3 Ways To Quickly Shorten URLs Straight From Your Browser

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In a world of micro blogging and mega long links, URL shortening can be insanely useful. Not only can it help to simplify and save space, it can also track links and reveal how often they have been opened. But how simple is it really when you have to copy the original URL, head over to a URL shortening service, paste the link to shorten it, and copy it again to use it wherever you need it? This is where browser addons and bookmarklets for URL shortening come in: they make this process dead simple and quick.

In this article I will introduce you to three URL shortening tools that work with either Firefox or Chrome or any other browser that supports javascript bookmarklets. So whatever browser is your favorite, there is a handy URL shortening tool that will work for you.

Cutyfox (Firefox)

Cutyfox is a Firefox extension ‘made in Germany’ that currently supports the URL shortening services is.gd, bit.ly, goo.gl, and mcaf.ee as well as the native URL shorteners of Flickr, YouTube, and Amazon (plus shorteners).

shorten url

Per default, the extension sits to the left of the URL bar, symbolized by a pair of scissors. Clicking it will shorten the current URL and automatically copy it to the clipboard.

shorten url browser

Via the Cutyfox Options menu, accessible through the Firefox list of extensions, the tool can be customized, for example to show the button in the address bar or status bar, to use a different shortening service, or disable the auto-copy to clipboard feature.

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An alternative to Cutyfox is Shorten URL, a Firefox addon that supports over 100 URL shorteners. The problem is that it still lists a lot of sites that have since discontinued their service.

goo.gl (Chrome)

Google’s URL shortener is simply ingenious. Its button sits in between other installed Google Chrome extensions to the right of the smartbar. Once clicked, the URL of the present tab is shortened and automatically copied to the clipboard.

shorten url browser

Along with a short URL, goo.gl also creates a QR code and provides further details on an information page for the short URL.

shorten url browser

Additional options can be configured via the extension settings menu, for example adding services to share shortened URLs with, adjusting preferences, or managing keyboard shortcuts. The goo.gl URL shortener is also available in a lite version, which comes without keyboard shortcuts and context menu.

bitly (All Browsers)

If you use neither Firefox nor Chrome or both interchangeably and would prefer to use the same tool in both, check out the bitly sidebar bookmarklet. This little javascript-powered tool lives in your bookmarks bar.

url shortener

To shorten a URL, click the bookmarklet and the sidebar will launch with the open tab’s URL pasted in and automatically shortened. All you have to do is click > Copy next to the shortened link. If you wish to shorten a different link, simply paste it into the URL field, click the > Shorten button, and then > Copy the URL to your clipboard.

shorten url

You do not have to create an account to use bitly. However, if you do, you will be able to analyze and keep track of your links.

The above is only a small selection of the most easy and quick to use URL shorteners. There are many more services that may come in handy in special situations, for example the following ones that have also been profiled in the MakeUseOf Directory:

The downside of URL shortening is that it can hide the revealing path to a malicious website. For this reason, we have recently introduced you to 5 Browser Extensions To Expand Shortened URLs.

How often do you use URL shortening and do you ever re-use your shortened URLs or do you just create a new short link?

Image credits: YellowPixel

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8 Comments - Write a Comment


David King

Easiest way is to use RockMelt, sharing built in and I don’t have to do anything.


But then you have to use RockMelt..so…


Cell Travis

I used to use a number of URL shortening services for years till they got shut down and left me with links pointing nowhere. I however like bit.ly because of the visitor tracking features and popularity across microblogging networks. From a trust viewpoint (so to speak) I would choose goo.gl — I just started using it.


I agree that you should pick more popular services if it’s important that the links will work in a few months or years from now. They come and go, but goo.gl, bit.ly and tinyurl are pretty safe I would say.

Aaron Couch

The Bit.ly extension/bookmarklet is amazing. Enough said. 



I am constantly used to seeing very long urls on the browsers. I had made a researched regarding this topic of yours and let me share this one to you…”Generating a short URL does need a couple of additional steps; however a
lot of services proffer shortcuts for making it as effortless as
feasible. The easiest method to obtain your short URL is to copy a long
URL, paste it in a field on service’s site as well as then you would get
a short URL to copy as well as paste where you wish to use it. If you
feel adventurous, check out the alternatives for effortlessly accessing
URL shortening services by adding up them to the browser’s toolbar or downloading
Firefox add-on. URL shortening is the technique on the WWW in which
webpages are obtainable in a short URL. Lengthy URLs are hard to
transmit the information” taken from http://www.articletrader.com/internet/web-design/url-shortening-advantages-of-using-a-url-shortener.html



I used to use the Ubiquity addon for firefox (it’s not supported for FF4) because it had a command to shorten the url of the current page. But I’ve just added the bit.ly bookmarklet so hopefully that will be just as easy.

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