Instapaper Keyboard Shortcut

January 14th, 2011

Like many people these days, I am using Marco Arment’s Instapaper to facilitate effortless postponement of reading longer, potentially interesting content I find on the web.

Marco provides a handy bookmarklet that you can add to your browser’s button bar, so when you find something cool you just click “Read Later” and it gets added to your Instapaper collection. This is handy, and if you’re using a browser like Safari, these bookmark bar items even get mapped to default keyboard shortcuts based on their position, e.g. Cmd-1, Cmd-2, etc.

My news reader of choice, NetNewsWire, also supports Instapaper, allowing me to easily add any news item’s underlying content to my “Read Later” list. In NetNewsWire, the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl-P (for paper!), and I’ve gotten hard wired to punting stuff to my reading list with a quick flick of the keys.

For months I’ve thought it would be nice if I had the same workflow in Safari and in NetNewsWire: see something, want to read it, don’t have time, press Ctrl-P. I don’t know why I took so long to sit down and spend the 5 minutes it took to write an AppleScript wrapper for Marco’s bookmarklet, and install it in my scripts folder to invoke with FastScripts.

If you want to be cool like me:

  1. Download and install FastScripts. Free for up to 10 shortcuts!
  2. From the FastScripts menu-bar icon, select FastScripts -> Create Safari Scripts Folder.
  3. Download this script, and move it to the Safari-specific scripts folder: [Home] -> Library -> Scripts -> Applications -> Safari
  4. Switch to Safari.
  5. While holding the Cmd key, select “Read Later” from the FastScripts menu.
  6. Assign a keyboard shortcut of your choice. (Ctrl-P for NNW-likeness).

Now whenever you see a cool page in Safari, just press Ctrl-P to instantly tag it for later reading.

Update: David Kendal observes on Twitter that you can assign custom keyboard shortcuts to bookmarks in Safari by simply using the System Preferences Keyboard Shortcuts and assigning to the correctly named bookmark. I was not aware that this would work with bookmarks! Very cool. It diminishes the necessity of the above workflow considerably, though I was pleased to be able to take “Read Later” out of my bookmarks bar. Another downside to the System Preferences route? Apparently the keyboard shortcuts will never take effect until you’ve shown the menu that they appear in at least once per Safari-launch.

10 Responses to “Instapaper Keyboard Shortcut”

  1. Henrik N Says:

    I’ve made an extension for bookmark bar keyboard shortcuts in Chrome:

  2. Louije Says:

    Shortcuts assigned to Safari bookmarks via the Keyboard preference pane are not available until the menu has been loaded once–that is, you need to click the Bookmarks menu once per session for the shortcuts to work. Which is unnerving. So the FastScripts solution has this going for it!

  3. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Aha! Good point, Louije. So I am relevant after all ;)

  4. Ken Says:

    Cool idea. I wonder if I could get this going with Keyboard Maestro. Off to play….

  5. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Ken: I am guessing it will work well with Keyboard Maestro as well!

  6. tofias Says:

    I did a Fastscripts shortcut for an Applescript wrapped around Readability a long time ago, actually it might have been what pushed me into needing to pay up and leave the Lite version. But I think that Instapaper deserves to proudly stay in the bookmark bar. Also Quix has really made it simple to hide a good number of lesser used bookmarklets.

  7. Jeff Says:

    Thanks for confirming what was a head-scratcher for me. Several weeks/months ago I got rid of Flash in Safari (per Daring Fireball) and added a menu shortcut to the Open in Chrome command. The key command never works until I load the menu manually. I’m glad this isn’t just me. I hope Apple addresses this in an update.

  8. Todd Sieling Says:

    I put the Instapaper bookmarklet into the Bookmarks bar. Pressing command+a number in Safari triggers items in the Bookmarks bar (whether it is visible or not) in their order from left to right (so the left-most is command+1, etc). It’s a nice way to get a keyboard shortcut that might not be the most memorable off the bat, but becomes muscle memory over a bit of time.

  9. Steve Riggins Says:

    “Apparently the keyboard shortcuts will never take effect until you”™ve shown the menu that they appear in at least once per Safari-launch.”

    This happens in Mail, too. I’m filing a bug, as that is just silly

  10. Nik Says:

    You can also use keyboard shortcuts to access the first ten bookmarks in your address bar, with cmd+1 through cmd+0. I keep read later at CMD+1. Yes, it takes space there, but it also makes it readily accessible in mobile Safari.

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