This week on Lorelle’s WordPress School free online course we’ve been covering the web browser, your gateway to the web and WordPress. So far in this Web Browser Guide series we’ve covered some web browser history, keyboard and mouse shortcuts, browser tabs, and search operators and shortcuts to help you find WordPress help as well as research topics and citations for your WordPress site.
This tutorial and the next are related. They are about how to:
- Preserve web pages for future access or reading
- Use browser scripts as bookmarklets and user scripts
What relates the two? Both may use the browser bookmark bar, the area where you may store information and browser scripts to improve your web browsing experience.
Here are some terms to help you get started with these two tutorials:
- Bookmark: A bookmark is a saved web page. The address is saved in your browser’s Bookmark Manager. If desired, bookmarks may be sorted into folders or groups and subgroups to organize them and make them easier to find. You may also control how and where they appear on your bookmark bar or menu in your browser, bringing one click access to the bookmarks.
- Send To: Developed even before mobile, the sendto function found in many computers and browsers is the ability to send a web page to another location. The location could be to send the web page from Firefox to Internet Explorer to view how the web page looks in the different browsers. It could be to send the web page link by email, to your phone, from your phone to your computer, to your tablet, and to social media accounts. You may also send the web page to various services and apps for storing for later access and reading.
- Browser Extension or Add-on: Two synonymous names, extensions and browser add-ons extend the functionality of the web browser, adding features and functions based upon your needs and goals. They are similar to the concept of WordPress Plugins.
Let’s start simple with bookmarks and build our way up through the other web browser features.
Web Browser Bookmarks
A bookmark is a saved web page or website. It is saved as a bookmark, like the traditional placeholder in a book, or favorite (Internet Explorer’s term) within the web browser for later reference and retrieval.
To save the web page you are viewing, press CTRL/CMD+D.
A popup will appear on the screen with the title of the web page and site name. You may change the title to something more memorable to you.
A bookmark may be titled anything, not just the name of the original site or article. Set the name to something memorable to you when you save the bookmark, or edit it to give it a better name.
To edit a bookmark, right click on the bookmark and choose Edit or Properties.
There is also an option to save the bookmark to the bookmark bar or elsewhere. Click the drop down box to see your choices and edit to add new folders or places to add the bookmark so you will remember where you put it and easily find it again.
Over many years of webbing through the world, I’ve a love hate relationship with web browser bookmarks. I’ve spent whole days of my life putting things in order after becoming careless, then letting things slide again until these become a mess. I wish they would organize themselves.
Until then, be judicious with bookmarking web pages. Add only those you will come back to time and time again such as Google translate or an HTML reference guide.
If you need the bookmark to jump out at you, making it easy to find on the list or bookmark bar, add to or edit the title to add arrows ===> or asterisks **** for emphasis before the title.
The Browser Bookmark Bar
The bookmark bar is found under the address bar of the web browser. If it isn’t visible, right click in an empty space above or near the tabs and click/check the bookmark bar to make it visible, or go to the menus to find View and find the option to show the bookmark bar. Please note that when you installed the web browser or started your new computer, the bookmark bar may have come with pre-installed and useless bookmarks. You may remove those by right clicking on them and choosing to delete or remove. Seriously, do you need a link to HP or Dell computers now that you own the computer?
The bookmark bar is where you may save bookmarks for faster access, otherwise they are saved in the bookmark manager, a deeper dive to find, though most browsers make it available through a dropdown list or arrow at the far right of the bookmark bar.
If you planning on using that bookmark frequently, ensure it is on the bookmark bar. This is an ideal place for the address to your email, social media sites and services, file sharing or online document services, and all your WordPress sites.
Once on the bookmark bar, it is now easy to click and drag the bookmarks around to organize them.
To access the Bookmarks Manager, use the keyboard shortcut for your browser or the menu to access Bookmarks > Bookmarks Manager. In the manager, you can rearrange the bookmarks in a way that will help you find them in the future.
Many people think that the bookmark bar can only hold a single bookmark. Not true. You can add folders with many bookmarks in them to the bookmark bar.
Folders keep your bookmarks not only better organized and under control, but findable. You can also add subfolders, not only grouping related bookmarked sites and information together but also categorizing it so you can quickly navigate to the web page information you wish to find.
Open the Bookmark Manager and create or find the folder with your favorite bookmarks or a specific collection of bookmarks gathered within. Rearrange them to meet your need for a sense of order.
To do this, click and drag the folder to the bookmark bar on your browser. Now, when you need them, you can click the folder on the bar and go through the list and choose which one you want to use.
From time to time, backup and export your bookmarks from your browser. Most browsers will use the bookmarks from other browsers installed on that computer, but it helps to save them just in case. After all, you worked hard to create these.
To export or import bookmarks:
- Export Firefox bookmarks to an HTML file to back up or transfer bookmarks | Firefox Help
- Restore bookmarks from backup or move them to another computer | Firefox Help
- Import or export bookmarks – Chrome Help
Saving Web Pages for Reference
Bookmarks are fine for some, but the ability to save a web page for later access, reading, and research can take many forms, and you choose the form that works best for your needs and workflow. I can only offer suggestions, and we’ll talk about this more in the Google+ Community as well as in the comments below as we explore all your methods.
The most simple way to save a web page for later access is by saving it to your hard drive. Simply go to File > Save As and save the web page to your computer as you would any document. Be sure and put it in a folder where you can find it later.
To access the web page, open your computer’s file manager and go to that folder and double click on the HTML file with the title of the web page.
A saved web page consists of the HTML file plus an additional folder holding the code and design elements to generate the web page offline. The two are linked together, so ensure you do not delete one without the other if you wish to preserve the web page.
While this makes it easy to access the web page whenever you wish from your computer – that’s part of the problem. You might not be on your computer. You might be at work, home, or on your mobile device when you need to find that web page. Then what?Before the ease of web apps and their send-to capabilities, the issue of managing bookmarks was a nightmare for many, and several services were created to make the bookmarking, researching, referencing, and reading experience on the web easier by allowing the saving of web page links in a way that turned your bookmarks into research and references notebooks.
Delicious was one of the first and most popular bookmark saving and sharing sites, allowing people to save bookmarked web pages with notes and tags that others could use as well if they were researching the same topics. It has had its ups and downs over the years but it continues to be invaluable to many, especially in academia.
Diigo became the next generation, allowing highlighting, sticky notes, taxonomies, and more to truly convert the bookmarking experience into full research notebooks, collating your findings.
Which leads us to saving web pages for later reading and reference beyond bookmarks and saving web pages to your computer.
Save For Later Reading and Reference
I remember back when we had to get off our duffs to change the channel. Then came remotes. No movement required other than a finger or two. Still, with the freedom to change channels, we didn’t have freedom to watch what we wanted when we wanted. You either showed up for the 8PM air time or wait for reruns months or years later. With the advent of recording devices, we started down that road, but we still wanted more control over the when and where, and the how. Adding a computer and hard drive to our television systems like with Tivo, then the development of Internet, wireless access, and streaming, we now save and watch our shows when we want, as we want, and on any device we wish on our schedule. That’s a consumer controlled experience. We like it.
Today, you can do the same with web pages that catch your fancy. Today, people treat web pages like pages in a book. You become the editor and publisher, reading at your leisure in your own self-generated book or magazine when you want and where. Personally, I like reading my web in the hot tub, something not easily done with a television or desktop computer.
In a mobile device, these are integrated automatically, a press of the finger bringing up options to send or forward the photograph, web page, or social media chat to a variety of sources including email. This also makes it easy for us to save what we want to read when we have time, on the train, bus, sitting in traffic, waiting for appointments, on our lunch breaks, in bed, in the bathroom, and at times when nothing else is going on that demands our immediate attention.
Safari web browser has a Share built right into it at the top right of the address bar that resembles the universal upload graphic.
Love Kindle? You can easily send a web page to your Kindle app for later viewing with a bookmarklet (more information on these in the next tutorial). This single bookmark has changed my online reading life, allowing me to separate myself from the browser and read at my leisure and in my own time, even offline.
Think of the possibilities. Once set up, with one click you can save these tutorials to Kindle and read them on your phone or tablet while working on your test site. It would be like having another monitor.
Instapaper offers the same integrated experience, but allowing you to bundle your saved web pages together into a single readable Kindle experience.
Evernote is similar but more complex, and considered one of the most popular online notebooks and task lists. It saves the web page for annotation and note taking into a notebook format, keeping related content together. It features a Evernote Web Clipper and Evernote Clearly to save the web page you are viewing to a notebook in Evernote, collating your research together in a familiar work/study interface. It stores the information on their servers on the cloud and syncs with all of your devices for quick access. There is a free and premium version for dedicated users.
Pocket (formerly Read Later), Instapaper, Any.do, Readability, and Klip.me are just a few of the most popular save it and read it later apps, with all of them crossing the mobile divide for seamless access to the saved content. Many of these also feature bookmarklets for easy saving of web pages as you surf.
For an extensive step-by-step look at many of these saving and send-to features, see “The Best Ways to Save Webpages to Read Later” by How To Geek.
There are no perfect solutions to managing your saved web pages, and I’ve experimented with almost all of these over the years. So please share your insights on how you do this in our Google+ Community or in the comments below.
This assignment is about browser bookmarks and how to save web pages for future access and reference. While this type of tutorial may or may not help you specifically with WordPress, it does help you when researching content for your WordPress site.
To help you with WordPress and learn how to use bookmarks to make your WordPress experience faster and easier, in your Bookmarks Bar, create a folder for WordPress and begin adding your web resources for WordPress help and information. I’ve listed many in the WordPress Resources tutorial.
If you have been using bookmarks, take a few minutes (or hours) now to clean them up. There are browser extensions that will sort and clean up duplicates in your browser bookmark manager. Experiment with them, making a backup first. Arrange them into folders and ways that make them easier to access.
Also go out and find other references related to your test site or professional site, and ensure that those sites and data are bookmarked, ready for you to tap into if you need while working on your site.
Experiment with some of the bookmarking and read later sites and services. Many students and clients use Evernote or Diigo to setup a notebook with all of my educational material saved in one place along with their notes and instructions specific to their site. Consider setting one up to help you keep track of each assignment and your progression through the course.
In the next part of this web browser mini-series, I’ll be talking about browser bookmarklets and userscripts, the programmed bookmarks and add-ons to really turn your web browser into a powerhouse, both for WordPress and your site, and to make your web experience much easier.
Join us in our discussions on this assignment in our WordPress School Google+ Community and share your insights on browsers, bookmarks, and how to save web pages for later access and research. Are you using Evernote or Diigo? Or another task and note-keeping app? How is it working for you? How are you using it for this course? Got tips?
This is a tutorial from Lorelle’s WordPress School. For more information, and to join this free, year-long, online WordPress School, see:
- Lorelle’s WordPress School Introduction
- Lorelle’s WordPress School Description
- WordPress School Tutorials List
- WordPress School Google+ Community
- WordPress Publishing Checklist
- How to Give Feedback and Criticism