The web is a wonderful asset for writers and researchers. It is the ultimate research tool. But how do we save what we find for later?
The problem is keeping the information at our fingertips for later access. This is especially a problem if we work some of the time with no internet connection. Perhaps on a plane or train, or in a remote location where WiFi or Internet is expensive, limited, unsafe or simply unavailable.
If you work on a Chromebook, this is an even bigger problem, because there are fewer options to store web pages and research material offline. But there are ways.
The three best ways to save web pages and web based notes offline.
- Evernote Web Clipper
If you are an Evernote user, this is a bit of a no-brainer. Evernote has the brilliant Evernote Web Clipper. It allows web content to be clipped in a number of formats and saved to Evernote.
Clipped articles can be saved in specific folders, and you can add tags.
A particularly nice feature is the ability to highlight text on the page before it is saved. Selecting snippets of text allows you to colour them.
It is also possible to select a range of text in an article BEFORE clicking the save button on the toolbar, and save only that text to Evernote.
The downside of using Evernote is the fact that it cannot be accessed offline unless you have access to the Evernote App on Windows, Mac, Android or iOS. On a Chromebook, you will need to have the Evernote Android App installed, and that, at this time, is less than perfect on Chrome OS. This should improve over the next few months at the Android store rolls out to all capable Chrome OS devices.
2 Save to Pocket.
Pocket is a free service (with a premium option) that allows pages to be saved and viewed on the Pocket web site, or in the Pocket app on Android and iOS or using a Chrome plugin. All work offline, as long as you have downloaded the latest content before going offline.
It has fewer options than Evernote Web Clipper, but it is reliable, but allows tagging after saving.
3 Save to Keep
This is a very simple and fast plugin that saves the URL of the page you are looking at and selected text to Keep.
Keep works offline, but the save option only saves the URL and a simple snapshot of the header. It will also save highlighted text. If you simply want to capture a thought or paragraph, this is a great option.
Remember though, it is text only, formatting disappears.
It is excellent for quickly saving things, but is not much use if you want a full article with images and formatting offline. It definitely has a place in my toolkit though.
These are the tools I use. They all work on Chrome, Safari and Firefox. You should be able to get them working on pretty much any platform.
There are others, including Sent to Kindle and Shareaholic that I have tried in the past.
The save to Kindle plugin works well in Chrome, but provides a text only capture. It also requires a Kindle reader to be installed on a tablet or phone, it ignores Chrome, Windows and macOS readers.
The Shareaholic plugin also works well with multiple sites, but is more of a social sharing tool that a save tool.
Please let me know what you use in the comments.