Thursday, May 01, 2008

How to send a web link that highlights text on the page

Have you ever wanted to send someone a link to a web page but wanted the recipient to take note of just one portion of the page? I've found that it comes up a lot in email and chat reference, where you send the link and then have to instruct the user to "scroll down to the part of the page where it says..." etc.

The free Awesome Highlighter service gives you an easy solution to get around this clunky way to direct a user's attention to just one part of the page. Here's how to do it:
  1. Copy the URL of the page you want to share with someone
  2. Go to the Awesome Highlighter page and paste the URL in the box in the center of the page
  3. The page will reload showing you the page at the URL you entered and turn your cursor into a yellow highlighter pen. Select the text that you want to highlight and click "Done" on the screen.
  4. You are then given a unique URL that you should send to the user.
Here's an example of such a highlighted web page that I did to direct attention to the Lippincott Library's Business FAQ project (at the University of Pennsylvania). Here is the original URL:

Here's the very much shorter URL for the highlighted version:

On the highlighted page from RUSA, you'll see at the top a grey horizontal bar from the Awesome Highlighter service that offers a link to the "original webpage."

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