This Nifty Chrome Extension Lets You Directly Link to Specific Text

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Your friends who refuse to read the lengthy articles you send no longer have an excuse. Google’s created a new extension that lets you create URLs that link to a specific section of text on a website, regardless of formatting.

The Link to Text Fragment extension is an easier way to use a recent feature added to Chrome 80 dubbed Text Fragments. The extension lets you specify a portion of text in a link’s URL hash. The method is outlined in a Google blog explaining the feature, but doing it manually is, frankly, too tedious to be worth it.

The extension, however, simplifies the process. Once installed, all you have to do is highlight the specific text, right click, and then navigate down the menu to “Copy Link to Selected Text.” And voila. The generated link is still rather long, but it’s not that big of a deal – especially if you’re just texting a link to a friend or creating a hyperlink.

There’s plenty of good use cases for the extension, from citing sources to winning an argument with your one friend who refuses to read an entire article to get to the relevant information. For example, if I wanted to link a friend to my favorite low-carb gochujang chicken recipe but skip the opening paragraphs – long life story of the food blogger who wrote it – I could just create this link and save us all the trouble.

One caveat is that while the links are compatible with all Chromium-based browsers from version 80 onward, Firefox and Safari have “not publicly signaled an intent to implement the feature,” according to Google’s blog. (See what I did there?) The extension itself is also not 100% just yet. While playing around with it, there were occasional instances where the extension failed because I hadn’t picked a long-enough string of words. Other times, I got the same error message even though I’d selected a whole paragraph. Weirder yet, I didn’t have that issue when trying to link several paragraphs at a time. After futzing around for a bit, I’ve found that I mostly get errors when trying to link a single paragraph, as opposed to shorter or longer fragments.

Regardless of the quirks, the Link to Text Fragment extension is a handy feature with a lot of useful applications. It’s currently available in the Chrome Web Store, so happy linking.

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