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Create reading lists in Safari (Mac/Windows)

Date: 14th February 2012     

The web is one big distraction. You go to a web site or page for some information and there are lots of links to other websites and pages. You get sidetracked and start clicking the links to other sites and to related pages, opening them in new tabs or new browser windows so you don't lose the current page, and so on.

Pretty soon you have half a dozen tabs or windows open and you don't have the time to read them all. What do you do?

Well, you can bookmark them all so that you can return later, you can drag the URL out of the address box and drop it on the desktop so you can double click it later and open that page again, and so on. Neither solution is perfect.

If you frequently discover interesting pages that you want to read on the web, but you don't have the time right now, just add them to Safari's Reading List.

Start Safari and go to a web page, any page will do. If the bookmarks bar is not visible at the top of the browser window, click View, Show Bookmarks Bar or press Shift+Command+B on the Mac.

At the left-hand side of the bookmarks bar is an icon with an image of a pair of reading glasses. Click it and a panel slides out from the left with some buttons at the top and a blank area below. Click the Add Page button and the current web page is added. As you browse the web and come across pages that you don't have time to read right now, click Add Page and save them for later.

Safari reading list

It is a bit like storing a bookmark, but there are several advantages. One is that the website icon, page title and short text extract is displayed with each item. It is much easier to see what each item is than a simple bookmark. It is also easier to manage the reading list than bookmarks. You often want to read a page later, such as a news story, but you don't want to bookmark it and keep it forever.

Another advantage of the reading list is that it can tell when you have read a page. When you have the time - later, tomorrow or next week - you can fire up Safari, show the reading list and click a page to read it. Selecting Unread at the top shows only those pages you have not yet read.

You can show all the stored pages by clicking All at the top and as the mouse passes over each item a close button appears in the top right corner. Click it to remove an item. If you have read everything you might want to click the Clear All button to clear everything out.

Clicking an item in the reading list opens it in the curent browser window. If you right click an item in the reading list (Ctrl+click on the Mac), a menu is displayed and there are options to open the page in a new tab or a new browser window.