Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 16:56:58 -0400
Sender: The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 25 May 1999 - Bookmarklets
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
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TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Bookmarklets
Bookmarklets are one of the coolest and most useful ideas I've seen in
a long time. They are a simple combination of browser bookmarks and
bookmarklets can add macros and additional features to your browser,
whether it's Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
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Bookmarklets are cool because they work anywhere - Windows, Macintosh,
Unix or any other platform where you can run Netscape or Explorer. By
assigning a bookmarklet to a permanent button on your Navigator
Personal Toolbar or Explorer Links Bar, you can add some very useful
features to your browser.
How Do Bookmarklets Work?
If you're not a geek, you can safely skip this section. But if you
want to understand how bookmarklets work and how to write your own,
As I mentioned earlier, bookmarklets combine the power of bookmarks
the same way you use normal bookmarks. Type this URL into your browser
and you should see a popup appear on the screen. (If it doesn't, either
If I make it into an HTML hyperlink as shown below, you can just click
on it to run the script. But that's boring... Making this hyperlink
into a bookmarklet is where the fun begins. To do that, just drag
the hyperlink and drop it on the Personal Toolbar.
Ride The Bus
Note: This probably won't work unless you're reading this issue as a
web page with your browser. To do that, visit the Tourbus Archives at
the address below and open up the issue for 25 May 1999.
Creating a bookmarklet that just pops up a message isn't very exciting.
But describing how to do some really useful stuff wouldn't be practical
in this space. So I suggest you read the excellent article at
which describes in detail how to create your own bookmarklets.
Some Really Cool Bookmarklets
At Bookmarklets.com you'll find dozens of free bookmarklets written
by Steve Kangas. Fortunately for us, Steve decided to quit his job
as a Low-dimensional Topologist (rough translation: Serious Math Nerd)
when he discovered the Web in 1995. Steve has created all kinds of
useful bookmarklets and he's nice enough to give them away FREE on
his website. Here's a sample of what you'll find there:
- Pop up a search box without loading the search engine home page.
Enter your search words, press OK and the search results appear!
- Select a word that's NOT a hyperlink and quickly feed it into
your favorite search engines, dictionary or thesaurus. Lets
you turn any word on a web page into a hyperlink. You MUST
try this one!
CALCULATORS & CONVERTERS
- Crunch numbers (even complicated formulas) or convert weight,
temperature, length, volume from English <-> Metric.
JUST THE LINKS
- Creates a new page with just the links that appear in the
page you are viewing.
EMAIL SELECTED TEXT
- Mark the desired text, start this bookmarklet and either Outlook
or Messenger will pop up with selected text in the message body.
- Changes the background color of the page you are viewing to
the color you specify. Really helpful for those "dark blue
on black" motifs that are impossible to read.
- Removes the background image of the page. Helpful if the page
has a background image that makes it difficult to read the text.
- Optionally hide all images, or just 468x60 ad banners. Sounds
more interesting than useful, but who knows?
- Auto-scroll a web page for you. The page scrolls down
automatically at a speed you select.
- Puts a yellow background behind each link, so it looks like it
was marked with a highlighting pen. (Some sites are now using
"style sheets" which allow the designer to create links without
the standard color and underlining - sigh.)
Not surprisingly, the address to find all this good stuff is:
To add any of these bookmarklets to your browser, just drag the link
and drop it on your Personal Toolbar or Links Bar. A new button will
appear and you can run the bookmarklet by clicking that button.
That's all for now - see you next time! --Bob Rankin
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