The internet would be nothing without links. They let us share everything from videos, to images, to articles. But what if you wanted to share a specific section of an article, or maybe highlight a sentence you found particularly impactful? Until now, that's been relatively difficult. A new Chrome browser extension called Link to Text Fragment promises to make the process much more seamless.
The extension works by specifying a text snippet in the URL fragment. With the extension installed, you can highlight the text you want to link to, then right click and select "Copy Link to Selected Text," which will generate the new link and add it to your clipboard. When navigating to a URL with specific text selected, the browser will emphasize it to draw the user's attention. In Chrome, that manifests as a bright yellow highlight over the text snippet:
Clicking a Text Fragment link will bring you to the page and highlight the relevant text.
While it's been possible to link to sections of a webpage that were denoted by anchor tags in the HTML, Link to Text Fragment works by referencing the start and end of selected text directly in the link, making it possible for any snippet of text to be linked. It's the same kind of tech that recently allowed Google to highlight specific search terms directly on the page.
Examples of ways that linking to text fragments could be useful include providing reference links to specific sections of a webpage (sorry, future students), or linking to relevant information on social media rather than sharing it through inaccessible screenshots.
The links only seem to work in version 80+ of Chromium-based browsers right now, and there's no word on if and when other popular browsers are planning to add support. Trying to open a one of these links in a different browser will open the page as usual, but will not highlight the specific snippet or scroll the page to it. Still, if you've got Chrome installed, go ahead and try out this neat little extension for yourself at the Chrome Web Store.