These are a combination of bookmarklets and userscripts. The bookmarklets just need to be dragged to your bookmarks bar. The userscripts require the Tampermonkey extension to be added to whatever browser(s) you use. Once you've added the extension, going to a userscript's page will show you an Install button; click that to install the script in Tampermonkey. The script will run automatically on any page it applies to.
All of these tools are browser-specific. If you use more than one browser, you'll need to install everything you want on all of them, and customize them if needed.
The AO3's built-in search and filters have gotten even better (yaaaaay excludes!), but that's no reason not to customize things even more. With the add-ons I'm using, going to a fandom's works page (or any search-results page) gives me a list of results where:
- Find favorite things
- Particular tags that I really like are highlighted in different colors, so I can zoom in on them without having to read every tag (Fangirlishness's "AO3: highlight tags" userscript)
- Skip over unwanted things
- Incomplete works are faded out, for easy skipping-over (Flamebyrd's "Incomplete Works" userscript)
- This script also makes the stats line on the fanwork larger and pink, so if I'm linked to an incomplete work, I still have an instant visual clue that it's not complete.
- Works that contain particular tags that I really don't like are collapsed with an explanation of why they're collapsed (they could also just vanish entirely, but I like the option of being able to click in if I'm in the mood) (Schegge's "AO3: Fic's Style, Blacklist, Bookmarks" userscript)
- If you want just a blacklist without the added styling and bookmark functions, try tuff's ao3 savior
- Works that I've already marked as seen (using a button that appears at the bottom of each work) and/or already kudosed are visibly marked on the results page, so I know what I can skip at a glance. (Min's "AO3: Kudosed and seen history" userscript
- Works with a zillion tags appear with some of those tags hidden and a 'show tags' button for if I want to see them; if not, I'm not having to scroll past giant blocks of text. (You can set your own limit on how many is too many.) (Vannius's "AO3: Tag Hider" userscript)
Recs (sort of)
- This is on individual work pages, not searches/listings.
- At the bottom of every fanwork page, I have a "You might also like this" button. (GetRec'd, links to Chrome and Firefox extensions)
- If there's enough data for a match, it pops up a list of works that might appeal, each with a plus sign next to it. I can click straight onto a link to dive right in, or click the plus sign, which adds the work to a reading list stored on the browser's extensions bar.
- If you go looking for userscripts, you may find the userscript version of GetRec'd. Don't use it; the creator has deprecated it and is focusing on the two browser extensions instead. The userscript version won't work.
That's before I even touch the filters - literally just on loading a page. Once the page is up, I can fine-tune the search/filters to a pretty amazing degree.
- Add more filters
- I can filter on additional fields beyond the one AO3 defaults to: creator, hits, kudos, comments, and bookmarks. (Flamebyrd's "AO3 Additional Filters" userscript)
- These are also all possible to do on AO3's more complete Works Search page, but having them available in the filters makes things a little faster. I'm not likely to go all the way to the Works search to add "only works with more than 1000 kudos", but with the filter box there I can just add
>1000to the kudos filter and boom.
- Save filter terms
- I can set up persistent include or exclude tags, globally or by fandom, so I don't have to keep checking the same box in the filter list every time. (tuff''s "ao3 saved filters" userscript)
- Need kittens in everything you read? Add 'kittens' to the global box, and you'll get kittens every time you use the filters anywhere.
- Hate kittens? Add
-kittensto the global box, and poof, never any kittens ever again (unless someone didn't tag their kittens, always a risk).
- Love vampire AUs everywhere except one particular fandom? Go to that fandom's works page and add (
-"Alternate Universe - Vampires") to the fandom box, and it'll be filtered out any time you're looking for things in that fandom.
- Want all the angst, all the time, in your main fandom, but not necessarily anywhere else? Go to that fandom's works page and add
angstto the fandom box.
Save entire searches
- When I have a search set up that I like, I can click a "Track This" button on the works page, and it will be saved to a "Tracked" box. (Min's "AO3 Tracking" userscript)
- I can click on that box anytime, from anywhere on the archive, and see a list of the tracked searches (up to 25) that I've saved. I can either click on the name to go to the latest search results, or click "Check for new" to see if anything's been posted since the last time I checked.
- You can track any works page/listing, whether you've run a search or not.
- Right now I'm testing this on a collection someone out there is keeping of their favorite fics for [trope], as a way of finding some specific recs for that trope. This button has many possibilities, is what I'm saying.
From the search results/works page:
- Every listed work on a search/filter page has a button on it for downloading directly, without clicking in to the work. (tuff's "ao3 download buttons" userscript)
- This basically clones the archive's own download button, so it brings up all the usual format choices.
- Every listed work on a search page has a button on it for a fast, customized bookmark on Pinboard, without having to go into the work (Flamebyrd's "AO3 → Pinboard Bookmarklet Generator" - the page includes an option for the button, if you want to install the userscript version)
- Every listed work on a search page has a button on it for fast "mark for later", without having to go into the work (Flamebyrd's "Read Later Buttons" userscript)
From the page for any given work:
- A bookmarklet in my browser's bookmarks bar lets me create a fast, customized Pinboard bookmark. (Flamebyrd's "AO3 → Pinboard Bookmarklet Generator")
Reading/commenting on/kudosing fanworks
There are tons of ways to customize your reading experience. I wanted a few specific things: page-margin control, font control, a way to mark where I stopped reading if I need to come back to something, ability to see at the end of a fanwork if I'd already kudosed it, and an easy way to quote things in a comment without losing my place. I use three userscripts for all of that:
- Schegge's "AO3: Fic's Style, Blacklist, Bookmarks" userscript
- Fic's Style: Every fanwork has a small menu button at the bottom right of the screen.
- Clicking that gives me options to
- change fonts
- change font size
- change margin width
- change the background color of the fanwork (not the entire browser page)
- or reset back to defaults
Whatever you set will be remembered the next time you go into a fanwork, but with the controls right there on the page it's easy to adjust on the fly. The userscript includes a handful of default fonts and colors for switching through; if you're comfortable in code, you should be able to change these or add more. But the basic set provides a good array. This script is NOT designed to be tweaked by casual users.
- Mark your place: I also get a button at the top of the page that says "Full screen".
- Clicking that pulls up a semi-full-screen page (the browser controls are still there, but things like the header tags are gone), with an Exit button at the top and two small controls added at the bottom left: a caret (^) and a plus (+) sign.
- The caret is a "go to top" link; the plus sign adds a 'bookmark' for whatever spot you're at when you click it.
- You can only have one bookmark per fanwork, which also means you can mark your place as you go if you're worried about crashes or interruptions. The bookmark will update itself to the new position every time you click the plus sign.
- Once you have a bookmark or two, you can click on the Bookmarks link in the nav menu across the top (next to Fandoms | Browse | Search | About), and it will show you a list of the works you've created bookmarks for.
- Click on one, and it will open the work in the full-screen view;
- Click on the "Go to Bookmark" button and it will take you right back to where you were
Meludame's "AO3 Kudos tools" userscript, which I thought was lost forever, and which I'm so happy to have found a copy of.
- This script needs to be edited a bit, but is pretty straightforward. You add your own username where it tells you to, and if you've kudosed a work, it turns the Kudos button green and adds a green background to your name in the kudos list.
- You can also edit it to highlight other people's names in the kudos list, if there are people whose tastes you trust and you want a quick glance in advance to see if they liked a thing.
rav's "AO3 Review + Last Chapter Shortcut + Kudos-sortable Bookmarks" userscript.
- AKA "the floaty review box" userscript. You may have seen this one mentioned around recently, which is how I found it.
- With this installed, any time you open a fanwork you'll get an addition to the row of buttons across the top, saying "Floaty Review Box".
- Click the button and a semi-transparent box appears, floating at the top-right of the page.
- This is movable! I tend to slide it further to the right (under/behind the right border of the browser) so only a bit of it is showing, so it doesn't overlap with the text on the page at all.
- It stays put while you scroll through the story, so you can easily add commentary as you go.
- It even has an Insert box: select the text you want to quote and click the Insert box, and it pastes in surrounded by italics markers. You can then hit return a couple of times to add your reaction. You can do this as many times as you want.
- Everything you add to the floaty review box is instantly mirrored in the comment box at the end of the fanwork, so when you're done you can either tweak it or post it.
- One caveat: If you start typing in the regular comment box, and then switch to the floaty review box, your review-box text will not be mirrored in the comment field. You'll have to copy-paste at the end.
I was going to put instructions for customizing the things that could be customized in the post, but it got seriously unwieldy, so instead I'm going to put the instructions in comments
Where to find these things and more:
flamebyrd's AO3 Bookmarklets and Scripts page, with many useful things, including things I didn't mention above.
Greasy Fork's AO3 user scripts, lots more than I mentioned here, including ao3-savior, a more fine-grained blacklist (and whitelist) userscript than the Blacklist I mentioned above.
get-recd's Get Rec'd tumblr, with updates and info.
Meludame's "AO3 Kudos tools" userscript, saved on the static mirror of the late, lamented userscripts.org.
Spiffy html cut-tags courtesy aka_vamp, who posted how to do it a few weeks back. Blockquotes not included. :)