In my opinion, bookmarklets are underappreciated. I decided to collect some of my favorites here and describe why I think they are useful. I have probably 75+ bookmarklets in my bookmark file, but these are my favorites.
Most of these bookmarklets are not my creations. If I’ve mis-credited any of the originators, please let me know. Do follow the links, since most of the sites feature lots more bookmarklets than I’ve included here.
Sure, there are plenty of Firefox extensions now and they too have their place, but bookmarklets are easier to install–simply drag the links below to your bookmark toolbar. Another plus is that you don’t usually have to worry about compatibility with newer versions of Firefox.
These may not work with all browsers, but they all definitely do work in Firefox.
- Dup – This creates a separate window or tab containing the same contents as the current one. It’s handy for backtracking in a new tab or window, without having to lose your place. (originally from WorldTimZone)
- Frmget – Changes any forms on a page from push to get. This is especially handy for the purposes of bookmarking and emailing URLs to specific pages. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- Google Cache Viewer – Prompts for a URL and then takes you to a Google Cache version of the page. It’s useful for quickly viewing the contents of PDF and Word document URLs. (adapted from WorldTimZone)
- Go Wayback – Similar to the Google Cache Viewer above, this one can bring up archived pages from the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine.” It’s great for seeing how a site has changed over the years or for tracking down the info from a now defunct bookmark. (originally from Fagan Finder)
- Go to Referrer – If you use tabbed browsing and open links in background tabs, this tool can be handy for backtracking to find out why you opened a particular link. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- Linearize – Reformats a page so that the entire contents is in a single column. It’s great when you want to copy a lot of text from a page. I use it to more easily grab text from long articles with complex layouts, which I sometimes dump into a text-to-speech reader when my eyes are tired. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- PurpleSlurple – Adds faint purple numbers throughout a page which represent anchors. Purple numbers make it easier to link to a particular section within documents, even if the original document doesn’t include anchors. It’s another one that can be useful when emailing a URL to someone, if you want to point out a particular sub-section of a page. (originally from Matthew A. Schneider)
- Sort Table – This one adds links to table columns to make them sortable. Until sortable tables catch on, this is a very handy hack. (originally by Jesse Ruderman)
- Google Search & Amazon Search – These should be self-explanatory, but be aware that they can both prompt for a search term or automatically search for the terms highlighted when clicked. They aren’t as fancy as some of the other bookmarklets above, but I use them all the time.
- Also check out the two variations of the Make My Search bookmarklets, which allow you to create your own customized bookmarklets for just about any site that allows searching.
The most useful bookmarklets are probably the ones you make yourself. I used the Bookmarklet Builder and LibraryLookup Project to create my own customized library + price search bookmarklet. Clicking on the bookmarklet from a book page on Amazon.com or BarnesAndNoble.com, will open three search windows, including the two library systems that I have access to, plus the AddALL price comparison site.
Feel free to leave a comment, if you’d like to let others know about your favorites.