These 32 amazing bookmarklets will add convenience, functionality, and boundless joy to your Internet experience
Because everyone uses the Internet in a different way, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all browser. The feature set one person needs might be too little or too much for another person. Extensions for browsers like Firefox and Chrome go a long way toward solving this problem, but installing and managing extensions is a pain, and can be an overly complicated solution to often-simple problems.
That’s where bookmarklets come in.
With the Grooveselect bookmarklet, if you know the name of a song, you can listen to it. Harnessing the power of Grooveshark, the too-good-to-be-true, no-seriously-how-haven't-these-guys-been-sued-into-oblivion-yet music discovery service, Grooveselect will look up and play any song that you've highlighted in the browser. Better yet, it plays in the background, so it doesn't interrupt your regularly scheduled browsing. To stop playback, just make sure nothing is selected and click the bookmarklet again.
Keep URLs short
If you’re in the habit of sharing a lot of links (Twitter users, bloggers, we’re looking at you), you know that URL shorteners like Bit.ly can be a huge help in keeping your character-count down and your article uncluttered. Unfortunately, it can be a pain to manually enter each link in the Bit.ly homepage. The Bit.ly bookmarklet solves this very problem. When you click it, a sidebar appears on the site you’re currently viewing, which shows you the shortened URL for that site, as well as a selection of relevant tweets.
Reformat the web
One of the most well-known bookmarklets, Readability allows you to reformat any article to your own viewing standards. Do you like your articles to look like a newspaper with small margins? Readability can handle that. Do you like large, white text on a black background? Readability's got that covered, too. Your wish is Readability’s command.
Find like-minded folk
People who don't understand Twitter think it's all about sharing what you had for lunch, or other miscellaneous trivia. The truth is, it's about having conversations about the things that interest you, and Sweetter helps you find people on the web who are talking about the things you care about. If you like a certain website, or a certain blogger, just go to that content, click the Sweetter bookmarklet, and you'll see the 10 most recent tweets about the site.
Probably the simplest bookmarklet on this list, Scroll Down does exactly what it says—it scrolls down. Slowly. Sounds silly, but if you're the kind of person who likes to open a long article, sit back and relax while reading, it's exactly what you need. What do you do when you get to the bottom? Well, there's another bookmarklet called Scroll Up, but that would be silly.
Animation, frame by frame
When you click the GIFExplode bookmarklet, you are asked to select any animated GIF on the currently active website. You're then taken to the GIFExplode web app, which "explodes" the animation into its composite frames, which you can view individually or save.
Check the source
Anyone who frequents Wikipedia is familiar with the little bracketed superscript numbers, which link to the all-important references that make the encyclopedia a trustworthy source. The only problem with these source links is that you can't see what the source is without scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page and interrupting your reading. With the Wikipedia Footnotes bookmarklet, you can simply hover over links, and the source is displayed in a pop-up box.
If websites could talk...
Never find yourself without a text-to-speech converter again, thanks to VozMe. Simply highlight some text on a web page, click the VozMe bookmarklet (available in male and female variants) and enjoy the sweet, robotic sounds of the VozMe web app's automatic text-to-speech service.
Get sticky with it
Slapnotes is a web service that allows you to place virtual Post-It-style notes all over the web. You have to create a (free) account to use the service. Then use the bookmarklet to easily generate notes on any website—they’ll still be there the next time you come back to the page. You can manage, browse, and search all your notes from your account page.
Where bookmarklets gather
Hold onto your hats, because things are about to get meta. This bookmarklet keys into the massive bookmarklet database at Marklet.com, to allow you to use virtually any bookmarklet that exists, even if you haven’t saved it to your bookmark bar. Just click the bookmarklet, type something into the search bar that appears, and you'll see a list of all related bookmarklets. Clicking one of the bookmarklets is the same as clicking it in your bookmarks bar, so you'll never be caught without the tool you need.
There are two bookmarklets available from Google for subscribing to RSS feeds using its Reader web service. The first simply allows you to automatically view the first RSS feed on any page in Google Reader, which any RSS-user knows is one of the best. The second bookmarklet displays a box that shows you a list of all RSS feeds on a page, for sites like our own with more than one feed. Clicking on any of the feeds opens them in Google Reader, like the first bookmarklet.
Amazon Wish List
Keep track of the stuff you want
Amazon, one of the easiest ways to shop online, just got even easier. This simple bookmarklet lets you highlight any product on any site and add it to your Amazon.com wish list, without leaving the page. Use it for wedding registries, birthdays, holidays, or your own personal shopping. It works on pretty much any site, though you’ll get better results with already-established e-commerce sites.
RSS to PDF Newspaper
Convert and save your feeds
RSS to PDF Newspaper is a handy bookmarklet by fivefilters that converts any RSS feed you're viewing to a newspaper style PDF file. The bookmarklet instantly converts your feed of choice in your browser, where you can save it for later viewing. You can drag the link into your bookmarks bar, or get creative and visit fivefilters.org to customize your 'marklet. The site lets you change the header for your PDFs, add images, and change the order of your stories.
Put lazy people in their place
How frustrated do you get when your friend IMs you to ask a question that could have just as easily been answered with a quick Google search. Pretty frustrated, right? Now you can use a convenient bookmarklet to express that frustration by creating an animation that shows just how easy it is to find the answer to questions using Google. Just highlight a word, click your bookmarklet, and message your friend right back with the resulting link. It's a little snarky, but that's why we like it.
It doesn't get any cuter than this
There are a lot of frivolous bookmarklets out there. We’ve resisted the temptation to include them in the list—up until now. The one that finally broke our resolve is Kittenify, which lets you transform all of the images on a page into cute little kittens, doing cute little kitten things. Now who doesn't want a bookmarklet like that? We only wish it worked on ads, too, but for now all the banners on MaximumPC.com will suffice. Convert our site to kittens, stat!
Some videos need to be saved
PwnYouTube is a bookmarklet that lets you save YouTube videos as either high-quality .mp4 files, or as standard Flash video. Just click the bookmarklet and you'll see a yellow bar at the top of your browser screen. Right-click on either of the suggested formats, select Save As, and you'll have that hi-larious video of a surfing alpaca saved on your hard drive for all eternity!
We've always been a fan of Boxee as a solid media PC app, but now we've found a way to make it even better. Boxee's own bookmarklet allows users to add videos from sites like YouTube to their queue. As long as you have Boxee installed on your system (it doesn't have to be open), you can click the bookmarklet and it will add the video in your browser to your account's queue. It's a must have for all Boxee users!
Sync bookmarks from any browser
You may know that you can sync your Chrome bookmarks to your Google account, but did you know you can easily do the same thing using any browser? This bookmarklet makes it possible. Clicking the bookmarklet displays a pop-up window that lets you edit a site's title, add tags, notes, and add it to your Google bookmarks list. If you haven't been using Google to manage your bookmarks yet, this little tool just might make it worth your while.
Remember the Milk
Making the to-do list is the easy part
Do you use the Remember the Milk web app to manage your tasks and reminders? Remember the Milk's own bookmarklet is a great way to add tasks to your account as soon as you're reminded of them. See a concert online that you want to eventually purchase tickets for? Just highlight it, click your bookmarklet, and add it to your list of things to do. You can edit the title, date, tags, and list all with the bookmarklet, and based on what you highlight, Remember the Milk will fill in some of the blanks for you.
Long URL Please
Avoid unsavory surprises
Thanks to Twitter's 140-character limit, URL shorteners have become all the rage. If you're tearing your hair out over all these short URLs, breathe a sigh of relief; Long URL Please is here for you. This handy bookmarklet supports 80 services, and will help keep you from accidentally stumbling upon things you'd just rather not see. Click the bookmarklet and the origins of every shortened URL on the page are revealed.
Create links with a simple click
XenoMachina's Linkify is a true timesaver for anyone that publishes content to the web. How does it work? Open up your blog editor of choice, start a post, and type. Get to something you'd like to create a link for? Select the term, click Linkify, and you'll get a pop-up that searches Google. Just pick the result you'd like to link to and you're all set. Linkify doesn't work in Google docs, but it works just about everywhere else—Flickr, Blogger, and yes, even Twitter.
Now they're speaking your language
It seems like nearly every one of Google’s myriad online services has a bookmarklet, and Google Translate is no exception. In fact, there are more than 50 bookmarklets for the online translator—one for each language it supports. Simply save the bookmarklet for your mother tongue, then highlight some text in another language and give it a click. Google Translate will take care of the rest.
You just dropped your favorite sandwich on the floor while taking it out of the microwave. You’ve got to tell the world, quick! Click your Facebook bookmarklet and post the bad news instantly to your page, then sit back and wait for a slew of sad faces from the girls and insults from guys. People don’t believe you? Upload an iPhone picture of your destroyed turkey melt to Facebook, then use the Choose Thumbnail feature built into the bookmarklet interface to prove to people that you’re not just a liar looking for some online pity.
Get it right the first time
An unfortunate truth about passwords is, the more you get them wrong in one sitting, the more likely your browser is going to lock you out, whether you simply misspelled the password or not. Lucky for you, there’s a View Passwords bookmarklet that you can use any time you enter a password, to ensure you’ve spelled your secret service code without error. Access any website that requires a password, punch it in, then run View Passwords to ensure that it’s spelled absolutely correctly, so you can hit Login with complete confidence, no matter how much you’ve had to drink. We’re not judging.
Print only what you want
Ever try to print something from one of your favorite websites, only to find a jumbled mess of advertisements and pop-ups distracting you from the actual content (and using up substantially more ink)? Use the Click2Zap bookmarklet to selectively choose which parts of any given page you’d like to print, whether it’s a single image or an entire article. Activating Click2Zap will turn your mouse into a “deselection tool,” so to speak, allowing you to choose what you don’t want to print by dragging a large yellow window across irrelevant information. Not happy with your (de) selection? Hit Undo at the top-right corner and give it another go. When you’re done, hit Print, and save yourself some grief, and some ink!
Read It Later
Enjoy online articles at your leisure
Read It Later is a web service that allows you to save and consolidate unread articles and come back to them whenever you’d like. To get the most out of the service, you need a fast, simple way to add articles to your queue, and the Read It Later bookmarklet provides just that. Simply click it whenever you want to save an article, and it’ll be waiting for you next time you visit the Read It Later site.
Five Must-Have Search Bookmarklets
So far, we’ve tried to keep from cluttering up this list with a lot of bookmarklets that are essentially glorified search bars. These make up a large chunk of the bookmarklets available, and all work in essentially the same way:
1. Save [service x]'s search bookmarklet 2. Highlight some text, and click the bookmarklet 3. Be whisked away to [service x]'s page, automatically searching for the highlighted text.
We haven’t included these because they’re all basically the same, and kind of boring, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t very useful. Here’s a list of our five most commonly used search bookmarklets:
Wikipedia: Keeping this bookmarklet handy makes it easier than ever to be a know-it-all online.
IMDB: Unfamiliar with the actor or movie mentioned in the blog post you just read? Look it up on IMDB.
Google Images: Can’t remember what color a giraffe’s tongue is? If you had this bookmarklet you could just highlight “giraffe’s tongue” and find out.
Urban Dictionary: Sometimes you need to learn about words that aren’t in the regular dictionary. Next time you catch yourself wondering what it actually means to ghost ride a whip, you know what to use.
Three Ways to Better Bookmarklet Organization
There are more than 30 bookmarklets on our list, and there’s hundreds more available online. That’s a problem. Why? Because you can fit only about 10 or so on your bookmarks bar before it becomes a complete mess. Fortunately, there are ways to keep lots of bookmarklets organized. Here are three quick tips:
Organize your bookmarklets into folders. Bookmarklets work just as well in folders as they do on your browser’s bookmarks bar, so sort them into logical groups like “Search Bars” and “Writing Resources.”
Keep your bookmarklets on the cloud. Bookmark-syncing applications like Xmarks usually work with bookmarklets, so you can make sure you’ve got your browser toolbox available to you wherever you go.
Rename your bookmarklets. Changing a bookmarklet’s name won’t break it, and may make it shorter or easier for you to remember.