Offline Browsing Anywhere Anytime – Part One

Tina Sieber 18-07-2008

Offline Browsing Anywhere Anytime - Part One offlinebrowsing04It may sound like a threat, but the internet is not quite everywhere, yet. So what do you do when there’s no internet available to you? First, take a deep breath!


The answer is actually quite simple. You plan ahead and take the internet with you. Or at least parts of it. It may not be an efficient way to cater your online cravings, but you may finally catch up on some long due reading and best of all, it’s free.

I have two alternatives for you, and I will start with the smaller solution.

ScrapBook is a Firefox addon that integrates with the Firefox Navigation toolbar. After installing the extension you will also notice buttons in your toolbar and status bar. They look like the favicon icon seen in the screenshot below: a blue book with a white back.

Offline Browsing Anywhere Anytime - Part One offlinebrowsing01

Offline Browsing Anywhere Anytime - Part One offlinebrowsing02When you come across a page you would like to save, you have multiple options. Go to the ScrapBook menu in the Navigation toolbar and select Capture Page or hit the shortcut [CTRL + SHIFT + L] or right-click into the page and select Capture Page or drag and drop the website’s favicon into the ScrapBook sidebar. You only have to remember one of these, relax.


To capture only parts of a site, select these parts, then right-click and choose Capture Selection from the menu. Similarly you can capture a link or rather what’s behind it. Just right-click on it and choose Capture Link from the menu. Moreover, you can capture frames, files, all tabs, images, and instead of capturing anything, you can just bookmark a site with ScrapBook. Easy.

Per default, captured pages or selections are saved in the ScrapBook extension folder located in your Firefox profile directory. This can be changed via the options menu of the extension. In the Organize tab you can even enable a function called Multi-ScrapBook and you can then store data in multiple locations and switch between them using the ScrapBook toolbar button.

Coolness doesn’t stop there. Besides saving a whole site you can edit the page before you capture it. This is actually the greatest part of it! You can remove any part of the page using the DOM eraser, you can add comments, highlight text or add stickies and inline annotations. It’s all done through a small menu bar at the bottom of your screen. The bar comes up when you click the ScrapBook icon that sits in the status bar and select Edit Before Capture.

Offline Browsing Anywhere Anytime - Part One offlinebrowsing03


To best access your captured pages, click the ScrapBook icon in your toolbar which will open the ScrapBook sidebar. You can also go through the Navigation Toolbar menu or click [ALT + K]. The sidebar looks much like your Bookmarks sidebar and you can organize it just as easily. Add folders, drag and drop items or search your collection. Click the word Tools in the top right corner of the sidebar to gain access to even more functions, like import/export, sorting, the combine wizard and more.

This extension may seem simple at first, but it’s ingenious and when you dive in to discover all its features and little details, you may well be overwhelmed at first. This is a great tool to organize online research material, perfect for writers or anyone saving bits and pieces of information. The only thing it’s missing is the ability to automatically capture more than just the active page or a list of predefined URLs.

And that’s why I dare you to stay tuned for part 2 of this mini-series. In the next part I will introduce you to a tool that can do just that: save whole websites, including sub-sites, links and everything. Excited yet?

Related topics: Mozilla Firefox, Offline Browsing, Screen Capture.

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  1. Johnny
    July 3, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Yeah... I second Charles Knickerbocker, Where is Part Two???
    I can't seem to find it anywhere for part two

  2. Charles Knickerbocker
    February 2, 2009 at 7:00 am

    Where's Part Two?

  3. Tina
    July 20, 2008 at 7:28 am

    I started using ScrapBook with Firefox 2 and for a few weeks now with FF3. I haven't had any issues with it. Browser responsiveness doesn't seem to be affected and the search has been working fine for me.
    However, I'm neither using Noscript, nor bugmenot, and I haven't amassed a huge load of websites. I've actually been keeping my collection "clean" by removing sites I didn't need any longer. And indeed, for a permanent reference of a page I would recommend to save it as PDF.
    Hope that puts the comments into perspective. Thank you very much for your feedback Maggie and Anon.

  4. Maggie
    July 19, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    This extension is horrible. I installed it in Firefox 3.0 and all it did was break Noscript and Bugmenot. I had to uninstall, then reinstall Noscript and bugmenot. Don't download it!

  5. DoneThat2
    July 18, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    I used Scrapbook for almost 2 years. I ended up ditching it for several reasons, including:

    1. After time, it definitely slowed down responsiveness of Firefox.
    2. It's built-in search tool was lame, big time.
    3. 3rd party desktop search tools (Google Desktop) wouldn't (couldn't) work with the Scrapbook proprietary database
    4. There was no "export" tool to make the info collected at least pseudo shareable with other apps.

    When I save something, I want to be able to find it quickly. After capturing many web pages using the Scrapbook capabilities it became damn near impossible to find specific info in the Scrapbook pile. Ironically, based on it functionality, it's well named after its real paper predecessor.

    I ended up being better served by just printing desired web pages to a PDF and searching that content with Copernic Desktop search. The PDF printer driver includes in the PDF title a date/time when the PDF was printed, thus allowing one to easily read web/blog page captures in a calendar/time sequence, it that is desired.

    Sometimes simple ends up being a lot more productive and functional.

    • Brainiac
      July 19, 2008 at 6:37 am

      Sometimes simple ends up being a lot more productive and functional.
      So true!