People always perform their work on web browsers. You might be performing some repetitive steps every day during work, and you might have wondered - it would be really nice if I can install a browser extension that simplify my works with a single click!

Yeah, there are tons of browser extensions available, but what if you work in a company that prohibits you from installing browser extensions that are not approved? IT departments usually ban the installation of unverified extensions for a reason. I randomly found an article from Google -, browser extensions could be dangerous.

Then recently, I came across the idea of using “bookmarklets” from my colleague:

A bookmarklet is a bookmark stored in a web browser that contains JavaScript commands that add new features to the browser.

I’ll illustrate what is a bookmarklet in a few examples.

Listing Google search results of the current page - with a single click

Say you are an SEO specialist and one of your daily job is to look at which URLs of your domain appear on Google:

Search domain on Google

Source code? Actually not that complex:''

While the code itself is very short, it actually represents a workflow of what an SEO specialist might always do:

  1. Remember / copy the full domain name of a website, say
  2. Open a new browser tab
  3. Enters
  4. In the search bar, enter the token site:
  5. Paste / type the domain, so that the search field becomes e.g., and then press enter

If one is normally using 5 seconds to do that, now you can run the whole “workflow” within half a second. If one does that check once every working day, when annualised the bookmarklet is saving you (5 - 0.5) × 20 × 12 = 1,080 seconds = 18 minutes.

While this might sound totally useless to you, I see an opportunity to speed up a lot of our tiny chore tasks. What you need is imagination!


Let’s look at two more examples I just thought of:

Run PageSpeed Insights for current page

Another “workflow” that a website owner might always do - check the loading speed of your website against Google pageSpeed Insights. Again, it is a simple one, but it did save your time right?

Run Google PageSpeed Insights for current page''+window.location)

Search for the selected text within your Gmail

Perform a search on Gmail for the highlighted text in any webpage.

Search on Gmail for selected text on any webpage''+window.getSelection().toString())

So how to write my own bookmarklet?

I was using this project:

Write your own code, and then the tool will URL encode your JavaScript into the URI format:

Bookmarklet generator

Lastly, paste your converted code into the “URL” field when you create a new bookmark.

Save bookmarklet as a new bookmark

That’s it!

It’s cool, but I don’t see any particular benefits?

To me, there are a few things I like about bookmarklets:

  • “Cross-platform” and could be distributed easily
    • Most (modern) browsers speak JavaScript. Actually, bookmarklets works on mobile browsers too!
  • Less evil than a typical browser plugin
    • you have to deep dive to verify it’s really safe
  • Easier to understand
    • as compared to VBA / .exe (very personal opinion)
  • Leverage a lot of browser APIs or even integrate with 3rd party services
    • though that depends on the security setup of each website (e.g. security headers like CSP)
  • Send your data to a lot of custom URI schemes, e.g.
    • mailto:[email protected]?subject=Thanks+for+sharing+about+bookmarklets!&body=<some-data-from-javascript>;
    • or URIs for mobile apps.

P.S. Who am I? I am actually a Full Stack / DevSecOps Engineer, but occasionally I do help setup some productivity hacks for my company. Recently I built a hot desk booking system for my company’s new studio, with live desk vacancy preview and full booking log - all powered on Google Workspace with minimal Apps Script.