Nate Weiner

This is an old archived post from my former blog The Idea Shower. It's where I cataloged my product explorations and releases, one of which ultimately became Pocket.

This post was published back in 2007. It may not function as originally intended or may be missing images.

Read it Later - Firefox Extension

September 29, 2007

Read It Later for the iPhone/iPod Just released!

I am very excited to announce that Read It Later has come to the iPhone and iPod Touch.

» Get the details!

  • Save pages to a reading list to read when you have time
  • Offline Reading Mode - Read the items you've saved for later on the plane, train, or anywhere
  • Access Anywhere - Manage your list in any browser, on any device
  • Sync Between Computers - Sync your reading list with any number of computers, work or home
  • After reading, bookmark pages on your preferred bookmarking service
  • Click to Save Mode - Quickly batch a reading list just by clicking on interesting links


This Firefox extension allows you to save pages of interest to read later. It eliminates cluttering of bookmarks with sites that are merely of a one-time interest. A commenter below (Chris) summed it up very well: "It's a 'staging area' for bookmarks."

Jump down after the video for more information.

Version 0.9 Released!

The new version of Read It Later for Firefox 3 is now available and hosts a whole new bundle of features. Skip down below the video for what's new!

Video Example: How This Can Be Used with News Sites

If you have a personalized homepage (i.e. Pageflakes or iGoogle) or frequent news sites like (i.e. Digg or CNN), you can quickly scan all of the headlines on the site, saving all links of interest by using the Click to Save mode and saving to your list. When you are done, just start going through your list, uninterrupted. Beats having to go back and forth though-out the site!

How it Came to Be

I found that during the day (and especially at work), that I would run into sites and articles that I wanted to read, but couldn't at that time. Mostly, I would just send the link to myself via email, and in the end, they would never get read because I'd lose it in my inbox. I needed a simple way to keep track of the things I wanted to read, but didn't want to bookmark (at least not at first).

Why this Helps

Excluding this plugin, I see two options for creating a list of pages you want to read:

The Old Way:

  1. You can log the URLs by emailing yourself or writing them in a text file. This is cumbersome and hard to move through or find.
  2. Bookmark the site in a special tag or folder of 'To-Read-Later'. This works well for keeping your links in a single source, but it is a pain to go in and remove or re-categorize each page after you read it. Also, if you use an online bookmarking service, it means you'll have to login in and go through a few clicks before getting to your list.
The above methods are honestly, just workarounds to what should be a simple task. The Read it Later extension is meant to provide an easier solution.

The New Way:

  1. When you come across something you want to read later, simply click the 'Read Later' button and the page is instantly inserted into your reading list.
  2. Then when you have some free time, just click 'Reading List' and it'll pull up something for you to read.
  3. When you are finished, click Mark it As Read and it will be removed from your list. If you found what you read to be worth bookmarking, you can use the dropdown under Mark it As Read to add it to your Firefox bookmarks or any online bookmark service such as

New Features for Firefox 3

The newest version of Read It Later, exclusive to Firefox 3 has been improved across all levels. Using Firefox 3's new Places architecture, the extension can now fully perform the way it was meant to be. Here are some of the best new features.

One Click Saving, Sorting, and Tagging

Read It Later's interface tightly integrates with Firefox 3's new bookmarking system. Along side the 'one-click bookmark' star on the Firefox location bar, Read It Later shows up as a simple checkmark. Click to instantly save the current page to your list, click it again to mark it as read.

Power users will find that clicking the star next to the red checkmark allows you to use Firefox 3's tagging system to tag the items in your Reading List. These tags can be used to filter your reading list for quick searching and organization.

You can pull up your reading list by clicking the down arrow on the main Read It Later button. From here you can flip through your entire list to find something to read. To help find something specific you can sort your list by date added, site, and title. If you need to do some cleaning up, you can easily mass mark items as read by unchecking them from your list.

Sync Your List With Any Number of Computers

Your reading list can be synced to any number of computers with Firefox, whether it be at home or at work. Each list is assigned a unique feed id and password, simply plug it into any other Read It Later installation and any items, including tags, you add or remove will be carried over no matter where you are.

Offline Reading

If you want to do some reading while away from an internet connection, on the plane or train, before disconnecting click 'Read Offline' to have Read It Later download the pages from on your list for offline access. Switch Firefox to 'Work Offline' and you are good to go!

Access Anywhere

Your reading list can be managed/viewed in any internet browser (ex. Firefox, IE, Safari) and on any device (ex. iPhone).  Bookmarklets for other browsers make saving and reading your list incredibly easy.  Check out for more.

RSS Feeds

You can access your reading list from anywhere and any device through personalized RSS feeds of your reading list. Use them to read your list while away, from your feed reader or share your findings with others.

Click to Save Mode

Fly through your personalized homepages, news aggregators, and social media sites by switching on 'Click to Save' mode. Push Alt + M (customizable) and any link you click won't be followed through, instead it will be added to your reading list. (See the video above for a great example of this).

Save All Tabs for Later

For those of you who keep a large number of tabs open with pages you want to read, now you can simply right click the tab-bar and select 'Save All Tabs for Later' and every page open will be saved into your Reading List.

Installation/Setup Instructions

To install Read It Later, simply click the 'Install' button at the top of this post. For detailed instructions how how to sync computers and other Read It Later functions, you can view the Read It Later User's Notes here.

Firefox 2 Support

Because the difference in bookmark architecture between Firefox 2 and Firefox 3, maintaining support for both versions would essentially be maintaining two separate products. Therefore, I will only be continuing to develop for Firefox 3 and future versions. If for some reason you do not want to upgrade to Firefox 3, you can can download an earlier version of Read It Later. Keep in mind, it does not have many of the new features described above. Download: Read It Later 0.80 for Firefox 2 only.

Help Translate!

If you'd like to help translate Read It Later into your native language, please join our translation team on BabelZilla.  There you can easily submit and manage translations. Read It Later on BabelZilla