Snipe.Net Geeky, sweary things.

Firefox extensions I can't live without


The full list of Firefox extensions that I consider absolutely mandatory. All of these work with FF 2, and many work with older versions. All but one or two have also been updated to work with FF 3. (List last updated Aug 26, 2008.)

General Browsing:

URL Fixer
Seamlessly fixes the fat-fingered “.con” typos in a domain name. (Other similar extensions only suggest the alternates after the page has failed to load)

Copy Plain Text
Allows you to copy without formatting

AdBlock Plus
Blocks out inline ads, such as banner ads, Google Adwords, etc. (Note, if you’re a regular at the IWG site, please consider disabling this plugin while there. The ad revenue actually does help keep it running. Its not a lot, but its enough.)

Link Alert
Pops up a teenie icon when you mouseover a link, indicating the type of file a hyperlink goes to (.doc, .pdf, etc).  This is particularly handy if you (like me) hate clicking on a link and then waiting 10 for Adobe Acrobat to open.  Obviously, yes, you can look at the status bar and find out where it’s going – but this extension makes it much more intuitive.

URL Link
Reconnects broken links that are only broken because web-based email wrapped them, etc.  Also has some other neat features.

PDF Download
Makes FF ask you what you want to do with a PDF file, rather than automatically opening it in a browser window.  I’m on a lot of law and court websites often, and many of them offer PDFs, so this is a nice one for me.

Resizable textarea
Just what it sounds like – it lets you make a textarea box bigger for more room to type.

Aging Tabs
Changes the color of the tabs in FF based on how long they have been idle.  This isn’t a critical one, but its helpful to me, since I switch back and forth from tabs so often. At a glance, I can see which are the most active, so I know which ones to click on.

Foxmarks Synchronizer
Syncs all of your Firefox bookmarks across multiple computers.  Requires you to sign up for an account at Foxmarks, but the account sign-up is built in to the initial setup, and it literally took less than 30 seconds. As of October 2008, Foxmarks now supports browser password syncing.

Download Helper
Grab images and video from YouTube, MySpace, etc.

Allows you to set specific favorite folders to save your downloads.

Background Image Saver
More and more sites are utilizing a transparent gif overlay to prevent their images from being saved via the right+click “save image as”. Since Firefox doesn’t have a “Save background image as…”. this extension gives it back to you.

Google Adsense Notifier
Shows you how much you’ve earned in the status bar.  I have found a bit of a glitch with this since the last update, where I can no longer view the amount from last payment (it shows the amount for all time instead), but I am hopeful that this will get fixed soon, since I really like this extension.

Just a quick shortcut to Google services (mail, news, etc.)  Simple, but nice.

Read it Later
This is a handy little addon that lets you flag a page to read later. If you’re like me, you constantly find interesting pages that you want to delve into, but don’t always have time, the very moment you find them. While you could certainly just set up a Bookmarks folder for stuff you want to get to later, Read it Later adds a spiffy icon in your address bar. One click and its saved for later.

Google Preview
Provides a thumbnail screenshot next to the site link and summary in Google search results. I wouldn’t have thought I needed this when I first heard about it, but its become one of my favorites.

Web Development:

IE Tab
This is perhaps more important as a web developer, but there are times when a page won’t render correctly in FF, so it’s nice to have an alternate way of viewing it. There is also a trimmed down version of this extension available as IE Lite. Alas, for PC only.

This one is a must-have for all web developers.  It allows you to quickly and easily view and select distinct elements of a webpage, displaying their characteristics, including id. Great for troubleshooting HTML and CSS.

Web Developer Toolbar
This is THE first extension I go for when setting up a new computer.  Tons of web dev tools, including viewing submitted headers, debugging tools, and so on.

This is the SECOND extension I go for when setting up a new computer. If I ever get to meet the people who came up with this, I’m going to march right up to them and plant a wet one on their face. This extension has saved me so much time and aggravation – I can’t imagine being a web developer without it. How did I do it before Firebug? Firebug gives you easy access to CSS styles, HTML attributes, even network calls for external files.

User Agent Switcher
Helps debug any weird encoding issues you might run across.

Shows the IP address of the website host.  Useful if you’re working with a site that does load-balancing, dev environments, and so on.

Server Spy
This addon lets you see what type of server the website you’re visiting is running, similar to Netcraft’s “What that site running” lookup.

Character Identifier
This extension adds a context menu item for selected text that provides more information (from the Unicode database) about the characters selected.

Server Switcher
If you work with a dev and live server environment, such as and, this extension allows you to easily switch between the two servers from any page on either server.  It would have been nice if you could add one more version, such as staging, but overall its really quite handy.

A very slick, lightweight screenshot addon that allows simple annotations and highlight boxes. Very handy for explaining elements to clients, helping non-techy people understand what and where to click, and so on. There is a free version and a paid version, but I’ve found that the free version is more than adequate for most use. Only available for Windows… *sniffle*

Great little addon that gives you the power of a color eyedropper in your browser. Need to grab a color from a website to make additional graphics? No problem. Two clicks later, you’ve got the RGB or hex color code copied to your clipboard. This addon has saved me a ton of time.

Handy little addon that lets you whip out a ruler and measure the size of anything in your browser, in pixels.

Lets you see the headers being sent through the browser – can be helpful for debugging scripts.

The Pencil Project
Great addon that lets you plan and tweak GUI interfaces right in your browser. Click here to read more about the Pencil Project in a previous Snipe.Net article.


Simply THE easiest way to Twitter. There isn’t a time when I’m on the computer without a browser window open, so this slim Twitter client makes it unbelievably easy to post to and read Twitter updates. Don’t use Twitter? Click here to learn why you should!

Not at All Useful, But Still Fun

Bork Bork Bork!
Translates webpage text into Swedish Chef

About the author


I'm a tech nerd from NY/CA now living in Lisbon, Portugal. I run Grokability, Inc, and run several open source projects, including Snipe-IT Asset Management. Tweet at me @snipeyhead, skeet me at, or read more...

By snipe
Snipe.Net Geeky, sweary things.

About Me

I'm a tech nerd from NY/CA now living in Lisbon, Portugal. I run Grokability, Inc, and run several open source projects, including Snipe-IT Asset Management. Tweet at me @snipeyhead, skeet me at, or read more...

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