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Sometimes, one-size-fits-all doesn’t really fit, and this is especially the case on the Internet. It’s a wonderful place out there on the World Wide Web, full of sites for every purpose we can think of (and some we’d rather not). That’s why, we’re glad there’s Firefox. No Mac browser is nearly as flexible, nor as customizable. With the right--or the raddest--add-ons installed, you can transform Firefox from a tool to surf the Web into an Internet wrangling toolbox you can tweak to your heart’s content.
We’ve collected fifty Firefox add-ons to help you get the most from your visits to the Worldwide Intertubes. Some aren’t for everyone, but that's okay. Read on, and you may discover ways to work a little easier and play a little harder. For those about to restart Firefox to complete your changes, we salute you.
How do you know when you’ve been browsing too long? Your musty old tabs can tell you. Aging Tabs makes them change color as they sit on the page waiting for your scrutiny. Naturally, colors and aging speeds are customizable. Should tabs fade to grey or yellow like newsprint? It’s your call, but you better hurry; those tabs aren’t getting any younger.
Looks like our tabs could use a little Botox.
Need a little more color in your life? Or maybe you just need to get organized? Try Colorful Tabs, the add-on that lets you apply colors to coordinate groups of tabs, make important tabs stand out, and make Firefox look pretty. Tabs can have random colors as you create them, one color specific to a site’s domain name, or you can apply colors to individual tabs with a context-click. You’ll have to keep up with the latest tab fashions from Paris, but that’s the price of progress.
Colorful Tabs are cute and useful.
Don’t like the way a Web page works? Don’t get mad, get Greasemonkey. With it, and hundreds of scripts available at the official website and third-party sites, you can make pages perform the way you want them to. Want Google Reader to look like a Mac app? There’s a script for that. Want to strip the ads out of Facebook? There’s a script for...you get the idea. Simply locate the script you're looking for, install, and...there is no step three! Just enjoy your favorite sites customized to your liking!
Greasemonkey can make YouTube look like Google Videos.
Firefox’s History browser is so...linear. And so yesterday’s news once you install History Tree. It displays your browsing history as a branching tree complete with screenshots, page names, and the time you visited each page. History Tree also enables you to search your pages’ descriptions to find a past page, view pages as a Cover Flow-ish series of screenshots, and open old pages in new tabs. You won’t look at browsing the same way again.
We’ll take customizable browsers for $100, Alex.
Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar
Keep your favorite sites close and your bookmarks closer with Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar. Simply choose how many rows of bookmarks you want to appear beneath your toolbar--from 2 to too many--and get your freaky bookmark on. You may never need to click the Bookmarks menu item again!
You’re not seeing double, you’re seeing Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar.
Readability is as simple as it sounds: it strips away almost everything but an article’s text and links to maximize, well, readability. Instead of the original Web page, you get something closer to a book or newspaper’s layout (or even a Terminal window). It’s great if your screen is a little smaller than you’d like, and easier than futzing with menu items to change a page’s font size. If a story is worth your time, it’s worth Readability.
A more legible Internet is here today with Readability.
This just in! RSS Ticker scrolls your Live Bookmarks below your toolbar or at the bottom of the page. When an item catches your eye, mouse over it to see a pop-up that offers more information, then right-click to open the article in a new tab or window. You’ll never be at a loss for cocktail party conversation again.
RSS feeds keep on tickin’ into the future with RSS Ticker.
You’ve got a shiny new Mac with a honkin’ big screen, so why view just one web page in your Firefox window? Split Browser lets you divide your windows into multiple panes with a Menu Bar or context-command. Keep your web mail or calendar at the ready, compare multiple versions of the same page, or just create modern art with your panes.
Two panes are better than one with Split Browser.
Stylish lets you transform the way the Web looks, one site at a time. Just visit a page you’d like to re-theme, click the Stylish icon in your status bar, and view all available styles for that page. Installation requires just a click, and most effects occur after refreshing the page in your Firefox window. If you get tired of your new style, or if it causes problems displaying a page, you can turn off the theme (or switch to another) just as easily.
Every day is Lego Google logo day with Stylish.
Tab Mix Plus
Tab Mix Plus puts you in charge of how tabs are displayed, made, and manipulated. Protect tabs so they can’t be closed, lock tabs so they don’t load new pages, and add these and many more commands to Firefox’s contextual menu. Got too many tabs? No such thing--just scroll right or left through your tab bar, add additional rows of tabs to your window, and keep track of unread tabs by styling their titles to stand out from the pack.
Now you’re playing with power...tab power.
Tree Style Tab
Tabs rock, but wouldn’t it be great if the relationship between them was clearer? It can be, with Tree Style Tab. Once installed, tabs branch off from their parent tab, so you know where in the Interweb you are at a glance. Better still, an entire tab-tree can be closed or minimized with a context-click. Tabs’ appearance and position onscreen (left, right, or below the toolbar) can be extensively customized, as can their behaviors when opened or closed.
Tree Style Tab and a misspent youth can explain how we got here.
VertTabbar isn’t a lovable French children’s book character, it’s an add-on that makes your horizontal tab bar vertical to make the most of your fancy widescreen monitor. It’s a new look for the same tab bar you know and love, and you can even control tabs’ widths, placement of their icons and close buttons, and which side of Firefox’s window tabs appear on. It works well with Tab Mix Plus, too, letting you really VertTabbarMix things up.
Let’s get vertical...vertical….
Ad blockers are nice, but what to do about all those empty spaces they leave on Web pages? Add-Art works with AdBlock Plus to replace static ads with artwork, populating your pages with online art shows that refresh every two weeks with new works of art. Most of Add-Art’s showcase isn’t the usual soothing stock image fare, but rather just the thing to spice up sparse, ad-free pages.