Managing your Browser with BrainTool

The Problem

Bookmarks just don’t cut it. Pinned tabs, tab groups and vertical tabs only help a little.

BrainTool gives you a better way to work in your browser.

The Solution

BrainTool is an extension that sits inside your browser. It helps you keep track of pages and manage your tabs. It works by letting you assign a topic to any tab and then use those topics to control the browser.

A Topic is a category or grouping, anything from "Kitchen Renovation" to "Productivity Tool Research". In BrainTool nested topics help keep things organized (e.g. Projects→Kitchen renovation→Lighting options→Under-counter lights).

The BrainTool Popup (right) is where you attach a note to a web page and save it into your topic tree.
BrainTool popup

The BrainTool Topic Manager holds your topic hierarchy. The Topic Manager makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, to open and close pages en masse, and to know where to save new things you come across.

All the pages for a topic are grouped within a visible tab group or a separate window to keep them organized and together.

How you should use BrainTool

Import and organize your existing bookmarks. Or just start assigning topics to your open tabs via the Clipper. (Then you can finally close them out!)

Work proactively, create topics before you start a new piece of research. Or re-actively - as you leave each tab just assign a topic and close it out.

Keep short (or long) notes on topics and their associated pages to build out your personal information space. Assign a TODO state to any topic or page to track a task.

BrainTool comes with a set of example topics and a proposed organizational structure. You can customize that one or build your own from scratch.

For improved focus get in the habit of working within a single topic, or small number of related topics, and being purposeful about context switching.

What you should know

Your topics and notes are your personal and private information. BrainTool is structured such that no one else has any access to your data. The tool running inside your browser uses local browser storage or a synced file that is solely under your control.

To further support efficient browser operation and in homage to its roots, BrainTool supports complete keyboard control - use ‘h’ from the side panel for the full list. (See below, BT navigating the topic hierarchy and controlling vertical tabs in Edge.)

BrainTool popup

BrainTool stores your information in Org-mode syntax. You can sync to an Org file, keep your braintool data in there, and then use other tools to edit it also.

For a deeper dive into various aspects see the blog. The privacy policy, pricing and vision pages might also be of interest.

25 Aug 2021 - Written by Tony

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