Read It Later: Save Information To Be Read Later On Any Device

read it laterWelcome to the era of information overload. We are bombarded by lots of information everyday and going through it one by one in real time is too hard for a normal human to handle. That’s why modern society invented tools to help them save the important information to be read later. Examples of such tools include Instapaper and the Scrapbook Firefox extension (discussed here and here).

If you are still struggling to work out which “read it later” tool fits your personality, maybe you should try “Read It Later“. It’s one of the pioneers in the field, and it has expanded its service to support the multi-platform environment that we live with today.

Start Building Your Reading List

We have covered Read It Later in the past here and here.  However, the service has been greatly improved since then. So why choose it? Some of the advantages that Read It Later offers to its users over similar services are:

  • the ability to add and read saved information from almost any devices available on the market by using the web interface, native apps, or any other apps that support the Read It Later environment.
  • the ability to save information for offline reading, so you can continue reading your saved information even if your device is in airplane mode.
  • the ability to synchronize the reading progress so you can continue reading on another device and pick up where you left off.

Before you can use the service, you need to go through the signing up routine.

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You can sign up via the web interface, Firefox extension, or iPhone/iPod apps.

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Then the first thing you need to do after signing up is to build your reading list.

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The easiest way to build your list is by adding the “Read It Later” bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmark bar. This bookmarklet should be compatible with every modern browser available today (including Mobile Safari – although the process is not as straightforward as a computer’s browser).

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Then all you have to do is browse the net like you normally do, and every time you find something that you want to save for later, click the bookmarklet and the article will be saved.

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You can also add the Read It Later bookmarklet to your mobile phone browser. I only have access to an iPhone so I’ll give an example using iPhone’s Mobile Safari.

To add the bookmarklet to Mobile Safari, tap the “Add” icon on the Read It Later app main page, then continue to “Mobile Safari” and “Install Read It Later Bookmarklet“. The app will guide you through the process.

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With the bookmarklet installed, you can add any article from the web by tapping the bookmark icon at the bottom of the page.

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Then continue tapping the “Read It Later” bookmarklet, and the page will be saved to your reading list.

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Reading Between The Gadgets

This is what the reading list on the browser looks like. On the right of every saved item you can see the option to read the text version of the article (“T“) and to mark the article as read (red check mark) You can filter the article using the search field (title, site, or tag), or you can sort them by categories (newest, oldest, title, site).

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The text version of the article is clean and comfortable to read. But if you prefer to read the original source, you can easily visit the site by clicking on the link.

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The small “Settings” button at the top of the pages give you options to change the background, size and type of font, margin, and alignment.

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But what makes Read It Later shine is its ability to move seamlessly between gadgets. For example, if you were in the middle of an article that you read on your browser at home when you had to hit the road, you can continue reading on your iPhone on the way to the office. Read It Later’s iPhone App would pick up where you left off. Then if your commute was not long enough for you to finish the article, you could continue your reading at the office’s computer.

To continue your reading on your mobile app, tap the “Currently Reading” option on the front page of the app.

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You’ll see the list of article(s) that you are currently reading. You can also see how much of the article you’ve read (in per cent).

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Importing From Instapaper

If you are an Instapaper user and you want to move your saved articles from Instapaper To Read It Later, you can do so easily by visiting your Instapaper account main page and going to the lower part of the screen. Expand the “Export” menu and click “Download HTML file” to export all the articles to your hard drive.

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Go to the Import from Instapaper page, click “Choose File“, navigate to the exported file, then click the “Import” button.

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Extension, App & More Apps

If you are a Firefox user, you can get more features by installing the Read It Later extension instead of using the bookmarklet. One of the features is the ability to download the articles for offline reading.

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Similar privileges are also given for iOS users. You can download and install the official Read It Later app for your iPhone, iPod Touch, and/or iPad.

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As one of the oldest players in the business, Read It Later is supported by lots of third-party apps, including the ones for PC, Android, Blackberry, and even eBook readers.

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This vast support allows Read It Later users to easily build their reading list from almost any kind of source. With all of its advantages, I personally found that Read It Later is a solid alternative to help you manage information overload.

What do you think? Will you try Read It Later? Or do you prefer another method to save information for later reading? Please share your opinions using the comments below.

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