Linkman Lite is a free tool for managing and searching through bookmarks, something I have desperately needed for a while.

Linkman Lite integrates with both of my regular browsers (Firefox and Opera) very cleanly, making it easy enough to use that it has quickly become part of my basic browsing routine.

Bookmark manager Linkman Lite will import bookmarks from your browser, keeping your folder structure, and then you can go to town. You can add descriptions, comments, and keywords to each bookmark, give it a 1-5 rating, and add up to 4 user-defined fields.

It's easy to move bookmarks from folder to folder, but the tool's own search engine makes it so easy to find bookmarks with keywords that struggling over folder management is less of an issue. As a benefit, you can assign keywords to folders, and all items in that folder will be found on a search for that keyword. Thus, you can give a folder the keyword "music," and get every item in it if you look for "music"; you can also give an item in another folder the keyword "music," and it will show up as well.

Searching within Linkman Lite is simple but effective; you type some terms (such as "computer review", and any link which matches those terms - in the name, in a keyword, in the folder - will be shown. You can narrow the search scope in some ways (to a single folder, or a single domain, for example), but you can't do fancy AND or OR searches.

Linkman Lite integrates with a number of browsers, but it is not browser-based. Rather, it is a stand-alone application that runs on the desktop, and it is only the very tight linkage between it and the browser that makes this a usable solution.

For both Firefox and Opera, Linkman Lite offers an optional plug-in you can install with the program itself, which makes it easy to add sites to Linkman as you find them. In one of the niftier and unexpected features, Linkman allows you to launch links with a specified browser. For example, I have a good FLV plugin in Firefox that doesn't work in Opera, so I have set my video links to launch in Firefox.

On the downside, the "Desktop Toolbar" feature of Linkman Lite does not work properly on my 64-bit Windows 7 system. It causes Linkman, and the desktop, to lock up for a time whenever it is clicked or used. There are some minor bugs as well - sometimes, the search results window does not update in sync with changes to bookmarks, and refreshes only when you repeat a search. Also, while it's not a bug per se the interface for Linkman - four resizable panes in a single window - is very outdated, as well as being extremely busy. There's a lot of information crammed into a single display, and not cleanly.

Although it's one of those rare "lite" versions that's full-featured enough to be more than an advertisement, Linkman Lite still makes sure you know what you're missing if you don't buy the £15 Pro version. A small number of features, such as advanced keyword managing, are only available in Linkman Pro, but the buttons for them are active, leading to upsell dialogs. It's a very minor annoyance, but I am committed to a crusade against teaseware.

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Linkman Lite: Specs

  • Windows XP, Vista or 7 (32 or 64 bit)
  • Internet connection
  • most recent version of Firefox, Explorer, Opera, Chrome, or Netscape browser
  • Windows XP, Vista or 7 (32 or 64 bit)
  • Internet connection
  • most recent version of Firefox, Explorer, Opera, Chrome, or Netscape browser

OUR VERDICT

At the price of zero pounds, these flaws cannot be said to overwhelm Linkman Lite's virtues. Linkman Pro offers unlimited bookmarks (Linkman Lite supports "only" 10,000), use in commercial environments, and syncing across multiple computers. If these features are of interest to you, it may be worth upgrading after you've experimented with Linkman Lite. I find Linkman Lite, by itself, to be a very worthy tool. It's definitely worth downloading and trying.

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