On a freshly intalled computer rather then importing my old safari bookmarks (ea wih migration assistant) I want to start anew with no bookmarks. However, from time to time I would like to browse through my old bookmarks (on the 'old safari') to selectively drag a few bookmarks over to the 'new' safari. Both new and old safari's are in fact the same version.(what if the old was leopard and the new was snow leopard, does the old run inside SL?)

An extension to switch bookmark libraries wouldn't solve this, as I need both bookmark lists open in a window to drag and drop bookmarks from one to another.

So I guess I could use http://michelf.com/projects/multi-safari/ but feel this is more then I need: I wonder if I can do this with both safari's using the same webkit version of the OS (just like camino uses the same webkit as safari and can be open at the same time)

Also would it be possible to run the old safari from an external disk, so without it being located in the local applications directory?

4 Answers 4


That approach is more of a straight-to-hard approach. An easier method would be to retain one browser (Safari), and import your old bookmarks into the new Safari under a specifically titled folder to separate them, and sort/delete them at your leisure.

If you would like to make it more difficult on yourself and you don't care for FireFox, Chrome, etc. I would suggest using Webkit, since that's the underlying guts of Safari, and the experience will be the most streamlined for you.

  • Indeed, that's what the (imported)bookmarks folder in the left pane is for. But how would DLing a nightly build of webkit improve the workflow over using my safari as is?
    – newnomad
    Jun 7, 2011 at 10:21
  • 1
    It wouldn't. That was the point. Jun 8, 2011 at 17:02

Unfortunately, Safari does not support multiple user profiles.

Even if you create a copy of Safari.app and execute it separately, both of them will load the same user profile which lies in your Library.

But, if your only requirement is the selective bookmark transfer, then you may export your bookmarks from your old machine as a html page, open that page in your new Safari, and selectively add the bookmarks as you wish.

In order to export the bookmarks, you just need to go to File > Export Bookmarks.. and then just open the resulting file from your new Safari.

  • 1
    I would lose the ability to easily navigate the folder structures by opening and closing. Also I think this export doesn't give the same order to bookmarks within a folder?
    – newnomad
    Apr 6, 2011 at 7:56
  • @newnomad If bookmarks is your only concern, then you may install Chrome, import Safari bookmarks and sync your Chrome bookmarks into your new machine. That way you could have both of them open and you could navigate the folders as you wish.
    – nuc
    Apr 6, 2011 at 8:12
  • I did that in the past with firefox, I didn't experienced it as ideal somehow. I might as well put all my safari bookmarks in one 'old' folder. Did that a couple of times too, it doesn't get any nicer... Maybe a dedicated bookmarking application would do? Date created (and tags) is what I miss most in safari bookmarks.
    – newnomad
    Apr 7, 2011 at 6:20

Actually, I think you could trick the OS into letting you do this. I can think of two ways. #1 - you could 'sandbox' Safari. To sandbox is to run it in something akin to a virtual environment. Changes are not permanently written back to disk, and, access to files outside of the sandbox is restricted.

#2 - Backup your profile (as nuc said, this is in your Library). Quit Safari, mark the profile folder and its contents read-only. It accomplishes a similar result to sandboxing. Now, in terms of can you drag one over from the other? Maybe.. I'm not really sure.


No - your user has one home folder and both versions of Safari want to use ~/Library/Safari to store their data for you.

The nightly webkit lets you run two versions of "safari" on the same data. Since the code doesn't exist to have multiple "personalities" in Safari - you would have to do that work (or pay someone) to make a simple change and recompile safari for you to have one of your versions store their data in another folder (like ~/Library/SafariOld). That might take someone familiar with the code half an hour of work.

The only workarounds that come to mind would be to use rooSwitch to temporarily switch in the old bookmarks for looking around until you decide to import/cull/edit the old set. It won't help with dragging and dropping the bookmarks like you ask. The other workaround would be to use another browser (not safari) to import the old safari bookmarks (or set up the new ones) and then export your new set of organized bookmarks.

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