Sending your RSS feeds to Instapaper

When you come across something interesting on the web, but don’t have time to read it at that moment, what do you do?

The old way is to add the web page to your browser’s bookmarks or favourites so you can retrieve it when you do have time.

A more recent method is to add that page of interest to a social bookmarking site such as

This has two additional advantages – you can tag the page with keywords so you can share your bookmarked content with others, and you can access your bookmarked content from any other computer or device with a connection to the internet.

But what if you simply want to note something to come back to later, and have the option of doing that from any device? And if you don’t want to tag it until you’ve read it and decided whether it’s even worth tagging? And when you’ve read it, you can just delete it if you want?

That’s where Instapaper comes in.

instapapersavedThis neat web service offers you a means to keep an online reading list. A lot of people have been raving about it recently.

I must admit that I didn’t get swept up with all that enthusiasm. I figured the save-as-bookmark route was fine for me.

Wrong. This is much better. What’s changed my mind is a means to do it that is so attuned to how I read content on the web.

I don’t visit many websites in a browser. I do read an awful lot of content on the web, though, via FeedDemon, my desktop RSS reader.

There’s now an easy way to add RSS feed items to Instapaper from within FeedDemon.

It’s all to do with saving this code in a file called instapaper.xml and putting that file in the /SendTo folder within the folder where FeedDemon is installed on your computer:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<fdsendto template="{url} &t={title}&s={summary-plain}" service="Instapaper" />

That then gives you a choice to send a feed item to Instapaper via FeedDemon’s right-click menu.

Glenn Slaven and Nick Bradbury explain it all in detail.

If you live in your RSS reader as I do, you’ll find this very helpful.

Now that is what I call a really useful web service.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Andy C

    Not sure I get it. I can see how Instapaper might be useful for arbitrary Web sites or even for marking snippets on a large page.

    However, like you, I spend most of my time in Google Reader and simply share items I want to, err, share.

    Similarly, I just mark longer articles that look interesting to be read more fully at a later time, with a Star.

  2. Steven Hodson

    @Andy C

    not everyone is enamoured with Google Reader and prefer to use a desktop client like FeedDemon. These tips are geared more for that type of RSS consumer rather than a Googleite :)

  3. neville

    That would be my point for Andy as well, Steve – I don’t use Google Reader, much preferring my desktop one (which syncs with NewsGator Online so I have online access from anywhere if I need it).

    Some neat send-to addins you’ve referenced, btw.

    Andy, that’s the point about Instapaper: what if you don’t want to share? It’s not being anti-social; it’s simply that you might encounter sopmething that looks kinda interesting, you don’t know if you want to tag or share it but you want to take a look at it. So you put it in a reading list for later that isn’t part of your shares.

    That’s how I look at it and find it mighty useful!

  4. Andy C

    I have used FeedDemon in the past but to my amazement, I found I could read feeds faster using a Web based reader.

    Unfortunately, I no longer have FD installed but I can’t believe FD doesn’t already have a ‘Save’/’Mark’ feature for articles you want to revisit later.

  5. neville

    That was on my to-do list yesterday, Bernie, before DreamHost’s outage mucked up plans.

    Link now up at the top left under ‘Subscribe.’

    Andy, if a web-based reader works better for you, great.

    As for FD, yes it does have quite a few features to save and/or mark articles for later attention or whatever you want to do with them. You can also automatically sync those saved and/or marked articles with NewsGator Online and read them in that web-based reader if you want.

    For me, though, the point of Instapaper and how I can post things to it from FD is that I can save links to things I might want to look at but not necessarily add to other places where I keep and/or share things.

    Is it a duplication? Well I guess so if I also post those things to other places. But I’m not doing that.

  6. matt lambert

    Amazing how software companies can build a business model around what would have been a single small feature. And how powerful small features can become!

    Anyhow, I can see you share your ‘whole’ bookmark system to the right hand side of the page. This has caused your ‘not wanting to share this yet’ issue perhaps?

    I have discovered a simple way to share delicious information in a targetted way.

    So, as an example, if I bookmark a page for ‘Andy’, and Andy is subscribed to the RSS feed for that particular Tag (a feed exits for each tag), he just gets any information marked for him. I do this without leaving my browser – small but significant point.

    So, you could just have a tag and present the feed for that tag on this page instead?

    Personally, I use Google Reader to ‘Share’ items (single click), on my blog – but it doesn’t allow me to add commentary to the link in the same way you do.

  7. neville

    No it’s not that, Matt. I use delicious to save and share links for similar reasons lots of other people do. And I display those links here as much for my own use as for any other reason. Convenience.

    Using Instapaper the way I’m now doing – saving links from RSS feeds mostly – is just terribly useful. I read most content in RSS and there are loads of things I encounter where a quick decision is needed: read now or come back to later.

    The ability to save for later and then decide whether to permanently save, as it were, as well as tag is very handy. Some things I look at, I don’t think are worth saving or tagging. But you need to read that content in order to decide that.

    I’m sure some people will think this is such a rigmarole. I find it useful.

    Google Reader has very good functionality for sharing, I agree. But I don’t use Google Reader.

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