How to manually install bookmarklets in Microsoft Edge

Whenever I get a new OS I make it a point to at least try all the new ways of doing things. Change is uncomfortable but sometimes the new way is better. Not often, but sometimes!

With Windows 10 I've been trying to use Microsoft Edge instead of Chrome. While the actual browsing experience has been pretty solid, there're almost none of the bells and whistles that help smooth out my day online.

For instance there is no extension support. There's been talk that Microsoft will add support for Chrome Extensions but we'll see. For now I don't know of a workaround.

There's also no "bookmarklet" support. Bookmarklets are shortcuts that actually run javascript snippets, usually to add a page to a service. For instance I use Instapaper and they offer a bookmarklet that lets me send any page to my Instapaper archive.

The usual way to install a bookmarklet is just to drag it to the address bar, but that doesn't work in Edge. With a bit of fiddling you can install bookmarklets 'manually'. Here's how.

First, you need to expose the bookmark bar. In Edge go to the three dot menu in the top right corner, pick Settings from the drop down, and turn on "Show the Favorites Bar."

Now at least you have some place to put bookmarklets. I assumed I could just import all my bookmarks from Chrome but doing so didn't seem to work for bookmarklets. Maybe you'll have better luck.

Assuming you don't, there's more work to do. I found it easy to start by creating some 'placeholder' bookmarks. So for example I went to Instapaper's save page ( and bookmarked that, choosing to save it in the Favorites Bar. (By using a page from the site you want to associate with the bookmarklet you wind up with an appropriate icon in the final product.) You should now see your future bookmarklet in the Windows Edge favorites bar, above the webpage content and below the area that holds the location bar and command icons.

Now it's time to edit that bookmark, and the biggest challenge is finding where Edge hides its bookmark files. I checked on both a Windows 10 Home and a Windows 10 Pro system and I found them at:

C:\Users\{username}\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_{random strring}\AC\MicrosoftEdge\User\Default\Favorites\Links

Obviously swap in your username for {username} and the string after Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_ will be something like 8wekyb3d8bweb. Once you drill down into this directory you should see a shortcut for the bookmark you created (one for each bookmark if you created several).

Now you need to go the service you want to create a bookmarklet for and get the content of the bookmarklet. For example the "Save to Instapaper" bookmarklet has this code:

javascript:function iprl5(){var d=document,z=d.createElement('scr'+'ipt'),b=d.body,l=d.location;try{if(!b)throw(0);d.title='(Saving...) '+d.title;z.setAttribute('src',l.protocol+'//'+encodeURIComponent(l.href)+'&t='+(new Date().getTime()));b.appendChild(z);}catch(e){alert('Please wait until the page has loaded.');}}iprl5();void(0)

If you're coming from Chrome or another browser it might be easier to copy the code from there. For Chrome and Firefox, right click the bookmarklet and choose Copy from the menu that pops up.

OK back to your Edge bookmarklets. Right click on the shortcut you want to convert to a bookmarklet. Pick the Web Document tab and paste the contents of your bookmarklet into the URL: field, then click the Apply box. You can go to the General tab and change the name of the bookmarklet, or you can do that in Microsoft Edge later.

Once you've converted your bookmarks to bookmarklets, restart Microsoft Edge and you should be done! So far I've used this technique for Instatpaper and Pocket but it should work for any bookmarklet.

It's worth stating that this isn't an officially sanctioned technique, and hopefully Microsoft will give us a much more user friendly method soon. It's possible that when they do, these manually modified versions could cause some issues, and if that happens I can't be held responsible for any future headaches (though I'll amend this post on how to fix the problems if this ever happens). You make these changes at your own risk. So far the bookmarklets I've added this way have worked and haven't caused problems but when an operating system is this new, you never know for sure!

This story, "How to manually install bookmarklets in Microsoft Edge " was originally published by ITworld.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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