Build a better browser

CHOICE Computer's pick of the best add-ons for Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome
 
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03.Firefox

Firefox logo

Version 4.0 has just been released with the promise of a sleeker look, better ease of use and substantially increased speed compared to version 3.6. Download the latest version at www.mozilla.com.

Installing addons

From the browser, choose Tools > Add-ons, bringing up the Add-ons window. This is the place to set options, or activate or deinstall add-ons. Click Get Add-ons, then Browse All Add-ons and you’ll be directed to Mozilla’s site for plugins. Browse or use the search function to find the ones you want. Installing is as simple as clicking Add to Firefox. Most add-ons offer a menu button you can simply add to the toolbar.

The pick

FFtmpTab Mix Plus

provides a range of capabilities including multi-line tabs, a drop-down list of the tabs you’ve closed (for selective recovery) and progress bars across the tabs when new pages are loading. The whole range of functions can be tailored to taste. See Make the most of Firefox tabs on page 28 for how to make the most of it.

FFpersonasPersonas

lets you decorate your browser window with any of a wide range of designs. There are now thousands to choose from and you can set them to change randomly. Some of them are even animated. Combine them with themes for a different look.

FFabpAdblock Plus

is the essential tool for blocking ads. Not only does it block any ads it recognises, it gives you the option to block other inserts on the page as you go. You can start with one of the default filters, downloaded as another add-on, and then tailor it yourself.

IEtab2IE Tab 2

provides support for those recalcitrant pages that won’t function properly in Firefox. You can switch in or out, and set IE as the default for specific pages you know will always require it.

FFfireshotFireShot

captures webpages – either just the part you can see or the whole page – just as you see them, as an image. You can save it or paste it somewhere else for inclusion in a document or to be printed. It guarantees your page capture is exactly what you see, not what the standard print version chooses to give you.

FFfireftpFireFTP

is for people who update web-pages on a server using FTP (File Transfer Protocol), but if you fall into that category, this is about as easy as it can be. It displays a two-panel page in the browser for your local and host files, with transfer as simple as pressing upload and download arrows.

FFdtaDownThemAll

manages downloads from webpages, particularly useful for pages with lots of pictures or links. Choose the ones you want (by criteria such as file type or individually), and it fetches them to a local folder while you get on with something else. It’ll resume where it left off if interrupted, too.

FFgreasemonkeyGreasemonkey

is very popular amongst dedicated techies. It runs scripts against the webpages you look at, so it’s capable of weeding out things like ads, selecting content for speed or doing just about anything else you can think of to tailor a web page to your liking.

FFfastestfoxFastestFox

claims to supercharge your productivity with improved searching, page pre-fetching, parallelised downloads, automatic copy of highlighted text and more. It even lets you save onscreen video. In many ways similar to the IE7Pro plugin (see page 23) for Internet Explorer.

FFcoolpvCoolpreviews

is a nifty addon that gives you a foretaste of where the links on your search pages will take you. When you mouse-over a link, a thumbnail of the page’s appearance is displayed. See where you’re browsing before you click!

 

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