#181 Introducing Bookmarklets

Bookmark + Applet = Bookmarklet

A bookmarklet is a small application (applet), stored as a web link the same as any other normal bookmark or favorite. The difference is that bookmarklets are like ‘mini-programs’ that actually do some sort of action instead of just taking you to a website.

For example, one of my favorite bookmarklets called Readability makes reading many websites much easier by removing all the clutter from the page with a simple click. Here’s an example from the New York Times.

I hope that piques your interest enough to investigate how bookmarklets can help you. If so, here are some questions you might be asking yourself.

Will bookmarklets work on my computer/smart phone/device?

Probably. Bookmarklets work with most browsers (even Internet Explorer  )  and operating systems (including iPhone and Blackberry.)

How do I use bookmarklets?

Bookmarklets are just like bookmarks. Add the bookmarklet to your favorites bar and click on them like you would a bookmark when you’re visiting a website you would like to use them.

Are bookmarklets free?

Yes, most if not all bookmarklets are free.

Are bookmarklets safe?

Bookmarklets are safer than traditional software. They can only affect the page you’re visiting and therefore are limited in what they can do. As a general rule of thumb, don’t run bookmarklets on websites that have sensitive data such as your personal financial sites.

How do I add a bookmarklet to my browser?

Internet Explorer:

1. Make sure the Favorites Bar is visible. Right-click on any part of the menu bar and check “Favorites Bar”.
2. Using your mouse, right click on a bookmarklet and select “Add to Favorites”
3. Select “Favorites Bar” folder in combo box and click the Add button.

Firefox / Google Chrome / others:

1. Drag a bookmarklet to the Bookmarks Bar.

Some Suggestions for Getting Started:

Here are some bookmarklets to try that I think most people would like.

READABILITY is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you’re reading. Grab it here

Print What You Like: Tired of printing web pages only to find your printout is full of ads, empty space and other junk you don’t want? PrintWhatYouLike is a free online editor that lets you format any web page for printing in seconds! Grab it here

Useful Google Bookmarklets: Handy bookmarklets for Google maps, reader, search etc.  Get them here

Delicious:  An easy way to post and view your bookmarks on the Delicious  Grab them here

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