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2,862 Tutorials

How to use Pocket to read web pages, videos and more offline

Save virtually any web content and read it later

Pocket sounds like an odd name for an application, but it's an appropriate one. When you are out and about and you want to keep important things near you, they could well end up in your pocket. This application is a web-based version of a pocket. It's a place for storing things that you don't have time to look at when you find it.

Pocket has a more specific purpose, and there’s a clue in the old name for the application which was ditched last year: Read It Later. See all app reviews

Pocket solves the problem of discovering something on the web that really interests you, but you don’t have the time to view or read it right then. Traditionally, you might have sent yourself an email of the web page's URL, bookmarked the site or even written down the address.

You might be using something like Evernote to keep a list. These solutions, and others, will do the job, but they’re not very elegant and they are mostly workarounds. If you're not very disciplined, you’ll probably use a mix of several methods – which is a recipe for confusion.

Pocket offers a much neater solution. It integrates with your web browser so all you have to do to save something is to tap the icon sitting somewhere near the top of the screen. In Chrome, for example, it’s an Extension that sits alongside all the others on the top right of the browser. One of the reasons for the change of name from Read It Later to Pocket was that it copes with more than just text. Images and video are as easily saved.

Pocket is available for iOS and Android as well as Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. Unofficial apps are available for other devices, including Windows Phone, BlackBerry and Symbian.

Or, you can simply use it through your web browser. Using the apps, you can log in anywhere, any time, and catch up on what you’ve saved. No internet connection is needed, so you can read web pages, watch videos and listen to audio on a plane or anywhere.

One of the great things about Pocket is its ease of use. You aren’t asked if you really want to save something, one click and it’s saved. You can even email links to Pocket and it’ll save them. It’s as easy to mark something as read, or delete it altogether. And Pocket presents its information well too, stripping out paraphernalia that can make web sites difficult to read and offering up a clean, modern, minimalistic user interface.

How to get started with Pocket

1. Go to www.getpocket.com and create a free account by clicking Sign Up Now. You’ll use this to log in to Pocket. You don’t need to leave the browser tab open to work with Pocket so you can close that once you’ve entered your details.

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2. Set up a browser extension or plug-in for Chrome, Safari or Firefox. In Chrome, for example, type chrome://extensions in the search bar and then search for Pocket. Add it to Chrome and you’ll see a small downward pointing arrow in the top right of the browser screen.

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3. Right-click the extension icon and select Options then Log In through the browser window that opens. You’ll note that the Ctrl-Shift-S keyboard shortcut is enabled and that there quick-save services are enabled which let you save from a range of places.

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4. When you see something on the web you want to save for later either use the Ctrl-Shift-S keyboard combination or hit the Pocket icon in the top right of the screen. Plenty of apps can save to Pocket, such as Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse and more.

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5. When you want to view items you’ve saved, go to www.getpocket.com and log in, or use one of the apps for tablets and smartphones (we're using an iPad here). You’ll see a view which shows an image and headline. Switch to a list view using the icons top left of the screen.

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6. Select an item to view it. Pocket strips out detail from the source page, leaving you with a clean looking view. To change the font size, invert colours and switch fonts, all to assist readability, hit the two As top right of the screen.

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7. Mark an item as read, or delete it or mark it as a favourite at the top left of the screen. Read items are sent to an archive so they don’t show on the main screen but you can keep them rather than lose them.

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8. Click the down arrow at the top of the screen to switch between Home, Favorites and Archive, and to see help and view options. Go to the bottom of the screen to sort items by newest, oldest, title or site source, and to separate out text items, images and video.

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9. If you gather lots of items you can assign tags to them as a way of grouping similar items together. This makes Pocket a great resource for collecting research items for short-term projects. You can also search items and view them as lists.

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