Safari: Using the Auto-Click Feature

| TMO Quick Tip

There's a neat trick that you can use to open everything inside a bookmarks folder in Safari at once. Haven't used folders with your bookmarks before? Let's go over that first. So open Safari, and then click on the "Show all bookmarks" button in the toolbar (or press Option-Command-B).

Once you're there, you can click on the collections in the left-hand list to view what you've got in each one.

"Bookmarks Bar" refers to the links that appear in your toolbar near the top of Safari's window. Unsurprisingly, the Bookmarks Menu collection lists what you've got stored under the bookmarks menu at the top of your screen:

What the History collection contains is probably self-explanatory, even if your personal Web history is anything but.

For the purposes of this tip, we're going to be using the Bookmarks Bar collection, so select that. Then you can create new folders to plop your links into by clicking the plus button at the bottom of that window or by pressing Shift-Command-N.

Afterward, drag things around, put your bookmarks into your new folders, and organize your data any way you like. You can also move links out of your Bookmarks Bar from here and put them under the Bookmarks Menu collection instead, which is a good thing to do if you've got tons of links and you don't visit some of them as often as others. 

In any case, the folders you put into your Bookmarks Bar collection will show a small checkbox next to them, labeled "Auto-Click."

Here's how this feature works. With Auto-Click turned off, Command-clicking a folder in your Bookmarks Bar will open every link inside it in its own tab. You can tell if a folder is configured in this default way by looking at the little icon next to it. If it's an arrow, you have to Command-click it to open everything in tabs.

However, if you turn on the Auto-Click option shown above, the little arrow will change to a dot, and simply clicking the folder will open every bookmark within it in tabs:

Of course, you can turn off the Auto-Click feature at any point, but if you'd just like to revert to the default behavior temporarily, you can Command-click your configured folder. That'll bring up its usual list of bookmarks for you to pick from instead.

So if you have quite a few pages that you visit frequently, turning on Auto-Click is a great way to bring 'em all up at once without having to open sites one at a time. Keep in mind one important caveat, though—opening everything within a folder (whether using Auto-Click or Command-click) will replace all of the tabs in your current window. So if you want to keep what you've got, it's a great idea to press Command-N (File> New Window) first.

And by the way, if playing around with this feature opened 75,831 Safari tabs for you, here's a fast way to close them. If you hold down the Option key as you close a tab, it'll close every tab except the one you've selected.

So that's two tips for the price of one! Well, they were free to begin with, so I'm not sure how much you've gained. I'm going to pretend it's a lot just to make myself feel good, though.

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Bookmarks features makes life easier with well organised folders so this is important info for the organise perturbed.

Small note: “However, if you turn on the Auto-Click option shown above, the little arrow will change to a dot . . “

Melissa, maybe now’s the time for new specs, that ‘dot’ is actually a little square. However, being a wee ‘dotty’ is far more fun than being square so no major crime committed . . . this time.

Melissa Holt

Hey mhikl,

You say “square,” I say “dot.” Maybe we should compromise and say “square dot”? wink



All dots are round. No compromise.
Dot: noun; a small round mark or spot
One does not dot i’s with something square.

Melissa Holt

OK, you guys, I give! Can I blame my poor eyesight?

Yes, that’s it. Poor eyesight. smile

Boyd Petersen

Boy, people will complain about anything. Square, dot-who cares? You get the idea.

Melissa Holt

Hey Boyd!

Knowing mhikl and iJack as commenters, my guess would be that they meant to gently poke fun. They don’t seem like the grouchy types. smile


Bob Faulkner

Maybe for a future article…
Is there a way to alphabatize bookmark folders and/or bookmark links?
I find it really frustrating that we don’t seem able to do this. Same for folders created in

Melissa Holt

Hey Bob,

As far as I know, there’s still no way to do that within Safari. There are some free third-party apps that can help, though—try out (note: I haven’t used this myself).

Also, if you Google “Safari sort bookmarks” or something like that, you’ll find a bunch of discussions and articles detailing another method, which involves exporting the bookmarks and reimporting them.

But I too have no idea why Apple wouldn’t just add a way to do it…

Hope that helps!

Bob Faulkner

Thanks, Melissa!

Safari Sorts sure looks nice; but I don’t want to sort absolutely all of my bookmarks—maybe just my folders, and then only for one particular mailbox. Or, only selected items. Anyway, this is a really good start.

Thank you!

Melissa Holt

You’re welcome, Bob! Happy to help.


Marcos Forti

Have you guys noticed the auto-click has disappeared in Mavericks? Anyone have any idea how to bring it back??


Melissa Holt

Hey Marcos,

Right- or Control-click on a bookmarks folder in your toolbar and pick “Automatically Open in Tabs.” grin


Marcos Forti

Great Melissa. I didn’t think about that before. Really appreciate your help! thank you! wink

Melissa Holt

No prob!

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