Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Is it possible to sort tags?

  • 22 replies
  • 7 have this problem
  • Last reply by maxwkf

more options

I've tried various methods of sorting tags. None of them really represents the conventional output one would consider "sorting". I've had to, for example, prefix categories of tags in order to get some semblance of order. Lately not even this works very well after going through various updates to Firefox.

Further, there doesn't seem to be anything on the Mozilla website for Firefox that addresses this question. Perhaps my library of Bookmarks is more extensive than most, and those who program the interface have never seen a need to provide this capability to sort tags. In my case, since I've used tags to introduce order and fast access to information, tags have become indispensable to that end.

Maybe the reason this capability is missing is because it is not technically feasible. I would like to know whether or not it is so I don't continue to search for a solution.

All Replies (20)

more options

The only place I notice tags is in the Library dialog (Ctrl+Shift+b) where I can sort on the Tags column by clicking the heading. I suspect that's not what you meant. Could you describe what you're looking for in a little more detail?

more options

1. What I’m trying to do is sort the Tags in alpha-numeric order so that it takes less time to find the one that contains the shortcut to the actual Library Bookmark that has been placed in a Tag category.

2. Now listed under Tags (or Recent Tags, which makes no sense to me, since Tags remain resident, whether “Recent” or not) are the categories of Tags and under each category is the shortcut to the actual Bookmark. The problem is that the different Tags have no order to them or a way to impose it.

3. In the case of actual Bookmarks it is possible to sort them. Unfortunately this is not done automatically but requires a manual sort by accessing a right-click menu on all items contained in a folder. However there is no way that has been found to do a similar operation to the listed Tags that can be found. Some order can be imposed by placing prefixes, such as a 1,2 or ?, or an A, B or ? to Tag categories with similar contents. That does change the order of very similar Tags, but there is easy way to rearrange all Tags into a logical order.

4. It doesn’t matter whether, for example, in the Library window and under the View tab what Sort option is selected, whether it is Unsorted, Sort by Name, Sort by Tags, etc. None of the options changes the order of any of the Tags displayed. So it seems the Sort option is dysfunctional because the order remains unchanged. I seem to remember that Internet Explorer has this functionality. It has been a long time since I've used it an don't really want to go back to it over this issue.

5. I hope you can understand what may be improper definition of categories, such as what I understand as shortcuts to Bookmarks, since “shortcut” may not be the correct terminology as used by Firefox to describe Tag categories, and how these categories are displayed. I also use the Add-on, “Go To Parent Folder” to quickly locate a Bookmark that is part of a Tag category to try and resolve issues where the Bookmark has been placed in the wrong Tag category.

6. Incidentally I have 11 Tag categories, and within each is the shortcut to the various Bookmarks. Hopefully that will show how important alpha-numeric order is to me, and why I’m searching for an answer on why the Sort option doesn’t work, no matter which type of “Sort” is selected, as mentioned in paragraph 4.

7. I suspect that what I am asking cannot currently be done. But I would like to know if that is the case so I can stop looking for answers until notice is given that this functionality has been introduced.

more options
more options

I don't have enough tags to run into any problems...

I think cor-el's suggestion to create your own smart folders to replace, e.g., Recent Tags, might help.

Edit: Scroll down for a more complete and hopefully useful example.

To convert a places search query into a "bookmark" you can use this method:

Keep your places query in Notepad or another text editor window. Once installed in Firefox, I'm not sure you can extract it again, so you'll need this as you iterate.

Open the Bookmarks Organizer AKA the Library dialog (Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks or Ctrl+Shift+b).

Create a new bookmark on the Bookmarks Menu.

In the Name, enter a query description, and in the Location, paste your newly created places search query. Then click Add. So far, no blue folder icon.

Next, drag the new bookmark to another location, e.g, a folder, the Bookmarks Toolbar, etc., within the Bookmarks Organizer. This forces Firefox to recognize it as a query-type bookmark. The icon should change from the dotted rectangle to the blue search folder icon.

Modified by jscher2000

more options

Hi Co-rel,

Thanks for your reply. While your solution might work for me, my concern is that it is too involved and could easily become unworkable with future releases of Firefox. That would mean a lot of effort would be destroyed in the process.

I note as well that your link is to: Mozilla Developer Network

What is needed is a change to the Firefox Interface so that Sorting of "Recent" Tags is easily available to all Firefox users. That goes back to my question of whether something might be preventing this from being technically feasible for general user access to Tag sorting. If not then eventual obsolescence of your solution could also be assumed, as the link implies that it is BETA.

Note that Tag Sorting does not return any relevant returns from the Search box. Shouldn't that be an objective to provide this capability to Users, either directly through Firefox, or from the Add-on community, where this is not available either.

more options

I think it's worth a try. The "Recent Tags" query breaks down as follows:

  • type=6 means tag query
  • sort=14 means descending order by last modified date
  • maxResults=10 means only show the first 10 results

You just need a little tweak. Here's an example to try:

  • type=6 means tag query
  • sort=1 means ascending by title (A-Z)

Select and copy the example.

Open the Bookmarks Organizer AKA the Library dialog (Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks or Ctrl+Shift+b).

Create a new bookmark on the Bookmarks Menu, or any location that is not the final destination for the bookmark.

In the Name, enter a query description (e.g., Alpha Tags), and in the Location, paste the places search query. Then click Add. So far, no blue folder icon.

Next, drag the new bookmark to another location, e.g, a folder, the Bookmarks Toolbar, etc., within the Bookmarks Organizer. This forces Firefox to recognize it as a query-type bookmark. The icon should change from the dotted rectangle to the blue search folder icon.

Now you can test and see how you like the results.

This kind of query can't be edited, but as you can see, it only take a few seconds to create a new one, so you can try variations pretty quickly.

more options

A footnote that the way I discovered the query behind Recent Tags involved the use of the SQLite Manager extension. I'm not aware of a simpler way, although there might be one.

more options

About 2 weeks ago I posted this question titled: "Is it possible to sort tags?"

Now when I copy and paste this title in the Search box there are no returns for the subject I posted. I can understand a reasonable lag, but 2 weeks? How long should any of us expect to see the question we've posted show up during a Firefox search?

Is it the case that the Firefox Team picks and chooses what will be found during a search by other users? In order for anyone to get help there has to be the capability to display what has been posted by anyone who comes to the forum. I'm quite certain that this subject would have received a lot more interest, and some interesting answers, if it could be found by Firefox users. Questions that can be accessed by all should be considered the life blood of filling in the gaps some refer to as a "wish list". Answers by others, not part of the Firefox development effort could more easily lead the way to solutions.

Further, this hints at an effort to hide rather serious Firefox shortcomings that potential users might consider unacceptable, and therefore opt for another browser. I've heard people like Leo Laporte extend quite a bit of praise on the people that dedicate their free time to developing the Firefox browser, but as the saying goes, more often than not, you get what you pay for.

There probably is a way around this lack of response by users. This would require that new questions be posed on another forum title of existing subjects that do display that are closely related by providing a means of access to some other new question, which doesn't/won't display other than in a round-about way using Google which will provide the link to the forum question if the exact title is supplied to Google. Not only shouldn't this be necessary, but the fact that it appears that it is reveals yet another "can of worms" on the list of Firefox shortcomings. Not the least of having to go this route is that probably the only person that will find a Firefox forum question will be the original author.

more options

Hi MozillaFirefoxNewbie, the wiki software used to build this forum has never had a good search engine. In particular, all query terms are treated as though they are separated by OR instead of AND.

I don't think it's a conspiracy: volunteers here would love to be able to find a thread we read yesterday without having to skim pages and pages or posts or try numerous different searches.

Did you try the smart bookmark folder approach?

more options

This thread comes up as number one with an advanced search for "sort tags" or "is it possible to sort tags":

*[001][963133] Is it possible to sort tags?
*[002][830610] How to sort by tags alphabetically
*[003][807805] Ho do I keep tags sorted?
*[004][928461] I want to sort my bookmarks by setting up new tags and moving the bookmarks into the various tags; how do I do this?
*[005][798256] Tags in bookmarks toolbar won't sort
*[006][771204] tagging
*[007][952067] Why is  EVERYTHING I put in the SORT & FILTER window of this forum resulting in "INVALID TAG" error windows?
*[008][954213] why can, I see the tags on my tablet that are on my desktop?
*[009][958752] Question about tagging
*[010][763827] I want to  create new tags.
more options

As I'm the only other user to have checked "I have this problem too" I suspect that is the reason that this issue isn't being given any sort of priority from the support team. As you also suggested, what we're doing is perhaps more advanced than the average user is likely to do, not that being able to sort Tabs isn't a perfectly reasonable expectation.

I've used the place/sort function linked to by cor-el and described by jscher2000 to organize my Tabs both alphabetically and by most recently modified, but even if users are expected to have to "script/program" (albeit minimally) a manually created "place" in order to organize their Tabs, it's not reasonable to expect users to have to do this for each and every subfolder, and furthermore, Tags aren't even considered folders which I suspect is what is causing our trouble in the first place.

My current sorting issue today is that I want certain specific Tag groups to open in a specific order when I select "Open All in Tabs".

I have opened the Bookmarks Library and selected a specific Tag (the ability to organize any folder, Tag, or "place" should be a right-click operation, but I digress), and although the "line" shows up when you try to drag a Bookmark indicating that you should be able to manually move the position of each Bookmark as you can do with under any "All Bookmarks" folder or subfolder, what happens instead under "Tags" is a second (and third, fourth, etc.) identical Tag is added to the Bookmark you try to move which suggests to me a programming error in how Tags are handled.

If you then choose to "Sort" under "Views" (although in my case I wanted to manually sort a specific Tag group) or add a column and click the sorting arrow for that column, whatever sorting you apply is lost once you close the Library and any sorting is not applied when accessing that group of Tabs from the normal Bookmarks menu in any case, thereby making the any attempt to sort Tags moot by any method other than by means of a "place".

more options

Hi KADC, if I understand what you're saying, you have a fly-out list on your bookmarks menu corresponding to a particular tag, and you would like to be able to manually arrange the order of the bookmarks under that tag.

I do not think you can set the order of bookmarks manually when the list is generated by a query. I do not know how Firefox orders them, but presumably it is done dynamically based on what is found by the query, and not necessarily corresponding to position on another part of the bookmarks menu.

Would it be a helpful workaround to be able to easily convert the results of a tag query into a real bookmarks folder? That would not update dynamically as you tag more bookmarks, though, so perhaps not so useful...

more options

Except for the limitation you just mentioned, jscher2000, yes, that would useful assuming one doesn't make frequent additions to that particular Tag group as the workaround would be to delete the folder and generate a new one when you add or remove Bookmarks to that Tag group.

The best solution would probably be for Tags to be treated as if they were actual Bookmarks, thus allowing the innate Firefox sorting functions to work on them, but I can understand why this may not be a priority. Having said that, I can't imagine as that would require much new coding given the sorting routines already exist so I would think it would be relatively easy to implement relative to other features.

more options

The Sort entry in the Views menu in meant for changing the way Bookmarks and History are displayed (hence its location under Views), just like clicking a column header does and doesn't sort bookmarks permanently.

more options

Hi to all,

Thank you for addressing this issue. What I’ve learned so far is that there is interest in improving Firefox by providing Tag sorting capability that is being ignored. The fact that there are only answers from a few people I don’t believe is indicative of how many that don’t visit this forum have a similar issue with this overlooked improvement. Originally stated was the fact that even finding a topic related to an issue a new user, or even one relatively experienced with Firefox, has is a far cry from finding things with a Google Chrome search. It is quite possible that some will be so put off by this lack of Tag sorting capability that they will move to another browser. The thing about Google Chrome is the publicized connection they have with the NSA. I’m sure that draws many to Firefox that have a problem with government snoops, which is a violation of American law when done in secret without a warrant.

I don’t believe any of the solutions so far can qualify as “solutions”. Many of Co-rel’s links to similar Tag sorting posts are closed, some for more than a year with no solution, and are not really relevant to the issue of sorting Tags. Unfortunately I don’t qualify as a programmer that could speak to the level of difficulty bringing about the looked for sorting capability, but KADC has addressed that he feels it is technically feasible. Feasibility was of importance, as outlined originally, since if it is not then the whole exercise is moot. I have done some programming with LISP in the past, so I’m not totally ignorant as to what could be done. I am too “rusty” in that area to be of any help and my time is fully occupied with other issues. I suspect that, as a volunteer effort, this has much to do with the gap in Tag sorting capability. As mentioned before, the Developer Network appears to have been (maybe is) looking at this issue, but with low priority.

I wish this topic would remain open so hopefully in time others will come across it and also express their interest. Maybe then the feasibility that appears to exist will gravitate to a future release of Firefox as a Tag sorting improvement. I will periodically come back and review replies if this Topic remains open and when notified, possibly adding comments as appropriate.

more options

“…Having said that, I can't imagine as that would require much new coding given the sorting routines already exist …”

I was fooling around with tags momentarily and discovered that tags are ordered by placing any modified Tag at the top of the list. That indicates hasty forethought on the part of the developers. I’m not sure if that indicates a default situation, but it does show that order can be altered. The only question is why programming was not taken to the next step allowing a default to alpha-numeric sorting. If I was able to do this it means the interface could have been designed to sort correctly.

What this means is the following:

If tags were listed as:

M; A; S; H

Then in order to sort alphabetically the following changes would have to take place, in order (because the capability is not there currently):

A > 1A; H > 1H; M > 1M; S > 1S

Of course the programming interface would have to recognize which Tag to select first to end up with the list as ordered above. I do know a little about LISP programming. It does have the capability to sort or reverse sort. That being the case the above could be re-ordered per the next step. Frankly, this is convoluted and if internal sort coding was available one could go from the original order to the final result. But I did succeed in getting the Tags to sort as explained in the first paragraph.

From there the ones could be removed under “Properties” starting from bottom to top.

1S > S; 1M > M; 1H > H; 1A > A

The result would be:

A; H; M; S

This is the correct sorting from A to Z.

Really! How difficult might that be to program the Tags interface correctly? (written by me, a non-programmer, of course) The Tags list would have to be generated internally just as above with the final result as shown, perhaps using a recursive technique to simplify the coding. The only thing the user would be aware of is that Tags were ordered as they should be.

You can test the above on your own to verify it.

Modified by MozillaFirefoxNewbie

more options

Hi MozillaFirefoxNewbie, you wrote:

I was fooling around with tags momentarily and discovered that tags are ordered by placing any modified Tag at the top of the list.

Where are you viewing the list of tags? If you mean the "Recent Tags" list then yes, those are by date, as they are the most recent.

Did you try creating an "Alpha Tags" list as described in my earlier post: Those should be in alpha order with no tinkering required.

more options

Hi jscher2000,

The reason I haven’t tried your method is that I have no idea where you enter the “query”. You did not explain that:

• type=6 means tag query

• sort=14 means descending order by last modified date

• maxResults=10 means only show the first 10 results

So where am I supposed to put the above? I did view the SQLite Manager extension description. I’m quite busy now and don’t have the time to get involved with another interface to sort Tags within Firefox. I’m also reticent to start adding Extensions to overcome Firefox inadequacies.

There are some Add-ons which are quite helpful, like the “Go Parent Folder” and “Show Parent Folder”. I use these extensively to keep my Bookmarks in order and to find particular ones that would be very difficult to find otherwise in order to redefine the links associated with Tags. But these routines are simple downloads that don’t require anything beyond simply downloading the Add-on.

The technique I described requires no Extension to be added, and appears to be less of a drag on my schedule than going through the learning curve of using SQLite. I did notice that the description of the SQLite extension has gone through various revisions, so I’m not sure how that might have impacted previous Tag sorting per the lines of code you provided above. When I began using LISP (actually AutoLISP) there was a great deal of payback for the effort put forth to get the desired results. There were also additions, deletions and redefined ways of doing things which meant past efforts had to be revised or were no longer workable. And with time these AutoLISP shortcuts (macros) actually became part of the main program.

This takes me back to my original comment about why the Firefox interface did not provide this sorting capability in the first place. If SQLite can do this effectively and easily, then why isn’t the sorting capability included with the Firefox browser download?

Your description of the process appears to be somewhat involved, more so than my technique of ordering Tags by modifying them through the Properties window to obtain the desired Sort, which is cumbersome but effective. This could be referred to as the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), the last part of which I freely admit.

Thanks, though, for providing an alternative way to sort Tags.

Modified by MozillaFirefoxNewbie

more options

Let me streamline the suggestion -- it's actually very quick.

(1) Select and copy this places query:


(2) Open the Bookmarks Organizer AKA the Library dialog (Bookmarks > Show All Bookmarks or Ctrl+Shift+b)

(3) Create a new bookmark on the Bookmarks Menu or Bookmarks Toolbar (anywhere is okay because you will be moving it in step 4)

In the Name, enter a description (e.g., Alpha Tags)

In the Location, paste the places search query

Then click Add

(4) Drag the new bookmark to another location, e.g, a folder, the Bookmarks Toolbar, etc., within the Bookmarks Organizer. This forces Firefox to recognize it as a query-type bookmark. The icon should change from the dotted rectangle to the blue search folder icon.

Now you can test and see how you like the results.

more options

Hi Jsher2000,

Your solution worked perfectly at the top level. But the Tags under a particular Tag category remained unsorted. Earlier I believe you mentioned that this would be expected and you felt there was no work-a-round. I believe there might be, but I don't have the time to test it right now. I did describe in my previous post how I could arrange Tags in the order they were created. This might work under a Tag category.

I still say, though, that if you had to stumble upon the solution provided that the Firefox Development Team should have made it unnecessary to do so. In other words, if there is a manual way to produce the same result it follows that the result could be gotten by programming. That is what computer programs do. They take manual operations and achieve the same results with a program without human intervention. But I'm not a programmer, or at least one that is too "rusty" to be considered one.

  1. 1
  2. 2