Introducing a hidden feature: our free bookmarklet

Introducing a hidden feature: our free bookmarklet

A hidden feature in your beloved bookmark manager? Why is that? How? And more specifically, what is a bookmarklet anyway? Also: why should you want to use a bookmarklet, when there is a superfast extension you can install? These are the questions we will answer in this article. We’ll help you set up this nifty piece of code. And finally, we’ll point you to some other useful bookmarklets.

Who knows, perhaps you’ll even wonder how you’ve ever managed without.

What is a bookmark, really?

Another fine example of a bookmark
Another excellent example of a bookmark

First things first: the word ‘Bookmarklet’ itself. As you might have guessed, it has a real connection to a bookmark. So let’s explore the bookmark first, then we’ll get to the bookmarklet.

A bookmark is nothing more than a hyperlink you’ve saved for later use. The hyperlink is customarily dressed up with a little icon (favicon) and a name. You can store the information a bookmark contains in the bookmark folder of your browser, or even more conveniently directly above your browser window, in the bookmarks bar. This is the most basic version of the bookmark, you’ll find in any browser, on any device.

More than just a bookmark

A bookmarklet is a particular kind of bookmark. Just like with regular bookmarks, it carries its own name and icon, but instead of a hyperlink, it contains a little program, usually written in Javascript. When you click the bookmarklet, the program will run. That’s it. Instead of directing you to another website, it typically performs a function on the site you’re looking at.

Some bookmarklets may change the colors of your website to make them more legible. Others help marketers in discovering important information for SEO or other pieces of background information. It’s a surprisingly versatile tool, even though you can only click it once.

The start.me bookmarklet

So, with this background information, it’s time to introduce the start.me bookmarklet. We’ve called it a hidden feature, mostly because we don’t expect everyone to know it’s there. We haven’t kept it from our users, but we’re pretty confident it’s still a surprise.

Only the most observant of our users could have discovered our bookmarklet.
Only the most observant of our users could have discovered our bookmarklet.

Another place where you might have discovered it is on the dedicated page in our support section. Feel free to check it out.

What about our extensions?

Yes, the best and most natural way to manage your bookmarks in your personal start.me page is with one of our extensions. You can download one for Google Chrome or for Firefox. This way we service no less than 70% of the browser market.

But what if you want to use one of the other browsers out there? Almost 12% still use trusty old Internet Explorer. Anyone using an iPhone or iPad will think twice before ditching the native Safari browser. And then there are Opera or one of the other alternative browsers we’ve partnered up with: Vivaldi, Pale Moon, Torch, Iron.

Of course, you can use start.me on any of these browsers. As our startpage is basically a website you can design yourself, you can access it from anywhere. But how do you quickly add new bookmarks? That’s where the bookmarklet comes in.

How to set it up

First of all, make sure the Bookmarks bar (Chrome terminology, also used in Vivaldi, Torch, Iron) is visible on top of the browser window. This bar is also called the Bookmarks Toolbar (Firefox, Opera, Pale Moon) or the Favorites bar (Edge, Explorer).

Once this toolbar is activated, you just have to open this page and click and drag the following link to the top of your window: Add to start.me

This solution works with every browser, except for Edge or Explorer. There’s no easy way around this, I’m afraid, so I won’t get into it here. It would make this tutorial rather complicated.

For any other browser: next time you visit a page you’d like to save to your start.me page, just click the bookmarklet and off you go!

What about my iPhone, iPad or Android?

The extensions (for Chrome or Firefox) or the bookmarklet are most useful on a desktop computer. But since no less than 60% of all online traffic seems to be flowing through handheld devices nowadays, we’ve considered that too.

For Apple or Google devices you can quickly discover and install a dedicated app. The Apple App you can find in the well known App Store. For Android devices, you go to the Google Play store.

Once you’ve installed these apps, you can add any page with the sharing button. You’re also able to use a bookmarklet here, but this is something we’ll leave for another tutorial.

Final thoughts

A bookmarklet is a lightweight, easy solution to the bookmark problem. Unlike with an extension, it doesn’t collect any data in the background. You don’t give anyone permission to view your browsing activity. It only works when you click it, and nothing more. It also sticks to the page in view. It’s worth considering trying this out, especially if you’re worried about online privacy.

But there’s more to it: bookmarklets are free and useful tools, available to anyone. They seem to have emerged from this generous, rebellious spirit that first animated the internet. This is why we love to share some of the most exciting Bookmarklet sites we’ve come across, over the years. Who knows, they might just make your life online just a bit more enjoyable:

  • Github – where you’ll find great ways to look at the video and read comments at the same time;
  • Browser Power – where you can learn to write a bookmarklet yourself;
  • Lifehacker – 10 useful bookmarklets, with some background information.
  • Marklets.com – more bookmarklets than you can count, including our favorite ‘Word Count.’

Well, that’s it for now. If you’ve found this tutorial useful, please let us know in the comments. And if you’d like to share some of your Bookmarklet stories, feel free! We love to be inspired.

Stefan van Dierendonck

Stefan van Dierendonck

For many years Stefan has been active as a blogger, building and maintaining his own and other websites. He is also the author of two well received novels. Wherever possible he tries to combine modern technology with literary or at least pleasantly legible content.


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2 Replies to “Introducing a hidden feature: our free bookmarklet”

  1. Saving bookmarks is a feature that is already built into any browser. Personally I prefer to save space so never use the browsers Bookmark Toolbar (Bar) which takes up another row of additional horizontal space to be displayed at the top of the browser. All browsers provide a “Bookmark this page” icon (in my case a part of the address bar) that opens an interface to save your bookmark in any folder you might want it saved which does the job for me. So my approach significantly reduces the area used at the top of my browser to only two-rows consisting of the following:
    1) The first row contains a condensed menu functions button (something that in great detail Pale Moon and to a lesser extent Opera provide that also saves space) along with all of the remaining browser tabs.
    2) The second row consists of the address bar, search bar and browser icon functions and add-on icons.

    Both rows only take up a horizontal space of less than ½ inch leaving me with a maximum amount of browser web-page space (I also use CSS code to limit other functions, that I won’t go into, that provides additional web-page space for me as well). My goal is to limit the amount of functions down to just two narrow rows so that I have a maximum amount of web-page space available.

    1. Hi Mike, Thanks for responding to our blogpost! I understand you prefer as much space as possible on your browser. This is where an additional Bookmark bar could indeed be a problem. With our Chrome extension this shouldn’t be a problem, as you can display this icon without the bar. Have you tried this already?

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