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Firefox Beyond the Box

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So, you've downloaded Firefox and love what you see. If you haven't extended it or modified it in any way, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" (to quote Al Jolson). Some of the more fun things you can do with Firefox are to extend it, customize it, and tweak it. Meryl Evans walks you through a few steps so you can be more comfortable taking Firefox beyond its basic setup.
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You've downloaded Firefox and love what you see. If you haven't extended it or modified it in any way, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!" (to quote Al Jolson). Some of the more fun things you can do with Firefox are to extend it, customize it, and tweak it.

If those three words freak you out, relax. Take a couple of breaths. For a long time, folks thought Firefox was a browser for techies. Yes, it has techie stuff that happens behind the scenes, but that doesn't affect your ability to have a great browsing experience. I'll walk you through a few steps to become more comfortable with taking Firefox beyond its basic setup.

Extending Firefox

Some of the coolest things about Firefox are its extensions, which add more features, capabilities, and options to the browser. Rather than including every extension to the browser install and giving everyone features that they may or may not need, it's better to install it yourself—you get what you need without dealing with browser bloat.

Occasionally, when clicking on an extension to install it, Firefox asks how to open the file. When this happens, close the box and click the link again. After installing an extension, close and reopen Firefox before using it so it can pick up the extension on startup.

Some extension authors' pages provide information on extensions that may not work when loading the author's extension.

xMirror

Every extension has its own Web page and that's the best place to download it because the latest version publishes there first. It may take time before the version arrives at Mozilla or other Web sites housing extensions. xMirror adds a drop-down list to the Extensions window linking to the extension libraries. The Web site has a few other extensions.

SessionSaver

In writing this, I installed the extensions to be sure that they are A-OK. It gets old to close Firefox every time I load a new one and then reopen the previously loaded Web pages. SessionSaver puts an end to this nonsense because it restores the pages you had open before closing Firefox or when it crashes.

AutoCopy

How do you copy text from a Web page? The most common way is to highlight the text, press CTRL+V, and press CTLR+P. You can do this in one step using AutoCopy. Once you highlight the text, it's copied to the Clipboard.

TabBrowser Preferences

Tab browsing is a favorite feature for many users. Take it to another level with TabBrowser Preferences. You can control how Firefox handles links, move the tab bar to the bottom of the browser, and manage tab focus (when clicking on a new link, select whether the current tab stays in front or if the new tab steals focus).

DictionarySearch

Expand your vocabulary with DictionarySearch, which does exactly what its name implies: It looks up a word in a Web page or email in an online dictionary. After installing DictionarySearch, all you have to do is select the word, right-click, and select Dictionary Search for....

AutoForm

Do you like Internet Explorer's capability to automatically fill in forms for you? Add this feature to Firefox with AutoForm.

Adding extensions takes little time and provides timesaving features to Firefox. Expand Firefox's horizons and explore the extension libraries.

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