In order to provide an easy way to collect web content such as web pages, articles, PDF-documents, bookmarks, places and screenshots, we have created the TagSpaces Web Clipper browser extension. The main difference with other web clipping software is that our extension saves the content locally on the user's hard drive as plain files, allowing a full control on the saved files.
Before the creation of any file, the user has the ability to change the title of the file and to add tags to its file name. This information can be entered in section (1) and (2) of the extension's screenshot.
The basic functionalities described in the following section are completely decoupled from the desktop application of TagSpaces and so they can be used with any other application supporting HTML, MHTML, PNG, PDF or URL files.
Save content as HTML
Save Editable Page button will save the current webpage as a single file including the embedded images and styling information in HTML format. Here the extension supports two modes. The default one is called simplified, where TagSpaces uses a library for automatic extraction of the webpage's main content without any clutter of adds or navigation. This is very useful clipping articles for example. The second one is called full. Here the extension tries to save all the original text and image content of the webpage.
Save content as MHTML
This options is available only on Chromium based browser like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers. The button
Save Complete Page will save the web page in the MHTML format, the main advantage of this format is that it preserves the original design of the web page as much as possible.
On some browsers the saving in MHTML format is not enabled by default. You can see how to activate in here.
MHTML files are supported natively in web browsers like Google Chrome, MS Edge or Internet Explorer. Files in this format can be previewed in the TagSpaces applications with the help of the built-in MHTML viewer.
Save content as PDF
On the Firefox browser
Save Complete Page button will save of the current web page as PDF file.
Save current selection
If you have selected text and images in the current tab, you can save this selection with the button
Clip Selection as HTML. Here again the extension will embed the contained images as data-urls in the HTML file itself.
Save a screenshot
Take Screenshot will save a screenshot of the visible area of the current web page as a PNG file.
The button "Create bookmark" will create an URL file containing the url of the current web page. This is useful if you don't want to save the whole page, but only to make a bookmark to it.
If the currently opened file is a PDF, the extension will offer to save it.
In addition to that we offers some features for more advanced use cases such as the following:
- Embedding the clipping timestamp and the source URL of the currently scraped web page in the HTML file. This information can be used later by previewing the file in TagSpaces for navigation to the original URL of the clipped page.
- Integration of a screenshot of the visible part of the web site in the created HTML and URL files. If you open the URL for example is opened in the desktop app, the screenshot is extracted and shown in the file preview area. It is also used for the creation of the thumbnail for this file. In addition to that the screenshot is useful for archiving purposed, it displays the web page in the exact way you have opened it in the browser. Everybody knows that some page change or completely disappear very often. This feature makes TagSpaces a perfect visual bookmarking tool.
- Extracting the geo coordinates from the URLs of mapping services such as OpenStreetMap and Google Maps. This information is converted to a geo tag and embedded in the name of the created file.
- The extension can create the geo tag in Open Location Code or OLC for short used as plus codes in Google Maps for example. The plus codes have the advantage that they represent the geo coordinates in a much simpler and readable way.
- By saving of a screenshot from the current web page, the web clipper adds as tags the domain of this web page, the current date and tag "screenshot". This makes the search later for such screenshot much easier in TagSpaces and other application.
The browser extensions are a practical additions to the desktop applications of TagSpaces, allowing a seamless way to collect locally and organize data from the web.
Adjustments for Chrome based browsers
Here you will find some tips and trick for using the TagSpaces extension in the Chrome and Chromium browsers. Some of these will work also for the Microsoft Edge browser.
Enabling the saving of webpages as MHTML
TagSpaces is a great tool for MHTML file organization on many platforms, because it features an integrated MHTML viewer, but the question here is how you can save web pages as handy MHTML files directly out of the Chrome browser. Here you will find the answer of this question for the both browsers - Chrome and Chromium respectively. And no, you don't have to install the TagSpaces chrome extension to achieve this, but just to execute the following steps:
- Start the Chrome/Chromium browser
- Navigate to "chrome://flags"
- Find the entry "Save Page as MHTML"
- Click "enable"
- Restart your browser
- That's it, now the web pages will be saved by default as MHTML
Note After this activation you will not be able to save website in HTML anymore.
Adding keyboard shortcut to the web clipper in Chrome
At the bottom of the extension management page in the Chrome browser you will find a link named "Keyboard shortcuts". See the red area of the screenshot below.
This link opens a dialog where you can set a direct keyboard shortcut, which will open the popup area of an extension. Since currently the main functionality of the this area in TagSpaces is to scrap the current webpage, I choose for myself the shortcut
ctrl+s, which overwrites the default save as functionality of Chrome browser. You can choose of course any other key combination, like for example
So now I can conveniently save and tag any page by just clicking this shortcut combination.
Specify download folder for web clippings
In order to be asked every time, where you want to save the scraped web content, make sure to activate the checkbox "Ask where to save each file before downloading" in the advanced Chrome settings.
Pin the web clipper
If you want to make the Web Clipper easily accessible it can be placed in the extensions area. You can learn how from the following video.