The top ten Firefox Add-ons that will change your life

Zara Rabinowicz column.jpg

Firefox may be still be losing out to Internet Explorer in terms of users, but if you’re talking geek fans, it wins the browser war hands down. I’ve recently been updating my page with a variety of add-ons to let me work (and play) more efficiently, and have discovered some very exciting features- which I’m going to share with you.

Read on for my top ten Firefox add-ons of all time!

Number 1. Answers Add On

Be honest with me here, do you actually understand every word you ever read on the net? Yes? Well then you’re a liar… or you have the fab answers add on. Simply move your cursor over any word you don’t understand, press left ALT and left click, and voila, a mini pop up giving you the dictionary definition. This has changed my life.

Number Two.Pearl Crescent Page Saver

One of the worries about working on the web is that one day it will die, and there will be no hard proof that I’ve ever written anything. Hence, it’s always a good idea to save copies of your work as well as URL’s, but many screen grabbers only capture what’s on the page, rather than all the page, even the part that’s not on screen.

If you want the URL bar as well you’re asking for trouble. Unless you use the Pearl Crescent Page Saver Add-On which captures the full page, and lets you save it as a JPEG or PNG file. It sits just by your browser URL and takes up zero room, as only a camera icon is displayed! Sorted.

twitterfox_screenshot.png Number Three.Twitterfox

I’m currently pretty big on the Twittering front, and find it a fun way to keep updated with the latest news and in jokes from my friends. As well as following various high profile people, I like to update frequently, but why should I have yet another tab open? Install TwitterFox and you ‘ll have updates in the right hand corner of your screen so you can update easily when something profound strikes you.

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Number 4. Download Helper

Isn’t it annoying that you can’t embed clips from the BBC? And what about watching a YouTube vid offline? Previously this would be possible via a complicate circuitous route that would leave you red faced and swearing, but now Download Helper will solve your problems. This atomic like icon sits in your toolbar and glows when on a page where there’s a video. If you’d like to record it simply click on the icon and it will save it as a file- and it lets you choose from a variety of formats- so you can turn a YouTube clip into an avi, Mpeg4 or DivX file with one click Genius.


Number 5. Keyboard Shortcut List

OK, so this isn’t so much a Firefox add on as a page of amazing and useful Mozilla shortcuts. I know we all know how to copy, cut and paste text and images, but there’s a lot more on offer than that! The most useful shortcut for me personally is being able to zoom in on text by pressing Control and ALT- basic but very useful when you leave your glasses at home!

Number 6. British English Dictionary

I know you have spell-checker on your computer and probably even a Google Toolbar, but there are words it just won’t get, so this add on is essential when proofing your work.

Number 7: Fire FTP

Don’t want to pay for an FTP service? Fair enough! Use Fire FTP to do your work for you!

Number Eight: Firefox Showcase

Do you have a zillion pages open at the same time? If you loose track of them easily, Showcase could be the add on for you. It lets you view your tabs as thumbnails, and you can then select them or close them.

Number Nine: The Time Tracker

This add-on is more for entertainment than any real purpose, as it keeps track of how long you’ve been online. You can choose whether to reset it daily or keep it running- and you know once it has hit 3 hours you should DEFINITELY get that coffee.

Number Ten: Foxmarks

Isn’t it frustrating when you switch computers and suddenly all your precious bookmarks are AWOL? True, you can use your Google/Gmail toolbar to save them, but that means you always need to be logged in- and what if you’re not a Gmail user? Foxmarks is a handy way to keep all your bookmarks synchronized, no matter what computer you’re on, as with this add on, changes made on one computer will affect all of them- genius!

Zara Rabinowicz is staff writer for Shiny Shiny and is currently a fan of Firefox add ons. She may have to cut back though, as they’ve started to take over her life.

Tell me what Add-ons you love in the comments below!

Zara Rabinowicz


  • “Tree Style Tab” is the one add-on I can’t live without. I love having my tabs down the side of the screen (room for so many more) and indenting tabs to organize related groups of tabs.

  • Firebug. Lets me alter the text on any webpage – very handy when trying to work out how much onpage content I need to create. (I’m also told it does lots of useful developer type stuff…)

    ScreenGrab! Because I’m always being asked to provide screengrabs and Alt+PrintScreen doesn’t always cut it.

  • Morning Coffee – you set up a list of websites you want opening every morning, click the lil coffee cup, and it opens them. It’s actually changed my life.

  • Some handy ones in that list – thank you!

    For me, the essentials have to be:
    Brief – feed reading add-on
    Firesizer – quickly resize windows to smaller resolutions, having an interest in webdesign, this is a great one!
    HTML Validator – instantly see if a site’s source code is valid and double click for all errors; brilliant!
    Taboo – when I find a page I like and want to look at later, if I added it straight to bookmarks I’d forget, Taboo lets you add it to a list of thumbnails and look back at them later
    Quicknote – just to jot stuff down without opening up a new document

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