All About Bookmarklets

Bookmarklets are tiny snippets of JavaScript code that can be stored in a bookmark (or Favorite, if you’re an Internet Explorer user).

Although many bookmarklets can handle tasks that browser extensions or plug-ins can do, bookmarklets have a few added advantages: they’re platform agnostic (most bookmarklets work in all browsers, so if you want to switch from Firefox to Opera most of your bookmarklets will still work); they don’t require any type of installation (Firefox extensions require a browser restart after installation, and also occasionally “break” when a new version of Firefox is released); they use far less memory than even a well-written extension; and lastly, bookmarklets work with bookmark synchronization sites and software, so if you use something like Weave or Foxmarks, you can easily have the same bookmarklets on every browser you use.

So… what can you do with bookmarklets? Check out this quick list I threw together:

Share on Facebook – One of Facebook’s most popular features is the “Share Link” app, which allows you to paste a website address into a Facebook window and send it out to all your friends. To use this feature, you normally have to to copy the target URL to your clipboard, open a new tab and login to Facebook, then paste the URL into the “Share:” box. With this officially-supported bookmarklet, you just go to a web page that you want to share and load the “Share on Facebook” bookmark; this makes a pop-up window appear with all the pertinent sharing information, so you can share it on Facebook with far fewer mouse clicks than the old way.

PressThis! – PressThis is like “Share on Facebook” for WordPress. You can highlight some text on a web page and click the “PressThis!” bookmark… a pop-up window will open to your WP blog with the text you highlighted already added to a new post. It’s awesome! Go to your WP dashboard and click on the main “Tools” menu to find out more.

Legiblize – converts the active web page to a more readable format. Excellent for older web pages or long Wikipedia articles.

For all of the following bookmarklets, go to this website and right-click on any linked item and choose “bookmark this link” to install the bookmarklet.

Get TinyURL – Sometimes you need to shorten a ridiculously long web address to paste it into Twitter, to prevent it from getting “broken up” by an email program, or to meet posting guidelines at certain message boards. TinyURL will convert even the longest URL into something short like http://tinyurl.com/cgsz4x. All you have to do is click the bookmarklet to have the current page converted to a TinyURL.

Resize Window – Website developers often need to know how a web page will look at a given dimension. These bookmarklets resize the browser window to 320×240, 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768 or 1200×1024. It’s easy to change the bookmarklet to whatever other dimensions you’d like: just bookmark it as “Resize to 1680×1050” then go to the properties of the bookmark and change it to 1680×1050.

For all of the following bookmarklets, go to this website and right-click on any linked item and choose “bookmark this link” to install the bookmarklet.

Twitter Reactions – Wonder what other Twitter users are saying about a given web page? Use this bookmarklet to find out!

Capture Screenshot – Get an image of the active browser window via the kwout.com service (which will quickly allow you to embed the images in your Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Gmail accounts).

Gmail This! – Highlight some text on a web page and this bookmarklet will open a new message in Gmail with the selected text already entered into the body of the message.

Many, many more bookmarklets are available at both of the above sites!

Here’s one last one:

Always Open In IETab – IETab is an extension for Firefox that allows you to use the IE rendering engine within Firefox. So if your bank still requires you to use IE, you can use IETab to use IE on one (or more) tabs within a Firefox session. IETab has a built-in “sites filter” that will automatically open certain sites in IE (if you choose to add them). The only problem is that these preferences cannot be transferred from one computer to another. So if you reformat your computer, or use FoxMarks to synchronize your bookmarks, your “always open in IE” tabs aren’t copied over… unless you use this bookmarklet instead! Simply bookmark the site in question and add the following text to the beginning of the bookmark’s URL in the properties of the bookmark:

chrome://ietab/content/reloaded.html?url=

This will always open an address in IETab, and is also easily backed up with Weave, FoxMarks, FEBE, and by manually exporting your bookmarks.

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