Read It Later for Firefox

Internet bookmarks. We all use it to some extent whether in Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari or Opera. However, there are many of us who have the trigger happy mechanism: they constantly bookmark any site they come across as long as it provides even just a little interest. There are also many others (myself included) who bookmark a lot of sites thinking that one day, it will eventually be needed. No matter the case, we usually end up with one similar result: a cluttered bookmark library! Although it’s relatively easy to organize bookmarks by dropping them into different folders, we are still stuck with useless bookmarks that may never be looked at again. This solution can be solved with a Firefox addon called Read it Later. It  is a small Firefox addon that quickly adds a second bookmark library to your Firefox browser, sort of. Rather than dropping bookmarked items directly in your main bookmark library, sites you bookmark with Read it Later gets dropped into a separate folder (which still resides in your main bookmark library). However, the advantage is that you can actually sort those bookmarks by date created. This helps you see which bookmarks have been marked the oldest. Therefore, if there is a bookmark that has been just sitting there for weeks and even months, you’ll know it’s time to revisit it and see if still need them. If not, un-bookmarking them is just another click away. However, Read it Later provides much more besides that basic feature.

Read it Later

1. You can download the Read it Later Firefox addon here.

2. Once installed, you’ll get a new Read it Later toolbar icon along with another one inside your Firefox address/URL bar (it’s a checkmark right next to the star). Also, there is the Click to Save mode icon at the bottom of Firefox’s status bar, which I’ll all go over in details further down the article.

RIL Icon

To begin using Read it Later, simply click on the checkmark icon in the address bar. It will turn red once done so. To remove a bookmark, simply click it again to deselect it. To browse over your sites, click on the reading list icon. You’ll then see a list of sites you have ‘book-marked’ to be read later.

Adding Bookmarks

3. As you can see, Read it Later makes it super easy to go back to a site you bookmarked earlier. You can think of Read it Later as a temporary bookmarking service. Once you have gone over a page you bookmarked, you can either delete it from your Read it Later list or store it in your main Firefox bookmark library. To do the latter, simply select the option ‘Add to Firefox Bookmarks’ in the checkbox dropdown menu. In this same menu, you can also send the bookmark to other bookmarking sites such as Digg, del.icio.us and a host of many others.

Additional Services

Other Features

To quickly get a glance and additional features, watch this video at the Idea Shower website. I’m taking this is where Read it Later’s official homepage is at.

Read it Later has other tricks up its sleeves, although they aren’t mind blowing or haven’t been done before. For example, you can quickly and easily turn your Read it Later list into a RSS feed. This way, you can publish or easily share your bookmarks with others. Another pretty cool feature is their Offline Reading mode. By utilizing this feature, Read it Later will cache a copy of sites in your list for offline viewing. This is a great idea when you know you’ll be disconnected from the Internet but still want to view websites in your Read it Later list. To do so, simply click on the appropriate option from the Reading List. You’ll then be presented with a dialog box if this is your first time utilizing this feature (you can turn it off as well). Once you hit OK, Read it Later will begin caching the sites to your local hard disk. To view them (while you are disconnected from the Internet), simply switch Firefox to Offline Mode (in the File menu) and your Read it Later sites will be displayed using the offline cache copy. Once again, this feature is not new to a web browser as you can save webpages manually as well for offline reading but Read it Later makes it much more easier.

Offline Feature
Queuing Downloads

One very useful feature is the Click to Save mode. Once this is turned on, links you click thereafter will all be saved to your Read it Later list. This is super handy when you want to mark multiple items from your favorite news site, for example. When you are about to head out with your laptop and you’ll know that you won’t be able to connect to the Internet for some time, you can quickly mark those links by using the Click to Save mode and then having Read it Later cache a local copy of it. That way, you’ll still be able to catch up on important news events while riding on the bus or taxi cab. To activate Click to Save mode, simply click on the red checkmark button (with a black arrow on it) on the bottom of Firefox. Once turned on, you can then click on links and each will be saved. To turn off Click to Save mode, press the button once more.

Click to Save Mode

Finally, what’s bookmarking service without syncing? Worry not as Read it Later got this covered as well. Similar to the well beloved Xmarks addon, Read it Later allows you to sync your reading list with other computers. By creating an account with Read it Later on their website, you can also manage your reading list from any computer with an Internet connection. Heck, there’s even an iPhone application for this!

To configure even more options for Read it Later, head into their Options menu.

RIL Options

In the End…

While Read it Later doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, it sure as heck makes things a lot simpler! I understand that many of you will immediately mark this addon as being useless as Firefox already has a built-in bookmarking system. However, Read it Later is a really nice addition and can do things Firefox can’t by default. Being able to quickly save webpages for offline viewing is a really nice and handy feature. Don’t be too quick to dismiss Read it Later. Give it try and see how it can help you manage your array of bookmarks!

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