Firefox note-taking add-ons are Web supersavers

ICyte, Wired-Marker, and Trails give you new ways to collect, save, and share Web content.

Web pages aren't getting any smaller, but there are usually not more than a few paragraphs or a couple of images of particular interest on any given page. Firefox add-ons ICyte (also available for IE), Wired-Marker, and Trails let you save all or sections of Web pages and share your snippets with others.

ICyte makes sharing easy
Most of the time, sharing Web content means sending someone a link via e-mail, chat, or phone. The ICyte add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer lets you highlight the important content on the page before you share it, or you can save and send portions of the page rather than the whole enchilada.

You must provide your name and e-mail address to use the service. After you download the add-on and restart Firefox, two buttons are added to the left of the address bar. Click the left button to create a Cyte for a new or existing "project." Here you can assign tags or a note to the Cyte. Click the button on the right to open your Cytes in the sidebar.

ICyte add-on for Firefox
Annotate Web pages before you save and share them with ICyte. ICyte

The Cyte entries in the sidebar show a thumbnail of the page, its name, the name of the project, and its comments and tags. When you click a Cyte to reopen it, a banner appears at the top of the main browser window showing the same information along with the date it was saved and a Live View button that returns to the original page. You can hide this banner to view more of the page itself.

Click the gear icon that appears when you hover over a Cyte in the sidebar to open its drop-down menu with options for editing the Cyte name and other data (but not the page itself), creating a copy, deleting the Cyte, sending it to someone via e-mail, or embedding it in a Web page. You can also share the sites you designate as public with others via RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, though I didn't try these features.

Get more mark-up options with Wired-Marker
If you're more interested in marking up a site than sharing it, the Wired-Marker add-on gives you more highlighting options but fewer output alternatives. The program adds a Wired-Marker option to Firefox's Tools menu. From there you can open the add-on's settings, return to a page you saved previously, or open the Wired-Marker sidebar (which you can also open by pressing Alt-X).

The sidebar's default view shows three panes: the Marker folders, the contents of the selected folder, and a list of all your cached pages. You can also view the selection's title and notes. To highlight text or images on a page, select it and then drag and drop it into one of the Marker folders in the top pane of the sidebar. Or right-click the selection, choose the Wired-Marker option, and select a Marker color.

Wired-Marker Firefox add-on
Highlight content on a Web page before you save it, or capture and save just the selected text with the Wired-Marker Firefox add-on. Wired-Marker

You can also capture images and save the annotated page as an HTML file. Printing the page requires that you change Firefox's printer options by clicking File, Page Setup, Formats & Options, and check Print Background.

Create booklets of Web content with Trails
If you're looking for a simpler approach to scraping and annotating Web content, take the Cafe Society's experimental Trails Firefox add-on out for a spin. After you download and install Trails, click View, Sidebar, Trails to open the Trails sidebar (or press Ctrl-Shift-F).

Select Booklet, Create Booklet, give the Trails file a name, and save it. To add content, simply select it, copy it to the clipboard, right-click the selection, and choose either Add Paragraph to Booklet, Add Subtitle to Booklet, or Add Image to Booklet. Then paste the content into the resulting dialog box. You can select light or bold text and add a separator, but that's about all the formatting options available. When you're done, press Save to add the content to the booklet.

Cafe Society's Trails Firefox add-on
The Trails add-on for Firefox lets you collect text and images from various sites to create booklets you can save as PDFs. Cafe Society

Double-click an entry to reopen it and add to or change its contents. To save the booklet as a PDF, click Publish, Export, To PDF.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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