What IS a bookmark anyway?
A bookmark is a spot in space that your ship can warp to. Without bookmarks you are limited to warping to set distances from objects in space, like gates, planets and stars. The furthest distance being 100 km from those objects. If you fly anywhere other than high security systems, built in warping will get you kilt.
How do I make a Bookmark?
Right click on an object in space, scroll down and select "bookmark". This is the way to bookmark containers and other objects in space, like Jump Bridges, POS, and whatnots.
The best thing is to have your People & Places window open, I have mine open ALL THE TIME. At the bottom of the "Places" tab is a button that says, "ADD BOOKMARK". Clicking this button will allow you to add a Bookmark for where your ship is at that exact moment.* This is the most important thing! So don't miss this, you can add a bookmark for anywhere your ship is at that exact moment. Huge thing. Not to be missed. So now we just need to get your ship to somewhere worthy of bookmarking.
*Important - The BM gets added when you hit enter on the naming window that opens after you hit the ADD BOOKMARK button. So if you want to do it fast, hit enter and then name the BM later. Or do it ahead of time and then wait to hit enter until you are right on the spot. Up to you.
Before we get to that, I'd like to mention organization. I currently have over 4,000 bookmarks in my library. That sounds like a lot (and it is) but it is important to remember that bookmarks are contextual. That means that only the BMs relevant to the system you are in are active when you right click in space! They're all in your folders, but only the ones that apply at that moment are in your contextual menu.
So, having 4k plus bookmarks means I like organization. I keep my BMs in folders, these folders are named with short, easy to understand names so that they can be immediately seen in the contextual menu. You don't want to have to go searching when you need to warp away to a safe spot. You could die.
You can name your folders anything you want, but I will share with you mine. I'll explain more about each:
• BOMB - These are bomb spots for my stealth bombers.
• GATE - These are gate spots.
• INSTA - These are insta warp spots from hostile stations... and Jita.
• SAFE - These are safe spots, some of which are safer than others.
• SNIPER - These are...huh, can't remember. Oh yeah! Sniper spots.
• TAC - Short for tactical, these are Jump Bridges, POS, Off Station, and other spots like that.
I'll be covering Stealth Bombing in a future installment of the Idiot's Guide. Suffice to say that Bomb spots are 30-35k from an object that ships like to hang out on, such as Gates, stations, etc. Usually in-line with a Celestial object like a planet or belt. "In-line" means the gate is 35k from you and right behind the gate is something you can warp to after you bomb the ships at the object. Why? Well you'll just have to wait for that other installment. Sheesh!
Gate spots are probably the most important bookmarks you can have if you are traveling through zero space. Without them YOU WILL DIE. Oh yeah, you will. Because eventually your stupid butt will warp into a gate camp, an interdiction bubble, or be dragged screaming into a drag bubble. "Help me Mommy!" But your Mom can't help you, cause you are an idiot! But never fear, I'm here to help you.
If you warp to a gate at 100k you have to fly to the gate. Why? Cause you can only warp to an object that is more than 150k away from you! So warping to 100k is like the dumbest thing ever. So you need a minimum warp to spot above, or below every gate at least 150k away. It is better to have more than one, it is better to have spots 200k, 300k, even 500k or more away from really nasty gates. But you need AT LEAST one that is a warpable distance away. So you can land, see what is at the gate and then decide what to do.
Most drag bubbles are positioned behind the gate you want to warp to in-line with the gate you came from. The distance the bubble can drag you in from has something to do with Math. Who cares. The point is, the further away from that "line" your ship is, the better chance you have of not being dragged into it. So, you want your spot to be at a right angle above or below the plane that the drag bubble will be pulling from. So burn straight up or down from the gate (I usually choose the direction away from the nearest planet, since that is already a warpable object.) and fly as fast as you can out to 200-250k from the gate. Bookmark that spot. You now have one gate spot.
Depending on the type of player you are, how often you'll be visiting the system, and other smart people tactics, you may want other gate spots around the gate. I suggest that every spot you make be warpable from every other spot, this is cool when bad guys are trying to catch you and you just keep warping around and making them angry. There are gates in Catch and Providence that I have dozens of these spots around.
Insta spots try to eliminate that annoying aligning thing that ships do, which is also known as turning. Turning takes time, sometimes a lot of time, and during this time someone could be killing you. So an Insta Warp spot can be helpful. How do you make one?
The next time you undock from a station just keep going in the direction you undocked. You can use your speed mod, or just boat out, depending on your style. When you get past the 150k mark from the station (although I usually go past the 200k mark myself, since someone else probably has the 150 bm'd!) bookmark it. The next time you undock, right click in space and choose warp to that spot. Zip! Of course you still have factors to worry about, but this does give you a better chance of living in case the station is camped. If you undock in a Providence, the Insta Warp is not gonna help much. So be warned.
First of all, no spot is really "safe". Someone can always find you, probe you out, accidently bump into you, blah blah. But safe spots are more safe than other spots, so we still call them safe spots. The easiest safe spot to get is what I call the Mid-Warp Spot. Anytime you are in warp to another gate and you are about half-way there, click on the ADD BOOKMARK button and make a spot! Now you have a spot mid-way between gates at a random location. If the system is full of bad guys you can warp to this spot to wait them out, or log off. Making several of these is even better. They are great temporary spots to have and the easiest to make.
Another safe spot that is good to have and relatively easy to make is what I call the "Scan Gate Spot". If the gate you want to warp to has a planet nearby, warp to 100k off that planet and immediately burn away into deep space. This works best if you have a covert ops ship or a fast ship. Burn for awhile and then bookmark the spot. Next time you enter the system you can warp to this spot and then directional scan the gate to see if anyone is camping it. Now you look really smart. People will be impressed.
There are other kinds of safe spots. Afk burning away from an object until you get thousands of k away is a good one if you have the time. And there is a technique for making deep safe spots that is complicated and takes real brains to do, so I won't cover it here cause it would just confuse you. Plus it probably won't work after the next patch anyway.
Sniper spots are self-evident and anyone who FC's Sniper BS fleets knows what they mean.
TAC Spots are really the MISC spots. Your low-sec POS, the undock points on the enemy station, scan spots on enemy pos or stations, warp to spots above enemy Ice Fields, the list is long and never ending. Kind of a catch-all really.
With over 4,000 spots or with only a few dozen, it is important to name your spots consistently. The spots might be contextual, but when you have multiple safe spots above the same gate, it can get confusing. So name them in a way that works for you. I have my way, which is a secret mystical way that I can't share or else I would be tossed soulless into the abyss, but you'll come up with something.
Bookmarks will save your idiot butt many, many times over. It sounds like a lot of work and it is, because it is important. The Devil is in the details.
For more detailed reading I recommend this link.