These days most people (myself included) prefer to install browser plugin or extensions that can potentially add more complex functionality than a bookmarklet and provide much more integration with your browser experience.
But the fact remains: a short snippet of code in a bookmarklet is a much more elegant and portable solution than an extension or plugin that needs to be installed and may be constantly taking up memory. An added bonus: bookmarklets will almost always work on any browser.
I recently switched to Chrome after Google’s browser added support for extensions in earnest (and in fact wrote an article about the must-have extensions for Google Chrome). I did, however, find myself transferring over to Chrome some indispensable bookmarklets that I was using on my previous browser; hence the idea for this posting was born.
This posting will present my favorite 12 useful bookmarklets that I use: Email This from Clickability, ClipNabber, Readability, PrintWhatYouLike, PageZipper, BitLet bookmarklet, FirebugLite, View Passwords, BugMeNot, Bit.ly, Map This, and Design.
1. Email This from Clickability: as the name implies, will let you send the link of the current page via email. The cool thing about this is that it is self contained: it will not need to open your local email client, no’r will it require opening any webmail service such as gmail. Simply click, enter a destination email or emails as well as your own email address, and send.
(You can register for an account with Email This if you would like address book integration and the like, but that is totally optional).
2. ClipNabber: a bookmarklet that can download almost any video from any video sharing site, excepting video services with encrypted media. The range of supported sites is amongst the largest I’ve seen, and includes YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, MegaVideo, etc. I actually sought out this one in light of the apparent absence of video downloading extensions for Chrome similar to DownThemAll or Download Helper.
All you need to do is click the bookmarklet while on the page of the video you want to download. Note, however, that you need to be browsing videos on the video sharing sites themselves and not watching them embedded in blogs and the like, in order for the bookmarklet to work. (In almost all cases, clicking on the video itself no matter where it is located will transport you to the video page on the video sharing service).
Update: the bookmarklet seems to have been discontinued. However, you can now install this service as an extension for Chrome and Firefox. Get it here.
3. Readability: this bookmarklet strips everything on a website you are viewing but the content of the article itself (i.e. the text, images, links and embedded media in the article itself). Everything else, such as ads, the design of the page , the content of headers, footers, and sidebars is all removed, and the resulting contents placed as black text on white background.
This can come in handy if the page is extremely busy and/or confusing, or if you want a single-click printable version of the page.
Update: the bookmarklet seems to have been discontinued. However, you can now install this service as an extension for Chrome .
PrintWhatYouLike is amazingly versatile; simply click on any element on the page and you could isolate, remove, resize or save it, to name a few options. It also offers the option to remove all images from a page in one fell sweep.Simply a great bookmarklet to have.
5. Bitlet bookmarklet: Bitlet is a web based torrent client that lets you download a torrent via your browser (I first mentioned Bitlet way back in a post entitled 5 Free Torrent Resources). It is a great way to avoid installing a torrent client on your machine in situations where you cannot or do not want to (or where p2p traffic might be blocked). It works really well to download torrents and requires java.
The Bitlet bookmarklet works on a wide range of Torrent sites and will transform the torrent links to Bitlet links that open and download via Bitlet (see screenshot).
Go here To Install Bookmarklets .
6. View Passwords: there are times when you need to know what that autofilled password behind the asterisks is. The “View Passwords” bookmarklet will simply display all passwords on the page that are otherwise not visible.
I had a bookmarklet that does this in my browser for an exremely long time, but when I searched the internet to find the source I came upon the one mentioned here, which is even better than the one I had originally.
7. PageZipper: once you click on this bookmarklet, scrolling down to the bottom on a blog like this one or, say, on a page of search results will automatically load the next page for you, so that you simply keep scrolling down rather than jump from one page to the next. A little unusual, but works really well. (On a personal note, I have found it works really well when you are seeking to grab a bunch of web-based data dispersed across a dozen or so pages and paste it into Excel in one fell swoop).
I like PageZipper because it works with sites that have “previous/next” links at the bottom as well as sites, like this one, that have page numbered navigation. Some browser extensions that offer the same functionality will offer the former but not the latter.
PageZipper will display browsing arrows in the upper right corner that can be really handy for navigation (see screenshot).
Unfortunately, Firebug is not available for other, non-Firefox browsers, but Firebug Lite is. It doesn’t provide the breadth of functionality that Firebug does, but for quick inspections of pages or page elements it will work just fine in a pinch, without requiring you to switch to Firefox.
Go here to Install bookmarklet .
9. BugMeNot: we’ve all had the experience where we wanted to get into a site, like a forum or a torrent site (or the New York Times or Washington Post), but found that it required you to register or become a member first. BugMeNot is a service that provides public-domain passwords that work with a wide range of sites. All you need to do is click on the BugMeNot bookmarklet when the site is loaded in your browser in order to find out if you can use a temporary login to get in, without having to register as a user yourself.
But don’t expect the logins to work every time. BugMeNot will actually give you a percentage of times the password worked, based on user votes.
10. Bit.ly: do you use Twitter? Do you need to use a URL shrinking service regularly? If so, the Bit.ly bookmarklet will come in very handy. Clicking it will open a web page and present you with a shortened version of the page you were at when you clicked.
11. Map This: this is a bookmark that let you enter an address and map it out for you in Google Maps. I sought this out because I wanted to be able to look up addresses simply in a manner similar to my iPhone, instead of going through the Google website.
12. Design: also known as Grid/Rule/Unit/Crosshair, is a suite of tools that can be extremely useful for web designers. It will summon a number of tools, on the browser, that can use to measure and calibrate your site design. Needless to say it can prove extremely useful for web designers and tweakers (esp those of you working with or creating CSS).
I just kind of piled up some of the tools on the page simultaneously for the screenshot to the right, in order to show off some of the functionality, so it looking very busy. In real life situations each one of the tools would be used separately of course.
Go here to Install bookmarklet .
Do you have suggestions for cool bookmarklets that should have been on this list? Please let me know in the comments section below.