookmark and press the Delete key.

      Be careful as the bookmark is deleted instantly. Don’t hold the key down too long. If you delete one you didn’t mean to, choose Command Z to Undo and it will come back.

  12. Kevin Still said:

    Hi there. Is anyone able to help me increase the display font size of the Bookmarks list of folders, webpages and website addresses? The font is very small when I select Bookmarks; Open all bookmarks and I need to increase it to be able to read it easily. Cheers, Kevin

  13. betty said:

    It still didn’t help me find my populars in my bookmarks…I have customize my tool bar and nothing…what did I do and where do I find my populars…they are not showing in bookmarks at all

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      If you have a lot of popular sites and have added them all as I described above then there may not be enough room to show them all.

      In that case you’ll see a small arrow at the right-hand end of the Toolbar. Click that arrow to see the rest of your bookmarks.

      Click the arrow at the right-hand end of the Safari toolbar to see more bookmarks.

  14. Morgan said:

    Thankyou sooooo much! I may be slightly computer illiterate and this helped me immensely. Easy to understand and navigate. Thank you so much!

  15. Miraz Jordan said:

    That sounds like a good system Beryl. It’s always easier to be tidy as you go along than to sort things out later. :-)

  16. Beryl said:

    Hi – I use Safari, and I place all my bookmarks into particular Folders, so that I can go immediately to that folder, for instance folders such as Shopping, Chemists, Exotic Fruits, Medications, etc. This makes for better organisation, and when I want a particular website, I just go to that folder – easier when like me you have possibly a hundred or so favourite website.

    • john sands said:

      hi thats what i,d like to do, add extra websites to my own bookmark name for convenience, being a newby i,m not sure how to ,?? as only had the mac 2 weeks lol, can any none help ,please john.

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  18. Nadia said:

    Actually…I’m extremely dumb. I just realized what I was doing wrong. My bookmarks were being saved to ‘Top Sites’ and whenever I cleared my history, my top sites were also cleared. Great.

    Thanks anyways! :)

  19. Nadia said:

    I seriously don’t know what’s wrong with my bookmarks! I’ve bookmarked so many pages & I don’t see them in the bookmarks bar…I see the ones that my Mac originally had but none of the ones I’ve selected myself. I don’t know what seems to be the problem I’ve searched my whole computer. Nothing ;(. And the option to name it and everything comes up and I even press the “ok” button after selecting “add bookmark.”

    Anyone out there who can help ? Please would be very grateful :)

  20. Miraz Jordan said:

    Carri, I think Safari can have only one row of Bookmarks. The rest appear when you click the ‘overflow’ button at the right-hand end.

  21. Carri said:

    Thanks for the info.
    Do you know if there is a way to make the bookmark bar have two or more rows? If not, I guess I’ll need to just make more categories…..


  22. Miraz Jordan said:

    Choo Tan: I don’t know what you mean by a ‘preview’. When I open my Bookmarks list, eg by clicking on the Bookmarks icon at the left end of the Bookmarks Bar or by choosing Show All Bookmarks from the Bookmarks menu then the Bookmarks page shows up.

    If I choose a specific Bookmark from the Bookmarks menu then that URL just opens up in the browser.

    Can you describe more clearly what actions you take, what happens, and what you expected to happen?

  23. Choo Tan said:

    There is a preview when I open the bookmarks. Can you please tell me how I can remove the Preview, I prefer to straight to the Bookmark list. Thanks.

  24. Lora said:


    Thank you so much! Worked perfectly.


  25. Miraz Jordan said:


    1] Go to Safari’s Bookmarks menu and choose Show all Bookmarks.
    2] Click on Bookmarks Bar under Collections on the left.
    3] At bottom right scroll to Popular and click on the disclosure triangle to open it.
    4] Select the bookmark you no longer require, the press the Delete key on the keyboard.

    That removes the unwanted ‘popular’ bookmark.



    • Barb said:

      Thank you for your help, Miraz. I could not for the life of me figure out how to delete bookmarks!


  26. Lora said:

    Can anyone tell me how to remove an item from the “popular” section on the bookmark bar. I can’t seem to find an answer, or I am just not seeing the answer anywhere. Thanks.

  27. Matt said:

    Is there a way to use the favicon in the bookmark bar, eliminating need for text as is possible in firefox?

  28. Miraz Jordan said:

    Well, Jim, I use OmniWeb myself very often, alongside Safari these days. The Personal Bookmarks Bar on both is still extremely handy.

    I agree that OmniWeb’s method of wrapping the bookmarks onto a second row (and presumably more if required) makes more sense than ‘hiding’ them behind a More button.

  29. Jim Wickman said:

    Well, it sounds like a bunch of work and not too much payoff. I much prefer to forget about Safari and use OmniWeb. It has a sensible approach to having long lists of bookmarks. You don’t have to play the 1,2 …9 and then scroll for the rest game.

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