Firefox Add-on: Tinyurl Generator

Brenden Schaaf / June 5, 2009

Have you ever sent someone the URL (i.e. “web address” or “web link”) for an interesting webpage only to find out that somewhere along the way the link was broken because a carriage return got inserted because the URL was too long and they couldn’t get it to open?    Or maybe you want to post such a link on Twitter and you are limited to only 140 characters but the link you are excited about takes up most/all of the allotted space?  That’s where a great service called TinyURL comes in handy.  By visiting their website, you can turn any long URL into something more manageable.

For example, say I want to send someone the link for a GPS unit I found on Amazon.

Example of right-click menu after installation of TinyURL Add-on in Firefox
Example of right-click menu after installation of TinyURL Add-on in Firefox

Once you start doing this you will find all kinds of uses, but you’ll soon realize that constantly visiting isn’t very efficient/quick because it involves so many steps (visiting the page, copying current URL, pasting into textbox on TinyURL site, submitting, etc.).

Luckily there is a Firefox Add-on that you can install to make using TinyURLs quick and easy.  Simply visit to grab the Add-on and install it and once you re-launch Firefox you will have a couple different options for creating a TinyURL.   Right-clicking on a link on a webpage will add a menu item to the normal menu that appears that will create a TinyURL for you in one step.

If you want to create a TinyURL for the page you are currently viewing there will be an icon at the bottom of the screen that looks like tinyurltaskbar (it will be down by your Ghostscript, Ad-Block Plus, Xmarks, etc. icons if you have those installed).  Double-clicking that icon will automatically create a TinyURL for the current page and the icon will indicate success tinyurlsuccess.

In either case (right-click menu or double-clicking the icon) the resulting TinyURL will automatically be copied to your clipboard so that you may paste it elsewhere (like in an email or a Twitter post) immediately.

And if TinyURLs are still too long for you, there are several other URL shorterers out there that result in even fewer characters in the resulting URLs.  Examples of these include:

But I’m sticking with TinyURL for now because of the Firefox Add-on that makes it so handy to use.  I’m sure at some point similar add-ons will be stable for at least some of these other services but until then 25 characters will have to do.  Plus a guy from Blaine created it so it has to be better than the others!

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