Push your browser further…

August 17th, 2010 in .Blogs .How To Guides
Mrs Mario
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Yesterday I looked at the top four browsers available (for lovely free!) today and looked at what each one offered the user. Today I’m looking at how to further improve your internet browsing with bookmarklets. Don’t you just love technical terminology? If it doesn’t have “lets” on the end, it probably isn’t very cool…

Now I have to confess that, while I have heard of these doodads before, I’ve not actually used them myself. I’ve always been too busy to find ones I like and implement them, which is a bit daft really, because bookmarklets will save you a lot of time and hassle if chosen properly.

Essentially, bookmarklets are small applications that are stored as the URL of a bookmark in a web browser, or as a hyperlink on a web page (for a more detailed description visit the wonderful Wikipedia).

These applications are designed to streamline your browsing, perform specific functions, work with specific applications and make your life easier. And there are tons to choose from. I’ve pootled about the web to find the ones that I think will really help you get the most from your browser and here, in no particular order, they are…

1. URL Shorteners

Heard of these before? If you’re an avid twitter user then it’s likely that you’ve used a URL shortener to give you more room to tweet. Bit.ly is one of the most popular ones and comes pre-installed on applications such as TweetDeck. These bookmarklets are brilliant for social networking, blogging and even business documentation.

Shortening a long and cumbersome URL in printed text to something short and memorable is fast becoming a matter of web etiquette. If bit.ly doesn’t make you smile, then consider TinyURL instead.


Yes, it’s something of a tongue twister – bookmark bookmarklets. Try saying that 30 times fast after a beer. Anyway, while these are not strictly bookmarklets, they have evolved from this realm and deserve a measure of respect. You’ll recognise names like Delicious, but you can also try out Diigo and Readitlater.

These guys make your surfing life a lot easier. Just register, get yourself sorted and then use these guys to store interesting and important sites you visit during the day. That way, once you have some down time, you can go back and read through them at your leisure.

3. Easy readers

The one thing you are guaranteed on the web is colour and craziness. One man’s chic and minimalist site is another man’s boring disaster. Sometimes a site will have brilliant content wrapped up in a hideous design so some enterprising humans have developed bookmarklets that will clean these pages up for you.

These bookmarklets will also make printing and copying pages a lot easier. Readability is one such site – the application will wash away the bouncy images and colours and replace them with plain, easy to read text. Other options to try out include Clippable and TidyRead.

4. Brilliant ideas

Then there are literally hundreds of other bookmarklets that don’t really fit under a broad category and yet are pure genius. One of my personal favourites is Rollyo. I hate having to scour a site for information because they haven’t included a search tool. Rollyo lets you search on the page and saves you lots of time.

Another good one is FillAnyPDF which lets you upload, fill in and sign a PDF without having to resort to printers and faxes.

I have barely scratched the surface of the bookmarklet world in this post. Seriously, there are so many that you can lose many happy hours to hunting down your perfect solutions.

If you’re a mobile warrior with your ASUS netbook stuck to your side – there’s a bookmarklet for you. An avid gamer with a lust for news? There’s a bookmarklet for you.  I hope you have as much fun finding your favourites as I did.

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  • http://OneCent.US Elmo Machete

    The best url shortener on the wild wild web is http://OneCent.US. Does a dozen things bit.ly doesn’t, plus they don’t rip you off for almost a thousand bucks for their tracking data, it’s free. If Yahoo pays 100 million for them can you say… well… I hear BEBO is available at a local farmer’s market somewhere. Cheap.