Firefox extensions

Some useful Firefox extensions I've found:

  • Link Toolbar:
    This puts a little navigation bar down in the bottom right of the window, with buttons that correspond to the LINK REL tags in the web page, letting you do forward, back, up, & top. This is handy, because it means that (when people use these tags) the "next" link is always in the same place, regardless of who wrote the page or how it is scrolled. Mozilla had this built in (the "Site Navigation Bar") but it was removed from Firefox.

  • EXIF Viewer:
    When you pop up a menu over an image and select "Properties", this extension shows you any EXIF data in that image: shutter speed, etc.

  • Named Anchors:
    This adds a new tab to the "Tools / Page Info" dialog that lists all of the named anchors in the current document.

  • Moving the Search field:
    Not really an "extension", but it took me a while to notice that it's possible to move the "Web search" field up into the menubar area, instead of having it to the right of the URL field. This is nice because it gives you more space to read long URLs. You do this by clicking right on the menubar and selecting "Customize". The UI is pretty clunky, but it lets you get rid of much useless junk and move just about everything around.

  • Other search engines:
    You can change the set of search engines on the menu to the right of the field by selecting "Customize", but that doesn't work very well (you have to be the owner of the /usr/lib/firefox-*/searchplugins/ directory, I think.) I deleted everything in that directory but Google, and added Webster, IMDB, and the Wayback Machine. Annoyingly, you have to re-do this every time you upgrade Firefox.

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Current Music: Mira -- In the End ♬

53 Responses:

  1. johnreen says:

    My three personal favorites:

    1. User Agent Switcher - Adds a menu option to the Tools menu to easily switch your user agent; this is less necessary these days as Firefox is more supported by sites
    2. Live HTTP Headers - A must if you're doing any sort of web development; amusing if you just like to see how certain sites transfer information across the wire. Allows you to selectively record and ignore the HTTP stream.
    3. FlashBlock - Now, I know you hate Flash, but if you want to view the random "amusing" Flash animations your friends send you, this is invaluable. It replaces all Flash objects with a big button with an "F" on them, which you must click before they play. The best part: some websites do flash detection and serve out either a flash animation or an animated gif based upon the result; this plugin still reports that you have flash, so you get the animation, but it's blocked. Perfection.
    • luserspaz says:

      In Firefox 1.1 (or some recent Mozilla) Flashblock will be slightly better as it won't touch your userContent.css anymore.

    • omnifarious says:

      Flashblock is also one of my favorites. I absolutely despise Flash, except when I don't. Now, if I could find a Flash plugin that worked on x86_64, I'd be all set. :-)

  2. zare_k says:

    AdBlock is a favorite of mine.

    • jwz says:

      I use Privoxy instead.

      • martind says:

        The trick is to use adblock in-browser and then copy the URL-bits out into privoxy or tinyproxy.

      • k8to says:

        As martind said, I find using both is a winning (if slightly clunky) combination. Adblock has the advantage of being able to remove the element from the page, which for obnoxious advertising iframes etc, is a godsend.

        Privoxy is very useful of course in that it can work for all users for all browsers for all computers. It's not a lot of work to push strings from adblock into provoxy. I really should write a script to do it though.

        • jwz says:

          The best part about Privoxy is that someone else maintains the blocklist. I have only a tiny handful of blocks that I've had to personally add.

  3. edm says:

    Thanks for the hint on customising the toolbars in Firefox, it definitely improves the space available for viewing URLs.

    Now that I've moved the Search box to the menubar area (a far more useful space for it), there's plenty of room to make it bigger than the 10-character or so default. But I can't seem to find any UI/about:config means to specify how big it should be. You don't happen to know how to make the search box bigger? Ideally taking up all the spare space on the menubar.



    • jwz says:

      I haven't been able to figure out any way to do that either. Let me know if you do...

      • jesus_x says:

        It's easy peasy, but incredibly not newbie friendly. And you have to do this with all Firefox windows closed (this includes Chatzilla, which for some reason many people think doesn't count).

        You have to edit userChrome.css. On Linux I believe the file is somewhere like ~/.mozilla/firefox/ but you have to drill down through the salting.

        Once there, change to the /chrome/ dir beneath the profile dir.

        Open (or create of it's not there) userChrome.css in your text editor of choice. Add the following line at the very end:

        .searchbar-textbox { width: 400px !important; }

        You can change the 400px to a length you desire.

        Save file, restart Firefox.

        Oddly, after I did all this, I also changed the default search behavior in the URLbar to be a normal search rather than "I'm Feeling Lucky" (which even Google acknowledged almost no one uses) and I never used the Google bar again. Of cours,e the URLbar can't so special searches, like site: ones, or anything with a colon on period in it... To change that, read

        • jwz says:

          "Make the search box be a different hardcoded pixel width" is not quite what I was hoping for. It should expand to fill available space.

        • edm says:

          Thanks for this information. The file was (for me) in .mozilla/firefox/*.default/chrome/ (where the "*" is to get round the apparently useless random directory name that both Mozilla and Firefox seem to stick everything under).

          As with <lj user="jwz">, it isn't exactly what I was hoping for, but it is at least considerably improved over the default. Given that it's apparently CSS controlled it may be possible to come up with some CSS which will tell it to dynamically expand the width, assuming enough of the default CSS can be overridden. I'll have a play sometime.


          • jesus_x says:

            "As with jwz, it isn't exactly what I was hoping for, but it is at least considerably improved over the default."

            I tend to for get my hacks aren't always the best (I know, shocking). So, check my reply to his reply to my reply for a better version.

    • ralesk says:

      I just type google find me this here thing in the URL bar and with that got rid of the search bar altogether.  When I'm feeling lucky, I drop the keyword google.

      • grahams says:

        I have several "special" bookmarks with keywords set so I can do things like type "i Alicia Witt" to search IMDB for Alicia Witt or "img Alicia Witt" to search Google Images for pics of Alicia Witt... I have tons of them that I use all the time... Far more useful than the little search box...

      • ciphergoth says:

        Thanks for this - I have done exactly as you suggest. Now to replicate all my favourite old Galeon "smart bookmarks" in Firefox.

        I still miss the Galeon "portal page" though.

        • bpt says:

          You might want to try the BookmarksHome extension, although it's not, IMHO, nearly as nice as Galeon's portal page (at least not with the default layout and formatting).

        • haran says:

          Even though I drank the firefox kool-aid just like everyone else, I still think Galeon is the best (and most usable) browser I've ever used.

          It even supported incremental search, which I didn't realize it had until I accidently tried it!
          You can duplicate a lot of its functionality in firefox, but you need to keep getting extensions for that.

          Best feature was having two urls associated with a bookmark. One for going direct to the site and the 'smart' url for when you give arguments to the keyword in the url bar.

    • topbit says:

      Resize Search Box - this adds a 'Customise Menu' item to be able to change how big the search box is.

  4. luserspaz says:

    You work quickly. I just finished FxIF yesterday. I guess I should make a webpage for it eventually. I don't know why the install link wouldn't work, the MIME type should be correct on my server.

    Also, you can get to toolbar customization via View -> Toolbars -> Customize. I keep my bookmarks toolbar up there by my menubar so I can use bookmarklets without taking up so much space.

  5. romulusnr says:

    it's all about miniT (drag+indicator). \m/ though i still miss "Duplicate this tab" a la Konqueror.

    oh, and AdBlock of course.

  6. ianbicking says:

    You can list the named anchors (inline in the page) with a bookmarklet:

    Though lately people have been using id's for anchors more and more instead, and this bookmark doesn't show those. I imagine that would be easy to add, though. Anyway, I generally find bookmarklets easier to manage than extensions.

  7. ashwinne says:

    I find the MAF extension useful to save webpages.

    The Maf project is an archive extension that allows complete web pages to be saved in a single archive file. MAF stands for Mozilla Archive Format and the extension uses RDF to save page meta-data such as the original URL of the page and the date/time the page was put in the archive.

  8. aaronlehmann says:

    Know if there's a plugin that *disables* the stupid history autocompletion dropdown? I *HATE* that and I won't use any browser that forces it on me.

  9. node says:

    My Debian box is unreachable right now, but I believe it uses ~/.mozilla/firefox/searchplugins/ or ~/.mozilla/searchplugins/.

  10. terryray says:

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned webdeveloper.

    This adds a bar across the top of the page with dozens of handy little functions to help you when developing web pages. OK, so, I hardly use any of them, but several are kinda cool. And I use "outline table cells" all the time.

  11. crazy4cats says:

    Hi, I can't figure out how to move the toolbar. I get as far as right click on the toolbar and click customize. Then I'm shown a box with different icons I can add to the stop, but the search field is not one of them. What else did you do? Thanks.

    • crazy4cats says:

      I figured out how to do it as soon as I said I couldn't. This is typical for me. I claim I can't figure it out and then go and prove myself wrong.

  12. jennae says:

    I personally like FoxyTunes, then I can stay in my browser and control my music. I'm lazy like that.

  13. wilecoyote says:


    "Oh noes I've written a huge 50-page post to LJ/random web forum and I closed my window by accident and I lost it all!!" With this extension it will never happen again.

  14. spoonyfork says:

    AdBlock - I can't imagine browsing without it
    ForecastFox - international weather reporting (useful for those of us in weather-challenged areas)
    SpellBound - spell check text boxes and textareas in forms with a right-click, useful for message board sites that don't have a built-in spell checking (e.g. Slashdot)

  15. haran says:

    I deleted everything in that directory but Google, and added Webster, IMDB, and the Wayback Machine. Annoyingly, you have to re-do this every time you upgrade Firefox.

    Did you know you can right-click on a search box on any web site and get an
    "Add Keyword for this Search"
    option? This adds a bookmark instead of a search engine. And I find it easier to just type "amz Foo" in the location bar and get search results instead of going over to the search engine box and scrolling for the search engine you want.

    • jwz says:

      I didn't know that -- neat!

      I still have a not-entirely-justifiable attachment to having separate URL and search fields, though. Conflating them just seems Wrong to me.

      • starfighter says:

        the thing with the URL field is that you go Ctrl+L and then type "g pr0n" and it will google for pr0n.

        Probably there is such a key-cut to the search field but i was never aware of it. The keyboard niftiness was why i started with firefox in the first place :) Now if they could fix the type-ahead again that would rule.

  16. thesliver says:

    I've added Stumble Upon, which they should really have called 'I'm bored make me unbored with a button'. You give it your interests and it throws semi-random sites at you when you press the Stumble button, you get to say whether you like it or not and there's some social engineering icing about sharing stuff with friends.

    I ignore all that but as a boredom button its fine.

    Oh and I still use the google toolbar rather than the search box even if it won't dropdown its history because the tab bar won't let it.

  17. jlindquist says:

    I'm not sure if this is an OS X quirk or not, but to remove the search bar entirely, I had to drag it into the window of inactive icons. Just dragging it out of the toolbar wasn't sufficient. (Whee! Long URLs are visible again!)

    And thanks to all that list their favorite useful extensions. I've found quite a lot in the last two weeks from people doing that.