Google Chrome 42’s awful new bookmark manager (and how to switch it off)

UPDATE: Friday 29 December 2017

Google have again updated the bookmark manager and this time it’s really rather good. It has the Material design but it now works the way I expect it to.

I’ve updated the blog title to make it clear that this post was referring specifically to Chrome 42.

UPDATE: Monday 22 June 2017

Google is ripping out Chrome’s awful new bookmark manager

Great news! Google have listened and the new bookmark manager that sparked so much panic and upset is being removed from future versions of Chrome.

For those who did like it, you can use the Bookmark Manager plugin.

ORIGINAL POST: Yesterday my copy of Google Chrome updated at work. It rolled over from version 41 to version 42. No big deal, I thought. Until I went to reorganise my bookmarks…

Google Chrome's new bookmarks manager
Google Chrome’s new bookmarks manager

What the…?!

To my surprise, Google Bookmarks had gone all Material.

My initial response was positive. It looks pretty. The thumbnails look like they could be useful. And I’m generally in favour of Google’s aim to standardise the look and feel of their web applications (whether Chrome OS, web-based, or Android).

But then I tried to reorganise my bookmarks.

It was a nightmare.

As silly as it sounds, I genuinely began to panic. And then started my out-loud commentary to the rest of the office about just how awful an experience it was.

My workflow

Whenever I spot something useful I quickly bookmark it to a folder called “Check out”.

Then every day or two I sort the bookmarks (A–Z) so that the sub-folders move to the top, and I can find the bookmarked page titles more easily.

Then I organise these bookmarks into 3 sub-folders:

  1. Action
  2. Keep track on…
  3. Watch or listen

I often bulk-select items with shift + click.

Truly awful user experience

But with the new, redesigned bookmarks manager this was virtually impossible to do:

  • The sort alphabetically option was missing.
  • I couldn’t bulk select a group of bookmarks: I would have to click each bookmark separately.
  • I couldn’t drag and drop bookmarks. I had to use some awful and clunky, dynamic drop-down-style interface to select which folder to move them to.

This was without a doubt the worst user experience I have encountered in a long time. It was awful. Utterly, utterly awful.

After about five minutes I gave up. Of the 40 or so bookmarks in “Check out” I had moved maybe six or seven. I didn’t have forty minutes to spare just to move bookmarks. Life is too short.

“This redesign has killed my productivity,” I complained to no-one in particular.

After seriously considering moving to another browser, I went looking for a fix… but not before writing some strongly worded feedback to Google.

This isn’t a new complaint

Negative feedback about this new, card-style design isn’t new. It goes as far back as December.

Computer World reported it on 1 December 2014 in an article entitled, Card-style display displeases users who see it pop up in their beta builds. The article notes that

when Google asked for feedback, it got a thumbs down from most users.

How to fix it

My first port of call was the Google Chrome flags page (chrome://flags). This hidden section contains settings that control experimental features of Chrome.

Sure enough, it was there, so I disabled it. Restarted Chrome and sanity was restored.

Enable Enhanced Bookmarks now set to Disabled.
Enable Enhanced Bookmarks now set to Disabled.
  1. In your address bar type: chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment and hit Enter. (Or right-click that link and select Copy link address.)
  2. Change the drop down to Disabled.
  3. Restart Google Chrome.
  4. Your bookmarks manager should now be the familiar, sortable, draggable version.

Why Google? Why?!

What I can’t understand though is why—even after all that negative feedback in December during the beta phase—Google still pushed out this car crash of a design to the stable channel.

In the Google Material guidelines it says,

At Google we say, “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” We embrace that principle in our design by seeking to build experiences that surprise and enlighten our users in equal measure.

Well, that certainly surprised me. But it certainly didn’t address any of my user stories—it didn’t allow me to work productively. In fact, it did the opposite: it slowed me down, the interface got in the way of what I wanted to do.

I’m not unilaterally against a Material-style design of the bookmarks manager. But it needs to work more efficiently. Something along the lines of how files may be ordered in Google Drive would be a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, I’m sorry Google—I don’t often complain about your stuff—but in this case, after only five minutes I stopped your experiment and returned to sanity.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

134 thoughts on “Google Chrome 42’s awful new bookmark manager (and how to switch it off)”

  1. As I remarked on other posts, don’t get too cozy with the disable flag fix. It’s only a temporary reprieve. Remember the outcry against the new ‘New Tab Page’? The response was just as negative and Google ignored us then as they are doing now. There used to be a flag to disable the new ‘New Tab Page’. Google removed that flag a few months later. You can bet that they will remove this one as well. Our only hope is a savior in the form of an extension.

    1. Oh indeed. In fact, I meant to mention that in my post. I can only hope that Google sees sense.

      You know, if I had the time to migrate a couple of Trello plugins that I use all the time to Opera, I’d probably move back to Opera in a flash.

  2. Excellent points. What were they thinking? Lead and they will follow? This is not the field of dreams.
    Thank you for your thoughtful article. You have restored sanity in the Google world. Great service to the Google community.
    I bookmarked for article and it went right were I directed it to go. I did not need to hunt for it. Many, many thanks.

  3. Thanks, you’re my hero!!! New bookmarks are truly awful and disgusting. Fortunately, with your advice I could turn them off… Thanks!

  4. Thank you for this article. I thought I was stuck with my newly updated and annoying bookmark feature. It was good to know that I wasn’t the only one who hated it. Also, I had no idea that I had the option to revert back to the original bookmark format. Your instructions were a pleasant and useful surprise.

    Thanks again

  5. I couldn’t agree more…thanks for voicing this so well. They lost people with their first “forced change” and they will loose me with this one if they force the issue…

  6. I don’t know what happened. I installed Firefox because the new bookmarks in Chrome are BAD. Then go back and re-installed Chrome and boom! I have the old bookmarks.

    Are old bookmarks default again?

  7. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one. I have about 50 folders and 1500 bookmarks. It’s just the worst experience I’ve had in years on a computer.

  8. Well s#%t, mine was already disabled when I got there. I renabled, relaunched chrome, ugly manager still there, disabled it, relaunched chrome, still there. Looks like I’m stuck with it.

    1. I had to open task manager and forcibly close all the “invisible” Chrome minions running – then when I restarted Chrome, my old bookmarks were back.

  9. Well, well well. This is help from Google in weaning myself off of their services : ) 3 months or less to find a second brower. First browser of choice is Mozilla Firefox, but I need a second option.

    Because of the search, history and tracking I like to avoid MS and Google, no need to help them profile me. This is what makes Firefox and hushmail my top choices for browser and email, their stance on privacy. I have an desktop application that ties down my Firefox use for business, and I want something else for the general surfing to keep things separate.

    I’d be very interested to hear what options others are considering.

  10. As with everything Google/Gmail does these days, this is just another example of extraordinarily retarded crap.

    I could almost swear there’s a bunch of prepubescent, empty-headed teens (or the mentally handicapped) running things there, because everything is AWFUL and has been for at least the last year or so, if not longer.

    And you know what? The Google/Gmail people LOVE IT when they can screw things up as much as possible to see how many people they can aggravate and irritate until they flush them entirely.

    Let me be amongst the first to bid the loser team of Google and Gmail good riddance.

    Hello Firefox. Hello StartMail.

  11. Thanks, I hope it works, I haven’t restarted yet but will after this. They made an important function more than useless, they had me bookmarking goofy stuff I didn’t mean to by accident. Sheeesh!

  12. Many Thanks
    I just went into bookmarks manager to do a small edit to find the new google nightmare. And another hour wasted. Your article was a saviour.

  13. You can’t open a page in incognito mode either. You have to open the page in normal mode and copy paste it because you can’t copy paste the link in the bookmarks either.

  14. As an autistic person, I was horrified by the new bookmark experience, it was an assault on the visual sense, and I will never be able to use it as it is, I was unable to find any of my bookmarks, the add a bookmark feature was utter garbage and after reading that this had been in beta where it received a thumbs down from an overwhelming majority of users, and yet was still promoted to the stable version, I decided right then and there I was done with Google Chrome, , before this, I had only one minor issue with Chrome and loved it. I switched browsers because this “experience” is an absolute deal breaker for anything I use.

  15. I’m so glad I found your article and that your solution worked! My Chrome system just today installed the inefficient and unfriendly “add bookmark box” without also giving me the interface that shows “cards” for bookmark names. While I still had the list version when I went into Bookmark Manager, the new “add bookmark” function made me want to scream since it is slow and hard to use. I had sub-categories in my bookmarks and this new version required way too many clicks to get to where I needed to place my new bookmark. Then if I “missed” my chosen location or when I didn’t quite understand what I was doing, the new bookmarks went into a catch-all folder, “Other Bookmarks”. How would I find them later if I hadn’t check today to see what the system was doing?
    I hope you’re right that if/when they take off the flag that someone will add an extension. Else, this will be too cumbersome for me to keep using.
    Is there a place to send Google feedback?

  16. With as much love for what Google provides, this bookmark change was awful. lol. So bad.

    It makes we wonder. What kind of Q&A User Experience testing they do?

    There must be a large enough group of users who liked the new version during testing so much, that Google said, “Launch it.”

    Are we just a minority in missing was great on the chrome bookmark manager compared to those user? WOW!

    Thank you for the great and easy solution!!!

  17. I was appalled when all the sudden my (fairly) easy to navigate Bookmarks were ‘all pretty’ – Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

    Your article saved what little was left of my sanity so Thanks for writing it!!!

  18. What really angered me was how easy it was to erase stuff that I did not want erased, you could not find your ‘other bookmarks’ folders (JUST the folders inside ‘other bookmarks’), and finally, I could not find my ‘Mobile bookmarks’.

    Horrible to say the least. I will use your quick fix for now.

  19. Thank you . My all mobile bookmarks were shown under ‘Auto Folders’ and i was gone nuts . Finally i can see all bookmarks sorted . this new material design bookmark doesnt show bookmarks from mobile at all . thank you mate

  20. Thanks a lot. I hated the “new” bookmark version. Ugly design and removable of ordering are the worst mistakes. Anyway, now I know how to get undo their mistakes.

  21. Thanks for providing this fix. I use the bookmark organize feature. I get tired of companies changing functionality just so I can learn to do the same thing differently.

  22. Thanks for saving me. I was screaming at my computer over these stupid new improvements. I bet it affects those of us who organize bookmarks a lot the most.

  23. First off, many thanks for providing this fix. I, too, was appalled finding the “New Look”. I must have thousands of bookmarks on dozens, maybe hundreds of folders. They are usually nested folders — folders within folders, 3 or more deep. There was no way so see the folders in the new system as I could with the previous file-base system. It was a nightmare, and I immediately reacted by sending Google several ‘Hate it’ reviews, and swearing I would be soon expunging myself of Google. It’s so good to get back the old file system bookmarks manager(!), but I won’t be lulled into non-action to find an alternative, especially with the opening comment that forewarned of forced re-establishing the “New Look”.

    Ironically, the great thing about Chrome was that it won, hands down, as the best bookmarking interface, beating the only other two browsers that I am familiar with — Safari and Firefox. Safari is a total train wreck when it comes to bookmarking — and Firefox, though better, did not offer the accessible file-based view that Chrome did. It’s so strange that Google would ruin something that was working so well — unless there was a reason to initiate the new format.

    That reason may be that Google wants to require all bookmarks to be in their cloud, so that they would be easier to surveil. It’s no conspiracy theory, anymore, that Google and the NSA/CIA are intricately related, and if the new format makes snooping bookmarks easier, voilá, that could be the reason.

    Which leads me to the question, though apparent that the new bookmarks are in the cloud, I had perhaps foolishly thought that with the previous system, bookmarks were only locally stored unless the cloud was enabled. Are the old bookmarks only locally stored unless cloud enabled?

    So I will be jettisoning Google as soon as I line up the alternatives. It was good to see Hushmail, Smartmail, Firefox, and Opera mentioned. I just discovered that there is a trove of other alternative browsers, for anyone who cares to search.

    1. Bookmarks were definitely in the cloud before. That was actually one reason that I used Chrome: I could sync my bookmarks between my desktop PC, laptop, work PC and Android phone.

      I’m liking the look of Opera. There are a couple of plugins that I really need before I consider moving to Opera, but I do fancy seeing if I can port them.

  24. Words cannot convey how very grateful I was when I happened upon your “fix”.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    In light of what i am reading in these posts, I intend to copy my Google bookmarks elsewhere and perhaps go back to IE.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  25. Your post made me laugh because I also had a similar moment of rage in the office before I very quickly swapped back to the original.

    Someone with *common* sense needs to reign in the MD guys at google, this is only one in a series of botched releases.
    NOTE: flashy != functional

  26. Thank you so much for this article! I wanted to cry trying to use the new bookmark design. It took me forever to figure out how to add new bookmarks! Why, in this age of over-streamlining everything to the point of frustration, would Google decide to over-complicate creating and managing bookmarks?! It boggles my mind.

  27. use this link better for your article dude : chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment
    next time make a better research,so you dont make yourself a fool.

  28. Bless your heart! I JUST experienced this disaster (I wish you could have seen the LOOK on my face) and IMMEDIATELY Google’d what the HECK was going on. Luckily, I came across your post and I feel much better now. LOL. I’ll take the victory even if it’s temporary…

  29. You just saved my life!!! I tried to organize my bookmarks this morning and you know after trying a few minutes I had to give up… It was an AWFUL AWFUL experience! So thankful that Google still has the excellent search engine then I saw your post… Thank you!

  30. Oh, thank you! Truly awful, I agree, and I wasn’t even trying to do anything fancier than bookmark pages directly to a specific folder (I have a lot of folders).

    I used to just select the folder from a long dropdown list – now it is click, click, scroll, click some more….so annoying. I was ready to move back over to FireFox for my go-to browse because I use bookmarks a lot.

  31. I performed your workaround then I exported all Chrome Bookmarks to the Pale Moon Browser , since I do not expect google to not fix . Ps-( many with Microsoft Title MVP title are using Pale Moon Browser and so am I

  32. Thanks so much! I breathe a sign of relief to have that stupid system disabled. How can they possibly think the ‘new’ bookmarks way is better? All the bookmarks I’ve made in the last few weeks since this better (???BETA???) version came in are lost somewhere in the inappropriate folders I had to send them to:- pretty pictures don’t do the job – sorting into folders does!

  33. Thanks so much for this post – you saved my sanity!
    Like you, I too was appalled to find that the bookmarks page of Chrome had been subjected to such flagrant hooliganism!
    I used your work-around and was relieved to get back to the old format – but for how long? Do you think Google will be so enamoured of their wonderful “Material” approach that they will withdraw the old style completely?
    There seems to be a trend here. I am a great fan of Grand Prix motor racing and I use the website a lot especially when I travel around the world for my job and can’t always get to watch the races.
    This season, decided to update their website and the result, which obviously cost them a small fortune, was an appalling mess of big brand graphics which was all about presentation and little about information. It looks more like a girls’ designer handbag shop than a serious sporting portal. You now have to scroll down endless screen-width graphics to find the important information that fans like me have come to expect from the site.
    Don’t talk to me about ad-agencies ☹
    I hope Google and formula1 come to their senses and start listening to their customers again.

  34. I am so relieved to have found your article! I just went to my bookmark manager to save something, and lo and behold, what a mess. Like you, I went quickly to panic mode, and then started searching for fixes. The poster who said this is a temporary fix is no doubt right! How as a community do we get to Google to express our indignation, frustration, anger; and what do we need to do so that they listen. This tool is to be just that–not jumbled up mess.
    Is there any easy way to transfer my bookmarks to a Word folder?

  35. Thanks for the fix.

    I didn’t mind it so much outside of not being able to quickly pin a bookmark to my Bookmark bar. I had to bookmark it, open bookmarks, click on “all”, then drag it over. Seems kind of stupid and something Apple would do for old people, ie. stuff I deal with every day.

  36. The automatic folders aren’t very helpful. I got my stuff automatically sorted into starred (=automatic) folders called things like “and” and “with”, because the site names included the words “and” or “with”. That’s not particularly helpful! Who invented this, and why?

  37. Thank you so much for taking the time & effort to publish this fix.
    I much prefer the compact old style bookmarks page where so much more is visible without having to endlessly scroll to search & where drag and drop is easy to accomplish, so I didn’t even try to use the new bookmarks before looking for a fix.
    Thank goodness it was so easy to implement a reversal thanks to your simple instructions.

  38. Same here ! What a painful experience. It is as if the designer never used bookmarks before … Thanks for the tip you saved my day!

  39. Thanks for this tip! I went to my bookmarks manager for the first time since they made this change, just to update alphabetical sorting. I couldn’t believe such a basic way of organising wasn’t listed.

    Goog’s official help page, simply states it’s no longer possible with your version of Chrome! Hah! I almost switched browsers before seeing this post.

  40. thanks for this post, i just got the new style bookmark and this blog helped me disable it back to normal. thanks!

  41. Thanks for saving me!

    This update can be called a lot of things, but definitely not an enhancement. It wasn’t better in any way.

  42. Thank you for the fix. I often place my bookmarks in ABC order and when I found out I couldn’t do this I was dumbfounded. There are some other things about the new chrome update that seems to go backwards as well such as how you turn off the op up blocker on particular sites.

  43. Thanks for the advice, I was seriously panicking. I obviously knew about the new bookmarks for a while, but only needed to get a new bookmarks folder today, couldn’t do it! Can’t be bothered figuring out how, it’s clearly not so simple. You got further than me. In the past a four year old could do it, not now. Let’s make a simple system more complicated and inefficient, hey Google? It seems like they followed the example of Yahoo Mail, who screwed up the user mail interface there big time. The thing is Google get away with this crap because they know it’s a nightmare to move all your bookmarks to a new browser. Big Time Fail Google. Ever heard of ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’? Clearly not. Bloody morons.

  44. I can not thank you enough for posting this fix. I am an avid bookmark user and I was panicking about this awful non user friendly new version. I promptly disabled per your steps and now I am calm and happy again!!

  45. I nearly died trying to get all my research links back in the “new” Chrome. A shoddy piece of work. Google could at least have a blog post announcing the change is an experiment and give users the option to stay put. Very unfriendly and unprofessional. Thank you for the fix – I’m now back to normal.

  46. Hi Gareth,

    This is one of the most useful blogs I have ever read. Very many thanks for this. You deserve a medal.

  47. oh thank-you oh thank-you! my bookmarks page is back to normal. I was getting so stressed trying to sort it. i truly appreciated your helpful advice, it was fixed in a jiffy, thanks again

  48. The new bookmarking seems impossible to understand or use without reading a whole tutorial on it. I switched back to the classic. Thanks Gareth! And if it becomes a permanent chrome feature then I’ll be switching to foxfire or opera, or maybe even… EDGE – yeh, that’s how disappointed I am in the new bookmarking.

  49. Thanks for the restore tip Gareth. After numerous aborted attempts to understand the new system, it’s good to have the old system back. Structure has returned to my bookmarks! Now to find all the bookmarks that were accidentally moved to other folders when I attempted to reorder them.

  50. Thank you so much for this! I absolutely HATE the new interface. I find it incredibly inefficient and migraine-inducing. One feature that really drives me up a wall is the “suggested folder” instead of the last used folder. It has been incorrect every single time and when saving a bunch of sites to the same folder I have to navigate and find the folder each and every time(a nightmare since I am an organization freak and have a million sub-folders). You have saved my sanity.

  51. OMG I’m SOO glad i found this, thank youuu!!
    This new bookmarks thing was driving me insane, i was just like ‘WTF is going on?? How’s it like this now??’ And i couldnt save links into the right folder it was just a mess, i hated it with a passion! I just wanted it back the way it was yi know. So i’m just SO glad i found this, and did it, and now its all back to normal and its familiar again, the way i like it! 😀

  52. I want to test out the new bookmark manager and I’m updated to the latest chrome version but the bookmarks won’t update. I’m stuck on the old version of the bookmarks and I didn’t tamper with the settings. I’ve tried uninstalling it multiple times and it says chrome is on the latest version. HELP!!!

  53. I agree! I just spent the last two hours – trying to organize my folders in the new bookmark manger, accidentally deleting ALL my bookmarks (how, I have no clue, as I only selected one folder to delete – I thought!), then spending an hour (and panic!!) trying to figure out how to recover said bookmarks, which I did! THEN, I found the page on how to disable this new, horrible UI!!! Truly awful UI!! Thank you for spreading the hate on this one!! I’m so glad I could go back to the older UI, with the folder view, which I am MUCH more comfortable with. Gaaa! Very annoying and a huge waste of time for me. Thank you Google for completely stressing me out and taking away several hours from my life.

  54. First; thank you for the tip on how to fix it.

    Second; this is REALLY awful. You can’t drag folders or re-arrange bookmarks. It is also very unreliable in actually bookmarking pages. Worst new feature in Chrome for a long time.

  55. It’s nearly 2 a.m. and I went crazy when I realized what Google/Chrome had done to my bookmarks! I found your suggested fix and it worked:))) Thank you!!! Shame on Google –

  56. Thanks for the post! I did not really mind the look, but if you have a lot of bookmarks you can’t see them all and it just looks a mess. Not productive!

  57. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!! How could anyone possibly think that eliminating fundamental browser functionality would be a good idea?

    Having spent the last several years dealing with the implementation of Google (mail, docs, apps, etc.) into the enterprise I’ve learned that Google isn’t all too concerned about functionality. They’ve never expressed to us an attitude of “users first”, quite the contrary.

    This isn’t to say that there aren’t cool things in Google’s products, just that they seem to think that serving the needs/wants of their customers is oxymoronic and everybody should just learn to deal with whatever they happen to throw over the fence. You should hear our in-house developers complaining about having to re-do code every time there’s a minor change to Chrome, Google Apps, etc. It’s always a mad scramble restoring functionality.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant. Thanks again for this awesome tip!

  58. And the only sure feedback from Google I can find is that the disabling fix won’t be available indefinitely, Sometime soon this “new, improved bookmarks experience” will be compulsory. Except for those who walk away from Chrome.
    What happened? I used to find Chrome to be user-friendly.

  59. I was SHOCKED when I went to add a bookmark only to find that Chrome had without warning changed their interface. I was searching around the web to see if there was a easier way of adding bookmarks when I came across you “blog”.

    I implemented your solution and IT WORKED! Thank you very much for posting the Google Chrome bookmark fix.

  60. I ditched Chrome in late April, within an hour of having this horrid update pushed into my life. I stumbled upon this blog while searching to find out if Google had come to its senses and restored the old bookmark list functionality (as a fall-back option at the very least). Needless to say, it appears they’ve doubled down on one of the very worst UI experiences I’ve ever had (with their standing threat to remove the disable Flag). Readjusting to Firefox was momentarily aggravating, but far less so than trying to live with Chrome’s bookmark disaster would have been.

    I had switched from Firefox to Chrome only last year since Google seemed to be updating it with useful (and useable!) capabilities faster than Mozilla. It was a fun ride while it lasted, but with Google’s true colors on full display here it will be a long time before I entrust them with anything more than a disposable email account. How could anyone trust them with an entire OS after a stunt like this with just a browser?…

  61. You sir are a god send cause I’ve been bitching at google for weeks about there awful new bookmarks manager and have been trying to find a way to change it back for just as long. I followed the steps and everything is back to the way it was before they “improved” it. I have almost 250 bookmarks and keeping them organized it a must. I am the type of person that has folders inside of folders just to keep my stuff in order, and like you, tend to highlight many things at once and i can now do that again. I also copy and past bookmarks(well folders because i have folders that are named the same only in other main folders) and i can do that again where i couldn’t with the “New and improved” bookmark manager. So i thank you for your help in keeping my head from exploding out of frustration.

  62. Thanks so much for posting this…
    after years of using Chrome,
    the ruined bookmarks interface is a total deal breaker for me,
    I do not agree with the design philosophy
    (did it start with Apple?) that the customer does not know best,
    and that they know and should dictate how the users interact with and use the product. Google really ought to give the user the option to choose and totally customize all parts of their interface on whatever platform in as straightforward a way as possible. If I want my application to look like the desktop version on my phone then I should be able to do it without having to be a technical genius and jump through a million hoops. God I miss the days of WIMP where you could figure out any application because they all used the standard File, Edit, Tools, Help, etc. menus. Then Microsoft had to jump on board trying to catch up with Apple with the Ribbon in Office, and now Google thinks they know best, to the point where they believe they have the right to force people to work and think in a certain way. That’s the same premise of thinking that the Chinese government uses in all their laws, censorship & banning religion.

  63. Thanks, man. I just went to sort my bookmarks and just panicked like you did. Then I googled your post and everything is back to normal again. Cheers!

  64. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! Before you discovered the technical solution to this ugly problem, I went through the same emotions! I was horrified, discouraged, and on the verge of tears trying to fix the disaster that they created! I knew there had to be a way to overcome the problem…I just needed to find some smart person in this field to publicize the solution! :o)

  65. Forcing this radical of a change on its users is highly unethical. 99% of users will have no idea that they can disable it in this way (and many thanks for that!) and be stuck with this monstrosity of a bookmarking system.

    What were they thinking? Who’s running the usability testing department. Who in their right mind would consider the change anywhere near qualifying as “more usable”…?

  66. Yeah, me too it wasted so much of my time figuring out.
    They don’t realize that advanced users are the ones inclined to test all functionalities of their apps and will respond immediately if amused or disappointed. I just hope they don’t compromise easy and quick navigation to design

    1. MAGIC! – I lit up Chrome today (6/11/15), and they must have set the DEFAULT for this flag to OFF, rather than ON. I got my old stuff back. Someone needs to tell Google to stop trying to be Windows – we got enough o’that, thank-you-very-much.

  67. This is the best post I’ve read to fix Google’s complete screw-up. A prime example of fixing something that wasn’t broken.

    Obviously the person that created the new bookmark manager has never been in a real library or used an actual index. The alphabet exists for a reason!

    Thank you for posting. Excellent!

  68. Thanks very much for the tip! Why would Google remove such a basic function as alphabetic sorting of Favourites? It makes no sense. One more daft ‘improvement’ like that and I’m off to Bing (or would that be any better?).

  69. Hello! I just realised that with the new feature of google bookmarks, some of my bookmarks just vanished. Lately I used to save my bookmarks by tagging, instead of saving them through the golden star. The problem is that, with this new version of chrome, I have just the golden-star bookmars, but not the other ones, which I used to save and organize by tagging. My question is if do you think is there any probability to restore all my bookmarks, or they just have been deleted forever with this new feature? I asked this on google forum since yesterday morning, but I got no answer at all. Thank you for any advice and response!

  70. THANK YOU so much! I’ve done the insane (tried the same thing over and over expecting different results) think I’d missed something somewhere. “Surely Google wouldn’t do something so stupid as to not include the option to sort bookmarks by title”. Grrrr I was so frustrated and did searches on several occasions trying to find a solution. FINALLY I hit on your page and instructions. Voila it’s fixed! You sir are a genius! Thank you.

  71. You know what,.. i just realized this whole new bookmark manager because i found out that all bookmarks been duplicated by my android sync, and i want to fix it on PC,.. but then i was like WHAT!

    Thanks to you i found this article, you`re a lifesaver dude, keep it up^

  72. Ahhh, thanks, this is very useful and exactly what I was hoping to find! I tried to give the new bookmark manager a fair chance before complaining but it’s just horrible, so I’ve given Google my feedback and now also disabled it. Such a relief!

  73. I couldn’t agree more. I am now unable to do the simplest of reorganization or moving of my bookmarks. The new system is completely useless and doesn’t even display my current bookmarks! As far as Google, I think someone snuck up behind them and struck them hard on the head with a 12 pound hammer then left them brain damaged, then they designed the new bookmark manager!

  74. Thank you so much! I could not figure out how to add a bookmark into a subfolder. I tried many times and it just would not add. Then I looked at trying to “organize” bookmarks and saw an awful screen full of icons. What were they thinking????

  75. Thank you for the useful instructions, and for venting at Google for us!
    These continual redesigns of user experience are often, as in this case, awful. And at best, force us to waste time re-learning how to find things in the new “user-centered” experience.

  76. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I had actually switched my default browser to something else until I found your post… This loss of functionality was a showstopper for me.

    Shame on you Google for doing something that bad!! Are you becoming like Microsoft?!

  77. I couldn’t agree more about this awful change. I gave it a fair try but my knee-jerk reaction was correct, a useful UI was replaced with one that just doesn’t do much. My spouse is not a technical type, but she uses chrome heavily and has learned to manage a large bookmark tree organized by topic. Imagine her frustration with this change! Thank goodness it can be disabled. Had I had not been able to restore the old functionality, I was going back to Firefox.

  78. There are so many diverse needs of users for handling bookmarks, hence the growth of a number of independent cloud based tools such as
    We allow users to collate bookmarks into pages and folders. Easy access and easy search of all. Keep them private or publish a page for others to use. Give it try and let us know your thoughts.

  79. I have the latest most up-to-date Chrome Version 45.0.2454.93 m , It is mid Sept 2015 and there has been no return to the sensible bookmarks layout. The earlier fix using chrome://flags appears to no longer work.
    I want only one thing , how to alphabetize the new Chrome Bookmarks.
    Tks, Bill

  80. I am livid. After one hour’s work, I still cannot get my unsorted bookmarks to appear. Your instructions for getting them onto the main menu do not work. I am so angry I can’t tell you. I will be switching back to “shudder” Internet Explorer if you can’t solve this for me.

  81. So I tried doing what you said to do and nothing changed. I still can’t move my folders or saved sites around in bookmarks. I then tried going to the “customize/control” bar in the upper right and then clicked on bookmarks > bookmark manager > organize and now my whole bookmark tab is jacked up and the important stuff I had on the tab is gone and I can’t drag to change. HELP!!!

  82. Hi,
    Just came across your workflow mentioning you sort your bookmarks frequently.
    If you use Sprucemarks extension, it automatically does that for you. You might want to check it out

  83. Well, only today upon opening my Browser did I see this new bookmark manager page. Yuck… alphabetically arranged, little info. I finally tracked down a method of editing my bookmark titles.
    As for disabling this new format though, I find your instructions too brief. Upon going to the : chrome://flags/#enhanced-bookmarks-experiment, I couldn’t apply your instruction #2: “Change the drop down to Disabled.” This was a blurry order because that page has about 300 elements, all of which have one or more options to choose, those being: “default, enable, disable, or automatic”. I was hoping to disable this “new” bookmark manager, and return to the one I was using up until yesterday. This new one is not even recognizable for me. I think we seniors (I’m 68) have to be going back to school to get degrees in computers and law!

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