Advertising
Advertising

20 Useful Bookmarklets

20 Useful Bookmarklets

Bookmark

    Bookmarklets are useful tools. Simply put, they’re bookmarked links you keep in your browser toolbar that perform a useful function when you click on them. There are about half a million of the things out there—far too many to fit in any bookmark toolbar! Let’s take a look at twenty of the most useful bookmarklets out there.

    To “install” a bookmarklet, drag the link presented on the bookmarklet’s Web site to your bookmarks toolbar, and you’re done.

    1. WordPress Bookmarklet

    With the release of WordPress 2.6, the team at WordPress reinstated the “Press This” bookmarklet—this time even more powerful, with Tumblr-like capabilities. Want to throw a YouTube video or Flickr pic into your blog real quick? This is the bookmarklet for you. You’ll find it on your WordPress “New Post” page to the right of the post editor.

    2. del.icio.us Bookmarklet

    If you want to save a link to your del.icio.us account without adding yet another extension to your browser, check out the del.icio.us bookmarklets available here. There’s a Post to del.icio.us bookmarklet and one for viewing your favorites quickly.

    3. Password Generator Bookmarklet

    If you have trouble coming up with secure passwords all the time, save some time and energy by installing this bookmarklet. It combines the domain name of the site you need a password for with your “master password” so you only ever need to remember one password—minus the security concerns. You can get it here.

    Advertising

    4. Microformats Bookmarklet

    If your organization uses some sort of intranet project management that always has hCard or hCalendar (.vcf or .ics files) for download, or you frequent other sites that use these formats, the Microformats Bookmarklet will check through the page you’re on and find them for you. It makes keeping up with contacts and calendars easy. You can get it here.

    5. Facebook Bookmarklet

    If you’re an avid Facebook user and frequently share interesting Web sites using your Facebook account, this bookmarklet lets you do it even faster and without returning to the Facebook site itself. You can get it here.

    6. Reddit Bookmarklet

    The Reddit Bookmarklet makes it easier for redditors to not only submit interesting Web sites, but cast “like” or “dislike” votes for sites that have already been submitted. There’s also a “Serendipity” bookmarklet that’ll take you to a random site through Reddit. You can get it here.

    7. Google Translate Bookmarklet

    Constantly find yourself on pages written in French or Italian, but have no idea how to read any language but English? Your surfing habits may be baffling, but there’s something to make your life easier here.

    8. FriendFeed Bookmarklet

    Advertising

    Saving interesting tidbits to FriendFeed is easy and incredibly pleasant with this excellent bookmarklet. It can grab an image from the page you’re saving if you’re into visuals. Grab it here.

    9. TweetBurner Bookmarklet

    Twitter users will love this bookmarklet. It can be a pain in the backside to get a regular link converted into a shorter URL without a bookmarklet or a desktop client with the capability built in—but with this installed, it has never been easier. It’s on the front page to the left here.

    10. ToRead Bookmarklet

    Once you enter your email address on this bookmarklet’s homepage, you’ll be able to quickly send pages you wish to look at again and read in depth later on to your email account for easy access. Check it out here.

    11. OnlyWire Bookmarklet

    If you’re really into social bookmarking and have a hundred different bookmarklets cluttering your toolbar, this bookmarklet that supports many of the most popular sites may help you simplify things a bit and get pages bookmarked quicker. Get it here.

    12. XRAY Bookmarklet

    Web designers will find this bookmarklet useful. It’ll show you the box model for CSS elements on any page along with a whole lot of information about the element you’re looking at. Get it here.

    Advertising

    13. Rollyo Bookmarklet

    Sick of hunting and pecking through each site you visit to find a well-hidden search field? Rollyo lets you search any site you visit just by clicking the bookmarklet, and allows you to save frequently visited sites into a “searchroll” so you can search your favorites anywhere. Take a look at Rollyo here.

    14. RatesFX Bookmarklet

    Do you need to convert figures in one currency to another frequently? I’m always converting figures in US dollars to Australian (the results aren’t as pleasant as they once were!), so a bookmarklet like this is a huge timesaver. Try it out here.

    15. Google Reader Bookmarklet

    This Google Reader bookmarklet will help you subscribe to new blogs, or any site with an RSS feed, as you surf the web. Check it out here.

    16. Newsgator Bookmarklet

    Much like the Google Reader bookmarklet, the Newsgator bookmarklet will allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds under your Newsgator account. I love this because it means I can add a feed without opening NetNewsWire, which can take some time. If you’re using a Newsgator account in any compatible feed reader and getting sick of opening the app just to add a new feed, this is the solution for you. Find out how to install it here.

    17. Layout Grid Bookmarklet

    Advertising

    Another one for designers: this bookmarklet will overlay a layout grid on any Web site. Particularly useful if you’re developing your own and want to see how it’s matching up to your grid calculations in a browser without adding the grid as a background image. Check it out here.

    18. View Passwords Bookmarklet

    Whenever I login to GoDaddy I get paranoid that one small typo in my password will lock me out for the rest of the day—this has happened more times than I can count. Here’s a typo that soothes this paranoia and allows you to see your passwords as you type them. No more asterisks! Get it here (also offers a handy Remember Passwords bookmarklet that fixes those pesky sites that refuse to remember them for you).

    19. Digg Submit Bookmarklet

    If you’re a Digger, this bookmarklet might be useful for you—click it to start the submission process for the page you’re currently on. This is an unofficial bookmarklet. Get it here.

    20. Spreeder Bookmarklet

    Want to practice speed reading, but find the text that comes with your speed reading app incredibly boring? The Spreeder bookmarklet lets you paste a block of text into a dialogue box, which is then displayed to you in rapid-fire, word by word. Check it out here.

    Do you have a favorite bookmarklet that I haven’t listed here? Let us know about it in the comments section!

    More by this author

    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization The Importance of Scheduling Downtime How to Make Decisions Under Pressure 11 Free Mind Mapping Applications & Web Services How to Use Parkinson’s Law to Your Advantage

    Trending in Featured

    1 Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) 2 5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 5 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

    The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

    Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

    Advertising

    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    How to Self-Taught Effectively

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

    Advertising

    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

    Advertising

    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

    Advertising

    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

    More About Self-Learning

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Read Next