I find that the longer I’m on a laptop, the more customised I make it.

I’ve had a ‘company laptop’ for a number of roles now, and have found that what works for me is having Google Chrome installed, and having the New Tab screen show my Bookmarks Bar. In that bar, I have a list of helpful links to things. Confluence documents, administration pages, helpful notes, useful services and the like.

However, given how Chrome works, you normally see bookmarks that look like this: The website’s favicon (if there is one), and the title of the page.

old bookmarks

Given I have a lot of bookmarks, and limited space, I like to do things like:

  • Remove the Name field of the bookmark; this will just show the favicon
  • Change the Name to just emoji

This gives me a shorter list of bookmarks, but there’s still some limitations in this plan.

For example, I wanted to have a single Red Heart emoji for a link. But Chrome wouldn’t let me.


Due to how emoji are handled in OSX, some of the older emoji that are actually Symbols show in their non-emoji (‘text’) forms.

There is a way around this, and it also allows you to use any emoji that you want.

You setup a local HTML file that serves as a redirect, with your custom favicon, and bookmark that.

Since I like keeping my ~./bashrc aliases and other customisations in a space away from everything else, I have a ~/.scripts folder where I put such things. In that folder, I create a file cute-link.html with the following content:

<link rel="icon" href="red_heart.png">
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=https://cute_url_link.com">

I have the following:

  • A favicon link to a local file. In this case, Red Heart
  • A meta redirect to the actual URL I want to go to

Then, I bookmark this page with no Name


On the first time I visit this link, the favicon is saved, and my bookmark bar looks nicer.

new bookmarks

This technique has the added benefit of allowing you to choose any image – it doesn’t have to be an emoji, and it doesn’t have to be an emoji from your native operating system. For example here, I’ve got the Facebook Messenger Alarm clock image, because I think it looks nice.

Using this method, you can setup your bookmarks to be as short, concise, and pretty as you like.

Note: for some reason, some websites override their own favicons very strongly, so I can’t seem to keep my customisations in some cases 😢. For those, I tend to change the Name field to a set of emoji, just so I can at least tell what they are (for cases where I have, say, three bookmarks from the same website.)