Blog Post

10 Useful Firefox Add-ons for Almost Everybody

I’m in the middle of moving to new computers. Two of them. The laptop is easy. The desktop, well, that’s a story for another post. New and faster computers with a fresh install can compel a person to look up applications, plugins and other tools to boost web worker efficiency. Browser add-ons are a perfect example.

Quick overview for those new to Firefox: Add-ons are little free tools that make your application experience better and easier. Add-ons don’t stop at browsers, either. Email applications like Thunderbird have them, too. They’re very easy to install. Just go to Firefox add-ons, browse, click “Add to Firefox” and click “Install” in the popup window. Once installed, you’ll need to restart Firefox to complete the process.

Here’s my list of current favorites (note: if you like this list, be sure to check out the WebWorkerDaily Firefox Add-ons Collection):

Adblock Plus — No. More. Popup. Ads. Or auto-playing videos. You might also want to download a Filter Subscription. You can still create your own filters to block ads on specific sites.

Better Gmail 2. Two great feature additions for Gmail (s goog). Folders4Gmail lets you have labels in folder-like sub-folders. Attachment icons replace the useless paperclips with the icons of the app that the attachment uses. If it’s a Word document, it’ll show Word’s blue W icon. Better Gmail 2 has other good features, too.

Download Statusbar. Get rid of the download pop up box. Instead, downloads appear across the bottom of Firefox where they don’t intrude. When you’re ready to open one, just double-click the relevant filename in the status bar.

Firefox Environment Backup Extension (FEBE). Any kind of backup tool for an application is worth it because it restores data with little effort. This one backs up your add-ons and rebuilds them.

Long URL Please. Twitter increased the use of URL-shortening services. But some of us like to know where we’re going before we click. This add-on automatically expands shortened URLs. Even if you can’t see the full URL, you can mouse over the link to see the full link tooltip-style.

Print/Print Preview. Adds a print icon to the tool bar with a down arrow giving you the choices of Print, Print Preview or Page Setup. I limit printing to stay green. This add-on helps because it ensures I print only what I need and nothing more.

Read it Later. I’ve always saved articles to read later by opening them in a tab and keeping it there until I read it. No, it didn’t lead to having a bunch of open tabs. Because I don’t like many tabs, it compels me to read them soon so I can get rid of them. Read it Later took over the job. The add-on puts a checkmark in your browser. Click the checkmark to add the page to Read it Later, click it again to remove.

Web Developer. I’m not a web designer, but this toolbar has helped me out many times. You can disable Java, Javascript and colors, manage cookies, change up styles with CSS, adjust form options and much more.

Word Count Plus. Anyone who writes web content where word counts matter needs this. Simple tool where you highlight the text, click the icon and see the word count. Now it just needs an added feature to count characters for Twittering outside the box.

Xmarks. A bookmarks synchronizer that works between computers and across networks. I first used it back when it was Foxmarks, but encountered issues. Those issues are now gone, and the add-on comes with more features. It can synchronize passwords, give you information about a web page and create separate profiles. You can have a profile for each computer so you can pick and choose which bookmarks to display at each location.

I’m sure I’m still missing some of your favorite add-ons, but I limit how many I install because Firefox does become a memory hog. So here’s your chance to fill in the blanks.

What are your favorite/most frequently used Firefox add-ons?

27 Responses to “10 Useful Firefox Add-ons for Almost Everybody”

  1. @Mary, I have Adblock, but didn’t include it because it does take some work on your part. Sometimes you forget that something isn’t loading because of Adblock.

    @Tom, Kallout is good. Everyone has their own strategy and way of searching. I’ve seen these types of apps, yet I just use my search bar.

    I haven’t been able to find anything that helps with the memory issue in Firefox. When it hogs memory, it slows down the computer. Got a brand new PC, too.

  2. great post, meryl!

    i especially appreciated the heads-up on the download status bar. to maintain marital harmony i forego late night tv in lieu of listening to old time radio shows on my smart phone. this will make downloading my newest ‘stash’ easier to accomplish ‘on the side’, so to speak, while i’m getting some serious work done.

    i also use shareholic and read it later regularly. plus, though i am a tweetdeck fan, i still sometime use twitpin; e.g. when i am waiting for specific info!

  3. @Jenn, That’s not good. I have to say that I have never had any problems with it. It works on my XP PC in the office and my Vista laptop at home. I haven’t tried it on my Ubuntu machine – I have no idea if it’s compatible with that or a Mac.

    You could try their support page:

    or follow @cooliris on Twitter and send them a DM.

    BTW, I don’t work for Cooliris. ;)

  4. @Eric, thank you.

    @Jenn, I prefer to use Filezilla rather than the Firefox FTP. But I know a lot of people love FireFTP. Thanks for mentioning it and PhotoME.

    @MKR, thanks for heads up.

    @Shelly, wow that has come a long way from my first tab add-on.

    @Steven, great suggestions. Photoshop users will appreciate ColorZilla.

    @Keiron, I downloaded a twitter add-on (Don’t remember the name) and promptly uninstalled it because it slowed down my twitter experience big time even though it added more power and features. It was not twitterfox.

  5. That’s scary – you’ve almost listed my setup!

    I’d add TwitterFox to it though as well (and don’t use gmail so we could get rid of that one), I occasionally use scribefire for blogging too!

  6. I would add FireFTP and PhotoME to the list. The first opens a FTP client within the Firefox browser, and the second allows you to view image meta data in online images.

  7. @websites, not forgotten. That feature is included with XMarks. Just click the “i” and it shows five similar sites.

    Like I said — many add-ons out there. I’m sure I’m missing some fabulous ones. Hence, we open the door to you as it takes a community to scratch the surface.

  8. Great list.
    Besides Adblock Plus and Xmarks, I’m using Webmail Notifier (, since it supports gmail, yahoo and hotmail (and some more which I don’t use).

    Good old FireFTP ( is also great+handy if file-transfer stuff suddenly is required…

    Recently I started using Tab Kit (, which is great, since your tabs are colored/arranged/moved automatically, depending on how it’s configured.

    Since I’m also doing web-development from time to time, I found Yslow ( to be great in some situations.

    Just my 2 cents.


  9. Good list. I’ll have to try FEBE, I haven’t heard of that one before.

    I maintain a full list of my recommended extensions here and you can easily subscribe to my addons via my Essentials collection

    PS: You should create a WWD collection

    Some of my essentials include:
    1) Adblock – blocks tons of ads
    2) Flashblock – kills annoying autoplaying flash
    3) Download the All – excellent integrated download accelerator
    4) AllinOne gestures – navigation with mouse
    5) Shareholic – great way to replace lots of bookmarklets for social media sites
    6) Ubiquity – b/c it’s the greatest extension ever!

    Thanks for the list. I’m always looking for great add-ons.

    @tsudo on twitter