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Demonstration of a bookmarklet that counts the number of words on the page. The browser shown is Firefox 3.0 with generic "abrowser" branding on Ubuntu.

A bookmarklet is a bookmark stored in a web browser that contains JavaScript commands that add new features to the browser. The word is a portmanteau of bookmark and applet.[1] However, one should not confuse an applet with a bookmarklet, just as one should not confuse a script written in JavaScript with a script written in the Java programming language.

Bookmarklets are Unobtrusive JavaScripts stored as the URL of a bookmark in a web browser or as a hyperlink on a web page. Bookmarklets are usually JavaScript programs. Regardless of whether bookmarklet utilities are stored as bookmarks or hyperlinks, they add one-click functions to a browser or web page. When clicked, a bookmarklet performs one of a wide variety operations, such as running a search query or extracting data from a table. For example, clicking on a bookmarklet after selecting text on a webpage could run an Internet search on the selected text and display a search engine results page.


Web browsers use URIs for the href attribute of the <a> tag and for bookmarks. The URI scheme, such as http:, file:, or ftp:, specifies the protocol and the format for the rest of the string. Browsers also implement a prefix javascript: that to a parser is just like any other URI. Internally, the browser sees that the specified protocol is javascript, treats the rest of the string as a JavaScript application which is then executed, and uses the resulting string as the new page.

The executing script has access to the current page, which it may inspect and change. If the script returns an undefined type (rather than, for example, a string), the browser will not load a new page, with the result that the script simply runs against the current page content. This permits changes such as in-place font size and color changes without a page reload.

An anonymous function that does not return a value, define a function etc., can be used to force the script to return an undefined type:

  //Statements returning a non-undefined type, e.g. assignments

However, if a script includes a function definition/redefinition, such as function Use_this_globally(){...}, the environment will not be populated with it. For this reason an {arbitrary script} should be suffixed with ;void(...);.

javascript:{arbitrary script};void(0);


Bookmarklets are saved and used as normal bookmarks. As such, they are simple "one-click" tools which add functionality to the browser. For example, they can:

  • Modify the appearance of a web page within the browser (e.g., change font size, background color, etc.)
  • Extract data from a web page (e.g., hyperlinks, images, text, etc.)
  • Remove redirects from (e.g. Google) search results, to show the actual target URL[2]
  • Submit the current page to a blogging service such as Posterous, link-shortening service such as, or bookmarking service such as Delicious
  • Query a search engine or online encyclopedia with highlighted text or by a dialog box
  • Submit the current page to a link validation service or translation service
  • Set commonly chosen configuration options when the page itself provides no way to do this


"Installation" of a bookmarklet is performed by creating a new bookmark, and pasting the code into the URL destination field. Alternatively, if the bookmarklet is presented as a link, under some browsers it can be dragged and dropped onto the bookmark bar. The bookmarklet can then be run by loading the bookmark normally.


Steve Kangas of coined the word bookmarklet[3] when he started to create short scripts based a suggestion in Netscape's JavaScript guide.[4] Before that, Tantek Çelik called these scripts favelets. was used early on by on 6 September 2001 (personal email). Brendan Eich, who developed JavaScript at Netscape, gave this account of the origin of bookmarklets:

They were a deliberate feature in this sense: I invented the javascript: URL along with JavaScript in 1995, and intended that javascript: URLs could be used as any other kind of URL, including being bookmark-able. In particular, I made it possible to generate a new document by loading, e.g. javascript:'hello, world', but also (key for bookmarklets) to run arbitrary script against the DOM of the current document, e.g. javascript:alert(document.links[0].href). The difference is that the latter kind of URL uses an expression that evaluates to the undefined type in JS. I added the void operator to JS before Netscape 2 shipped to make it easy to discard any non-undefined value in a javascript: URL.

—Brendan Eich, email to Simon Willison[5]


This example bookmarklet performs a Wikipedia search on any highlighted text in the web browser window. In normal use, the following Javascript would be installed to a bookmark in a browser[6] bookmarks toolbar. From then on, after selecting any text, clicking the bookmarklet performs the search.

javascript:(function() {
function se(d) {
    return d.selection ? d.selection.createRange().text : d.getSelection()
s = se(document);
for (i=0; i<frames.length && !s; i++) s = se(frames[i].document);
if (!s || s=='') s = prompt('Enter%20search%20terms%20for%20Wikipedia','');
open('' + (s ? '/w/index.php?title=Special:Search&search=' + encodeURIComponent(s) : '')).focus();

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peterka, Jiří (27 May 1999). "Vytvořte si svůj vlastní bookmarklet!". (in Czech). Archived from the original on 15 November 2000. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Ruderman, Jesse. "Bookmarklets for Zapping Annoyances". Jesse's Bookmarklets Site. Retrieved 29 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Domain registered 9 April 1998
  4. ^ "Activating JavaScript Commands From the Personal Toolbar". What's New in JavaScript 1.2. Netscape Communications Corporation. 1997. Archived from the original on 2002-06-11. 
  5. ^ Willison, Simon (April 10, 2004). "Email from Brendan Eich". SitePoint. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  6. ^ Tested on Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome. Does not work in IE7 or IE8. Original source: Alex Boldt

External links[edit]