Image of different Read It Later devices

I’ve written here before about how great Read It Later can be for saving all sorts of web content for later enjoyment on a variety of devices, even offline. The core functionality of this service is fantastic, supporting not only text, but video and images, too. With support for everything from iPhone to Android, Kindle Fire to Mozilla Firefox, there’s definitely something to like here.

But there’s more. Just as you would want to know about all the different buttons, knobs and functions on your digital camera to get the most of out of it, it pays to know a little more about what else you can do with Read It Later to let you lead a slightly smarter life.

Import Instapaper Reads

Maybe you already got into the “I’ll read this stuff later” train by signing up for an account with Instapaper and loading it up on your preferred iDevice. Then, you decide that Read It Later is a little more suitable for your needs, but you don’t want to lose your pre-existing reading list. Worry not.

There is actually a relatively simple way to import Instapaper into your Read It Later account. Just export the HTML file from your Instapaper account and import it directly to Read It Later. This isn’t a sync, remember, as it’s just for importing and migrating your way over to RIL.

Tag Your Shopping or Wish List

The main reason why you may choose to use Read It Later is to save interesting articles and other web content for later enjoyment, but you can also be pretty creative with other ways of using it, too.

Tags in Read It Later

Tags in Read It Later

I’ve starting using it to organize my comparison shopping list, for instance. As I make my way around to find a new dresser or nightstand, I save the pages to Read It Later and tag them with “furniture.” When I want to look up what I’ve already found, I simply filter based on this tag. You can do much the same with any other shopping item, even tagging based on timeframe to filter out the old stuff.

Syndicate to an RSS Feed

Perhaps you have a system in place that aggregates material based on RSS feeds. You might use the iGoogle homepage, for example. Maybe it’s fed into some sort of custom app that you’ve created. Whatever the case, it’s possible to output your Read It Later reading list to an RSS feed that can then be read by whatever you have that reads RSS feeds.

In fact, your Read It Later account is already configured to have three RSS feeds by default: unread, read, and all items. Just grab the approprirate feed URL and plug away.

Use Those Chrome Extensions

One of the great things about Read It Later is that there’s an API. This allows for all sorts of third-party apps to utilize Read It Later in fun, creative, and useful ways.

Plus It Later

Plus It Later

One example is Plus It Later, a Chrome extension that will add a “Read It Later” link to every item in Google Plus. When you see something posted in your circles, you can just click that link and it’ll add the linked item to your reading list. There are all kinds of other Chrome extensions for Read It Later too, so browse around the Chrome Web Store for more.

Merge Two Separate Accounts Into One

Uh oh. For whatever reason, you’ve somehow managed to create two different Read It Later accounts, resulting in two different reading lists. Now, you want to combine them. The good news is that this is a relatively straightforward process.

A quick tutorial is up on Ideashower about how to do this, but the crux of it is to log into one account, do a full sync, and then log into the second account and do another full sync. This merges the content into the second account and then you can abandon the first one. Having one list is smarter than two, in this case.