Firefox is famous for its addons, and for good reason: they can make your browser do just about anything. But which addons are the most useful? Here are the addons we think are best, what they do, and where you can find them.
Enjoy! Also let us know if we’ve missed anything, okay? We plan to update the list semi-regularly.
Bookmarks and Clipping
If you’re using the web for reserach, you need to compile what you find as quickly as possible, and note a few sites for future reference. Here are tools for saving those relevent bits of information, and for compiling and managing your bookmarks.
If you don’t use Evernote, you’re missing out: it’s the perfect place to put all those things you need to remember for later but don’t need right now. And the fastest way to send something to Evernote is the Web Clipper, which Aaron called the ultimate content saving tool. You won’t remember how you browsed without it.
Creating citations is the funnest part of academic writing, right? If you’re convinced, check out Zotero for Firefox. It takes the stress out of referencing by creating a bibliography in just one click, and it’s also a useful tool for compiling resources. A must for academics.
If you’d rather your clippings live right in your browser, check out Scrapbook. You’ll get a sidebar where you can store and share research.
If you use more than one browser, you need this. XMarks is a bookmark and password syncing service compatible with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer – meaning you can take your bookmarks with you when you switch from one to the other.
Compile things you find interesting, arrange them visually and share the results with the world. That’s the idea behind Pearl Trees, which lets you share the best of the web with your own visual library. It’s long been a top-rated Firefox addon, check it out and learn why.
Sometimes, while researching, you need to quickly write something down. If you’d rather keep everything in the browser, QuickFox notes lets you write and save notes with a tabbed interface.
Firefox isn’t just a tool you can use: it’s something you can make personal, and use to make the web look however you like. Here are some addons that let you do just that, by changing how you browser behaves or adding quick tools to the right-click menu.
There are a lot of Firefox themes out there, but if you can’t find one that’s just right, don’t worry: you can design your own Firefox skin with Stratiform. It’s easy.
Bookmarks, history, downloads: why should all of these things live in a tiny toolbar? Give yourself more room to work, without adding clutter: put everything you need in a sidebar.
Don’t want an entire sidebar? Just move a few buttons, then. Doing so can save you a lot of vertical space, so give it a shot if you want more of your screen to show the site you’re looking at.
Do you never use the search bar? Save yourself some space, without losing any functionality: combine search with the address bar just like Chrome does. You can even assign keywords to different search engines, letting you use any of them without moving your hands from the keyboard.
Are there sites you search regularly? This tool lets you do that easily. With Add To Search Bar installed you can right-click any search bar, on any site, to add it to your Search Toolbar’s drop-down list of options.
Watch the progress of your downloads as you browse the web. Download Statusbar lets you replace the Firefox downloads window with a toolbar at the bottom of your screen. Perfect if you don’t like the download button or window offered by Firefox.
See some text you don’t understand? With this addon installed all you need to do is right-click to see a translation.
Where did that picture come from? TinEye lets you find out quickly: just right-click, then click “Search image on TinEye” to find images similar from around the web. There’s no end of uses for this sort of reverse image search, from spotting fake Facebook profile pictures to determining whether an image is fair use.
Don’t like the way in-page searches (CTL+F) work in Firefox? FindBar lets you move your searches to the top, and lets you customize everything. Resize the bar, change how highlighted results look, and a lot more.
Move your mouse in a particular way to trigger an action. Whether you want to go “back” by quickly moving your mouse to the left or to open your bookmarks by drawing a “b”, this plugin has you covered.
You know that bar that used to be at the bottom of the browser? You can bring it back with this addon (or put the things that used to be there somewhere else).
Customize the way your favourite websites look with scripts. This addon is legendary, though possibly less useful with the decay and eventual death of UserScripts.org. GreasyFork is probably the best place to find scripts now.
Similar to Greasemonkey in some ways, but focused on changing how sites look instead of how they act. Think of it as themes for your favourite sites.
Want to see the mobile version of a page? Or access a site that’s “Chrome Only”, or “Internet Explorer Only”? User agent lets you trick websites into thinking you’re using a different browser.
It’s hard to focus when a site is cluttered with ads, sidebars and other distractions. Clearly removes the clutter from webpages, so you can do some reading. You can also send what you’re reading to Evernote for future reference.
If you’re an aspiring web developer, you need to know about these tools – they’re the reason so many pros use Firefox, or at least keep it around for certain instances.
You probably don’t have every color code memorized, so use while you’re editing sites with Firebug. It pops up and lets you pick a colour with your mouse, and pastes the proper code.
Adds a toolbar jam-packed with tools developers rely on to test and tweak their sites.
Why install a separate program for FTP transfers when you can do it right in your browser? FireFTP is a powerful Firefox FTP client.
An eyedropper that can identify any color on any website, so you can copy the color code and use it in another program. A must for designers.
It’s like a tape measure for web designers, letting you quickly measure the size in pixels of any area. Perfect if you need to know how big an image you can fit in a given place.
Hey, which font is that? Find out quickly with this tool.
Connect To Mobile
Firefox syncs your bookmarks and open tabs with its mobile version, but you can send a lot more than that to your phone. Here are tools for getting content from your desktop Firefox to you other devices.
Found a long article, but don’t have time to read it now? With this you can save websites to your Kindle, so you can read them later on your e-ink screen.
Send the currently open article to the ultimate digital bookmarking service, so you can read it later on your phone or tablet.
Nothing is worse than typing a long password with a phone keyboard. With LastPass for Firefox, you can sync your passwords to your phone and all of your other devices. LastPass also makes logging into sites faster on your desktop, so it’s the ideal password management system.
Use your computer’s comfortable keyboard to send text messages, thanks to this Firefox addon. You’ll need to install the MightyText app on your Android phone to use this.
Music and Video
There’s a lot of great media online, and Firefox is a good browser to enjoy it with. But are there tools that can make streaming, and downloading, a bit better? Of course there are.
If you like to find and download media – images, videos or music – you’re going to want this legendary addon. One click lets you download every piece of media linked to on a page, or every image on that page.
Downloads videos from a surprising number of sites, so you can watch them offline. Use responsibly.
Wish you could watch American streaming site like Hulu, or British ones like iPlayer? Hola lets you easily access geoflitered content.
Darkens everything on the page but the video you’re watching, kind of like turning the lights off in the theatre.
Lots of sites offer HTTPS encryption, but leave it off by default. This addon turns it on whenever possible, giving you an added layer of security.
Is the site you’re looking at trustworthy? Users vote about the trustworthiness of a site, meaning you’ll get a warning if you’re browsing something potentially harmful. It’s your own personal Internet bodyguard.
Don’t want Google watching your every move? This addon sends a bunch of random searches to Google, Bing and more, making it harder to search engines to track your online actvity.
Finding the best price is way easier in your browser than it is at the mall, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be even easier. Here are the best Firefox tools for the job.
It’s automated price comparison! Browse any online store, and this addon will let you know if anything you’re looking at can be found for less somewhere else. This will save you money.
Automatically see coupon codes in your search results, and get fast price comparisons as well.
Add anything you find online to your Amazon Wish List – regardless of which site you found it on.
Social Networking Tools
Social networks are great for keeping in touch with friends and finding great content. Here are a few tools that make your favourite networks just a bit better.
The magic Internet button that takes you to a random website. Still awesome after all these years.
Learn more about the people you’re emailing. This addon integrates with Gmail, appearing in the sidebar, and gives you career details and social network links for whoever you’re emailing right now. Start conversations and connect with your contacts.
Make fancy email sigantures for Gmail and Yahoo Mail, pointing out your latest blog post and even adding social media links.
Add keyboard shortcuts, embedded media and so much more to Reddit. If you browse the site often, this is a must-have. It’s necessary if you want to use Reddit like a boss.
Tweeting too much can overwhelm your followers. With Buffer, you can schedule to share whatever you’re reading right now sometime later – important if you want to optimize viewership.
Facebook shows you a lot of information you don’t care about – here’s your chance to filter that out. You can pick which of Facebooks features you care about, and to only see those things. Control what you see in your news feed.
If you regularly can’t see the favicons because of how many tabs you have open, there’s help for you. Here are some addons that can keep things under control.
If there’s anything – anything at all – you wish you could change about the way tabs behave in Firefox, check this addon first.
If you open the same website in two different tabs, this addon will automatically close one of them, helping you organize your tabs.
Add notifications to your tabs, so you can do things like track your unread emails at a glance.
Browse multiple sites, at once, in a single window. This addon lets you get more out of your wide screen.