My Favorite Bookmarklets

Since I spend so much time with the web browser every day, at work and at home, I have become an extension junkie. I just can’t resist all these browser add-ins that make me more efficient—and probably some which don’t increase efficiency, too (e.g. chrome.angrybirds.com).

But I am not talking about extensions now—I’m talking about “bookmarklets”. Yeah, you know: those tiny little JavaScripts that you save to your browser’s bookmarks. I confess that I ignored them for years, after only trying them once or twice. But recently I realized that some of my extensions could be replaced with simple bookmarklets—so I intentionally made a “Bookmarklets” folder as a drop-down in my bookmarks toolbar, so it’s always visible, and started populating it with useful and useless items.

Now I have narrowed my list of favorite bookmarklets to the top 8. Yup, you heard that right: this is not a “top 10” list, so consider those 2 empty slots as less clutter in your browser, in today’s reading, and thus less clutter in your life (you’re welcome).

I have designed the page so that you should be able to drag-and-drop any of the bolded titles below, which are the bookmarklets scripts, to save them in your browser. (Lemme know if it doesn’t work for you.)

Add Feed to Google Reader
I use Google Reader daily, as I follow RSS feeds for various topics related to my work and my interests. This is an easy way to add an RSS feed without looking around for a link.
BTW: this is pretty much unnecessary in Mozilla Firefox, because (a) it puts the little orange RSS icon in the AwesomeBar if it finds feeds on the current page, and (b) once you have picked a default feed reader, the clicking the RSS icon always takes you there.
For more info, see this PCWorld article.

Bookmark this on del.icio.us
So I don’t use Del.icio.us Bookmarks as much as I should, but I do make an attempt to classify most of the “keeper” articles I read for later reference. The bookmarklet, then, is a fast way to do it—and it’s not a hog of your browser resources and toolbar space like the official Del.icio.us add-in is or was. (FYI: at the time that I’m writing this, Delicious is undergoing a change of ownership, so no bets on how well this will work in the future.)
For more info, see Del.icio.us’ official bookmarklets page.

Get Long URLs
The glut of short-URL services like bit.ly continues to trend upward and out of control, especially thanks to Twitter’s 140-character limit. I used to have a Firefox extension that would automagically try to convert all the shortened links on a page to the full-length ones, so I could see where they pointed without clicking on them—but this extension was super-buggy and slowed down every page significantly—removed! But this bookmarklet from the folks at LongUrlPlease.com only processes when you choose to run it, and updates the current page with the full URLs with ease. Highly recommended.
For more info, goto LongUrlPlease.com.

Get Short URL with bit.ly
For those times that I have to include a short URL—if, for example, I wasn’t using a Twitter client that automates it—I choose to use the aforementioned bit.ly because it works well and I can see how often people clicked on it. So, obviously, this bookmarklet makes that task easy.
For more info, see bit.ly’s tools page.

BugMeNot
For those inevitable sites that insist you must create an account with them in order to see the entire article or get a download or such, BugMeNot is the site to go. This bookmarklet just makes it that much easier.
For more info, got to BugMeNot’s FAQ page.

GMail this
My personal email is hosted by Google, and on my own laptop I’ve set GMail as the operating system’s default email client… but at work, my default is the company email program (usually Outlook or GroupWise). This bookmarklet will create a new outgoing message in GMail with both the URL and the prettified contents of the page, which is great for sending an article to a friend.
For more info, check out this about.com page.

Readability
Readability.com has become one of the many “read-this-later” services, akin to Instapaper.com. But I really appreciate their bookmarklet that gets rid of all the menus, ads, links, and other periphery around every web page and just shows you the content that you want to read. If you’re going to be reading more than a page, this is a great way to do it. And, they keep improving the service so it keeps getting better, still excluding useless interstitial ads but showing you diagrams and pictures essential to the reading. Highly recommended.
For more info, cruise over to Readability’s bookmarklet page.

(Word)Press this
It’s no surprise to you, dear reader, that I have built this website using WordPress as the CMS. This handy little bookmarklet allows me to select some text (or not) to quickly start a new post in my WordPress site. Note that this one is unique to your own WordPress site, so I can’t provide you with one here—you need to read how to get the Press This bookmarklet from your own WP admin panel.
For more info, look up the Press This documentation.

I hope you find my list as useful as I do. If you have any favorite bookmarklets that you use and I haven’t mentioned, leave a comment and let me know—I’d love to try it out. Happy surfing!

  • ewall

    You know, I just realized that with a simple search-and-replace of the JavaScript from the BugMeNot bookmarklet could turn it into a RetailMeNot bookmarklet, which works great.