Storing URLs for later


I need a new way to store URLs, because this sucks.

I don’t mean articles to read. Instapaper and Pocket handle that task fine. The links depicted above represent videos to watch, products to consider buying and research. Dragging them into the OS X Dock is easy, and it keeps them in front of me, reminding me that they need attention. However, the identical, spring-loaded icons give no indication of where they’re pointing.

I need quick way to store URLs that require follow-up that isn’t too disruptive and won’t disappear from my consciousness minutes after I save them. Evernote clip? Pinboard? Safari Reading List (I use Chrome). If you’ve run into this, let me know.


  1. Depends on what I am doing/remembering link for.

    For immediate use (within an hour) – copy/paste to txt file in nvALT (Mac) / ByWord (iOS)

    For later use (over an hour) – save to Pocket using Chrome extension or share button in apps depending on what device I’m using.

  2. Hi Dave.

    There are many way to do this and In many cases I use the method James Michie already described (in combination with Simplenote), especially if I need to give the URLs some context.
    I don’t recommend Evernote for this—because it’s a behemoth on any platform—but trying Pinboard for this. It loads very fast on almost any platform and connection, making it a useful no-frills URL storage.

    Here’s how:

    1. You can either use its ‘unread’ feature, or define a special tag for this kind of URL (as I don’t delete this kind of stuff, I usually add a couple more fitting tags).
    2. Using the bookmarklet and marking something as unread means three clicks/taps at the least and the URL is saved with a matching title.
    3. Then you can define that specific page of your account as the default page for new windows or new tabs (although I’m not sure if that’s possible in Chrome), if you don’t have a different start page.
    4. Once you’re done with it, just tick it off as read (or delete the pre-defined tag, or delete the bookmark).

  3. I use Evernote for exactly that problem.

    It’s tagging is the killer feature. I drop all those links in a folder called “Check out”. There I have it sorted in chronological order. I also have the visual representation if I use the WebClipper and clip the page (or significant part of it).

    I separate within the folder by different tags like “Video”, “Website”, “Article”; “Software”, “Books”, , “Clothes”, “Music”, StoreNames.

    And sometimes even using some GTD-like tags like @next, @now, @later – if I want some kind of timed reminder (aka tagging @next ensures that I will look at it this week, etc.).

    If I checked the website out I either delete the note or archive it if necessary (and changing tags).

    I really like that I can also use the iPad, iPhone for it using either the Bookmarklet, an app called WebClipper / WebclipperHD or sending via Evernote Email (especially articles from within Safaris Reader Mode). which won’t send all the noise.

    Hope that helps.

  4. (I’m going on the assumption of Mac OSX here based on the graphic.)

    This has been an issue for me for quite some time… I’ve experimented with:

    * URLWell: (circa 2008) loved it. This was the best of all of them but no longer works on new versions of OSX (requires Rosetta)

    * Webbla: decent, but I didn’t need screenshot previews

    * Pins: In many ways similar to Webbla

    * All Bookmarks: OK – but I wanted a more temporary system

    * Little Bookmark Box: Probably the best of the bunch for me. Allows notes, tagging etc and somewhat fast in my experience.

    * Dropbox: Low tech for sure – just make a daily folder on your desktop and drag webloc files to it. At the end of the day drop that folder into Dropbox and now you have a sync’d copy. Searchable online when you’re away from your computer and almost, almost wants to work on iOS.

    1. Agreed, I use Instapaper for this as much as articles. video’s are blocked/quota’d at my workplace, video’s i want to watch I treat the same as an article i want to read later, it’s just media i plan to consume at a different time/device.

  5. I use Instapaper for reading and Evernote for everything else. It’s fast, you can use a bookmarklet, browser addon, or just email urls. With different notebooks I can sort (or not, the search is great) all of my links into different categories as fits my usage.

    Paid accounts for both because I want to be the customer, not the product.

  6. Why not just store the URL as a new task in whatever task manager you are using? Tag it however you like so you can easily find them later.

    It’s easy, especially with a quick entry shortcut.
    Just as easy to add a comment.
    Keeps everything together – it’s not another inbox to check.
    If you do forget a link you have stored, it should fall out the next time you do a review.

    I use it to keep track of book reviews / suggestions I come across, so I can review them all together when i have some free time.

  7. I use Safari’s Reading List for that. It works well since it syncs across all devices and it keeps my Instapaper queue focused only on what I want to read.

    Not sure if there’s an extension for Chrome that does what Read Later?

  8. I use Pinboard, and tag that kind of thing as “incoming”. As part of my weekly review, I go through all the “incoming” links. If I’ve done stuff with a link, I de-tag it. The only friction I find is that de-tagging is a little clumsy. But it means that I only generally look at stuff once, but still have a nice record of it if I need to find it again.

    I’d also consider Instapaper — you can create a bookmarklet for a particular folder, so you could create a separate folder from your main “read later” one and have a keyboard shortcut that would instantly drop stuff into it. See

  9. I just drag things up to the bookmarks bar in Chrome.
    Sometimes using folders when things need to be a bit more organised – ie researchinga holiday or longer term project.
    With Chrome on my iPhone everything syncs with my mac..

    1. I second this. Can be done just as easily in Safari. And when you’re done, just drag the dolder out of the bar and poof! It’s gone. Surprised it took so long for this one to show up.

  10. I e-mail the links to my omnifocus inbox, which ensures that I’ll review them later.

    I used to send links to Pinboard, but found that they would just pile up as I forgot about them.

  11. I use Pinboard and its RSS feature. I subscribe to my own to-read bookmarks with NetNewsWire and then review them next time I’m going through that list. There are a lot of things I find while at work (corporate stooge, here) that I want to look at once I’m home, and this system has worked well for me. If you’re really crazy, you can subscribe to the feed of individual tags in Pinboard.

  12. I use a combination of tools for this. I save most things in Pinboard marked “Read Later” but, if I want to make sure I read it, I drop the link into my Omnifocus Inbox and it gets processed into a project created specifically for this purpose. With the new “Mail To Omnifocus”, anything else I want to make sure I read or handle I can just email it there. This works beautifully from Reeder on my iPhone (which also has Pinboard support). IMHO, Pinboard is one of the best unsung web services out there. Good luck!

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