Here’s how to use the free XBrowserSync tool to keep all your bookmarks synchronized and your internet life simplified.
Google Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge all offer their own built-in tools to synchronize your bookmarks across different computers. But these tools work only within each specific browser. If you use all three browsers, you need a way to keep your bookmarks in sync among all of them. For that task, you can turn to a free utility called xBrowserSync.
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By installing the xBrowserSync extension, your bookmarks are synchronized among the different browsers on all your systems. Make a change in one browser and on one system, and it propagates to the other browsers on your other systems.
The program works in both Windows and macOS but only with Chrome, Firefox and Edge; no support for Safari. On the mobile front, XBrowserSync is available as an app for Android but not for iOS/iPadOS. The Android app displays a list of all your bookmarks. Clicking on any bookmark opens the site in your default browser. Here’s how it works.
How to install xBrowserSync in Google Chrome
Let’s start with Google Chrome. First, make sure that the bookmarks in Chrome are organized and arranged the way you want. Remove any bookmarks you no longer need. Move stray bookmarks into folders if necessary. Second, you’ll need to disable Google’s own bookmark synchronization if you’ve enabled it because Google’s sync process can conflict with that of xBrowserSync.
Open the XBrowserSync website where you can read about the product. When you’re ready, click the Download button and then click the button for Chrome Store. At the xBrowserSync Chrome Store page, click the button to Add to Chrome. Select the button to Add Extension.
After the installation has finished, click the Extensions icon at the top and click on the pin icon to see xBrowserSync on the toolbar. Then click its toolbar icon to kick off the setup process. At the first window, click Continue (Figure A).
xBrowserSync asks for permission to read and change data on the websites you visit. Click Allow. Click the toolbar icon again to continue the setup. Click Next for each screen that appears. At the final screen, click the Got It link. At the next screen, you’ll need to create an encryption password to protect and secure your bookmarks. As usual, you’ll want to cook up a password that’s complex and secure but not difficult to remember. Enter the password and click Next (Figure B).
Type the password again to confirm it and then click Sync. Answer yes when the program tells you it will delete all local bookmarks before restoring synced bookmarks. xBrowserSync syncs your local bookmarks.
Now, you want to be able to access your synchronized bookmarks. The easiest way is to display the bookmarks toolbar. In Chrome, go to Settings, scroll down the screen and turn on the switch for Show bookmarks bar. At the bookmarks toolbar, click the button for Other bookmarks and hover over the entry for [xbs Menu]. You’ll then see the folders and icons for all your bookmarks (Figure C).
How to sync bookmarks from xBrowserSync in Microsoft Edge
Next, let’s segue to Edge, specifically the Chromium version of Edge as Microsoft no longer supports the legacy edition. First, make sure you disable Edge’s own internal favorites synchronization if already enabled. There is no xBrowserSync extension for Edge in the Microsoft Store. But since the browser supports Chrome extensions, you can pick up it up at the Chrome Web Store. Go directly to the Chrome store page for xBrowserSync. The first time you do this, you’ll have to click the button at the top for Allow extensions from other stores. Then follow the same steps to install the extension in Edge as you did for Chrome.
After the installation, click the xBrowserSync toolbar icon in Edge and go through the setup screens. But when you get to the screen that prompts you to enter an encryption password, click the link for Already Got a Sync ID (Figure D).
The next screen asks you to enter your Sync ID. You can find that easily enough. Go back to Chrome and click the xBrowserSync toolbar icon. Click the Settings icon. Then click the string for Sync ID. (Don’t worry, you won’t have to type that string) (Figure E).
The next screen displays a QR code you can use with the xBrowserSync Android app. More easily, though, just copy and paste the ID. Click the button to Copy Sync ID to Clipboard (Figure F).
Return to Edge and paste the string in the Sync ID field. Type the password you previously created. Then click the Sync button (Figure G). Your bookmarks in Edge are synced with your bookmarks from Chrome via xBrowserSync.
Accessing your synced bookmarks in Edge works the same as in Chrome. Go to Settings and select the category for Appearance. Click the dropdown menu for the setting for Show Favorites Bar and set it to Always. On the Favorites toolbar, click the button for Other Favorites, hover over the entry for [xbs Menu] to see the folders and icons for all your bookmarks (Figure H).
How to sync bookmarks from xBrowserSync in Firefox
Finally, open Firefox and disable the browser’s internal bookmark syncing if you had previously activated it. Browse to the XBrowserSync page at the Firefox Browser Add-ons site. Click the button to Add to Firefox. Add the extension and then click OK. After installation, click the xBrowserSync toolbar icon. The process is then the same as it was for Microsoft Edge. Follow each screen.
At the screen that prompts you to enter an encryption password, click the link for Already Got a Sync ID. At the screen that asks you to enter your Sync ID, copy and paste the Sync ID from the xBrowserSync settings screen in either Chrome or Edge and then enter your password. Click Sync (Figure I). Your bookmarks are then synced from xBrowserSync to Firefox.
Accessing your bookmarks is a bit easier in Firefox than in Chrome or Edge as you can add a Bookmarks icon directly to the toolbar. Click the hamburger icon for the Application Menu and select the setting for Customize Toolbar. Drag the icon for Bookmarks Menu onto the toolbar. Click that icon and you’ll see all your bookmarks (Figure J).
How to install xBrowserSync on an Android device
Download and install the xBrowserSync app from Google Play. The first time you open the app, tap Next to go through each of the initial setup screens. At the screen to Scan Your Sync ID, tap the button for Scan ID. On Chrome, Edge or Safari on your desktop PC, click the xBrowserSync toolbar icon, select the Settings icon, and then click the Sync ID string. Hover your Android device over the QR code to scan the ID. On your mobile device, enter your xBrowserSync password (Figure K).
Tap the bullet point icon in the xBrowserSync app and select the entry for Menu bookmarks. Tap a specific bookmark, and it opens in your default browser (Figure L).