Raise Your Windows IQ: How to Share a Link, Part 3

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You've already learned how to share a link by copying and pasting it from the address bar or, if it's an embedded link, right-clicking it and choosing the Copy option.

Reader Tom says that's all well and good, but very often those pasted URLs are long. And he's right! In fact, it's been my experience that some overlong URLs don't work properly when e-mailed, as some of the characters get excluded from the hyperlink.

The solution to both issues is to use a URL shortener. Perhaps you've heard of them? They have names like Bit.ly, Fb.me, Goo.gl, and TinyURL.

All you do is head to one of these sites, paste in your URL, and click the Shorten button. In return you'll get a much shorter link you can copy and paste wherever it needs to go.

Of course, that's a lot of extra steps. If you're a Firefox user, you can use any number of add-ons that add URL shortening right to the browser. TinyURL Generator, for example, turns the currently displayed Web address into a TinyURL and copies it to your clipboard for easy pasting--all with just one click. If there's a different shortening service you care to use, search the Firefox add-ons library. You're almost certain to find something similar.

The goo.gl URL Shortner for Chrome works much the same way. And Internet Explorer users can check out the Bit.ly bookmarklet (which is actually compatible with all browsers). Clicking it dumps you to a new Web page where you have to click a button to copy the shortened URL to your clipboard, but it still beats manual pasting and copying.

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