How to fix your Google Chrome bookmarks if you can’t stand the new “enhanced design”

by Stephen Cobb on April 26, 2015

Has Google messed up your Chrome bookmarks with its “new, improved” bookmark system? Don’t panic! You can fix it and go back to the way things were, where your bookmarks are organized the way YOU want.

The obscure but simple fix is described below (this works as of April 27, 2015). If you want to know more about the “Enhanced Bookmark” changes that Google has been forcing onto users, scroll down below these steps or click here.

(Note: I am certainly not the first person to describe this fix. That’s because Google has been rolling out the new “enhanced” bookmark to Chrome users over time, for several months. Indeed, you might not have seen the new bookmark interface yet, but now you know what the fuss is about.)

Steps to return your Chrome bookmarks to the normal folder arrangement

1. Go to chrome://flags > by typing chrome://flags in the URL bar and tapping Enter. You should see something like this, with one of the worst warning messages you will ever read in any software ever (don’t those self-important “user interface enhancement” nerds at Google realize browsers are no joking matter!):

chrome-flags

2. Find the “enhanced bookmarks” setting by using Find (Control/Command + F) and typing enhanced bookmark as seen here (the auto-fill will find it as you type):

search-enhanced-bookmarks

3. Use the blue drop down box control to Change the setting to Disabled, as seen above.

Note: You should not make changes to any other settings on this page unless you are sure of what the effects will be. That part of the warning is appropriate.

4. Make sure there is no unsaved work in any of the pages you have open in Chrome and then click the Relaunch button at the bottom of the page:

restart-chrome

That should make sure your Chrome bookmarks look the way they always have, so when you look at a bookmark it looks like this:

proper-chrome-bookmark

If you haven’t yet seen the new “enhanced” Google Chrome bookmark it looks like this:

google-chrome-enhanced-bookmark

Now you know how to make it go away, I will explain why I think this new system is bad, and why forcing it onto Chrome users was a really dumb move by Google, not to mention arrogant.

What the flip did Google do to my bookmarks in Chrome?

your-choices-chrome-bookmarkApart from gobbling up screen real estate, the new user interface for bookmarks in Chrome severely limits your organizational options. For example, it appears to offer no way to choose the folder for the bookmark other than the choices it suggests.

For example, there is a very specific folder on my system for pages related to something called HIMSS, but that folder does not appear as a choice, and I can’t get to it from this box.

Google says I have to put the bookmark in the Bookmarks Bar or the Sysadmin folder (seriously, WTF has Sysadmin got to do with HIMSS).

But Stephen, what about the “VIEW ALL BOOKMARKED ITEMS” option, you ask. Oh no, you don’t want to go there, because “there” is where you see just how badly Google has messed up your carefully curated bookmarks, about 15 years’ worth of bookmarks in my case, maybe even more for you.

I mean there I was, cheerfully bookmarking pages in Chrome, gathering material for a research project in the third module of my Criminology degree course, saving the pages in: Mobile Bookmarks > MSc > Module 3. Then boom! Some arrogant, “I understand users better than you” expert at Google, says “Stephen, your system sucks, try this!” And here is a glimpse of what you see when you view all bookmarks in the new in-your-face interface:

chrome-bookmark-tiles

Believe me when I tell you that no amount of scrolling down the list on the left takes me to “Mobile Bookmarks > MSc > Module 3”. That structure is just not there. And I will add more thoughts about that on this page when I have calmed down. For now, I want to put this “fix” out there. If you want to come back for more, please bookmark this page (he said with no trace of irony at all, honest).

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth April 29, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Perfect! Thanks.

Reply

Gerry Quinn May 30, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Thanks! You have saved my sanity!

Reply

Kathy June 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Just what I needed. Thanks!

Reply

Gentle Enigma June 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Thanks ! Easy to follow.

Reply

Pete December 9, 2015 at 11:04 pm

Thanks, this has been driving me nuts for a free days since chrome “upgraded” on my Android tablet!

Reply

Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: