Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add-Ons

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firefox new tab page 300   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add OnsWe all like to customize our things – it’s nice when they feel really ours. This is true for many aspects in life, and naturally, doesn’t skip computers, phones and software. If it’s possible to customize things even a little bit, someone’s going to do it. It doesn’t matter if the default is great – the default is what everyone has. So out go the defaults and in come hundreds of different customizations. Now it’s only a matter of choosing the best, coolest, most useful one.

This is not one bit different when it comes to browsers. Back in the days of Netscape 1.0, all browsers looked pretty much the same, but the advent of add-ons brought hundreds of customization options, and these days they look different on every computer. One of the best and most useful ways to customize your browser is through the new tab page. We’ve told you about some great ways to do it with Chrome, but apparently, we’ve turned a blind eye to Firefox.

About 4 versions ago, Firefox finally added a default speed dial feature to its new tab page. The speed dial shows 9 of your most visited pages, and while it’s useful, it’s far from perfect. For starters, the thumbnails don’t always load; in addition, you sometimes see duplicate tiles for the same website, which is inconvenient and a waste of space. If you too feel that it’s time for an upgrade,or just want your browser to look different than the rest, read on to find some really great options.

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New Tab King

new tab king   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

New Tab King is a versatile, multi-featured new tab page that comes with a to-do list, a recently closed tab list and even shortcuts to launch desktop apps. It goes without saying that each element in your new tab page is customizable, collapsible and removable, and the entire left sidebar is collapsible as well, so you only see it when you need to use it.

As for the main section of the new tab page, this is a list of your most-used websites, and can be viewed in a list format, as seen above, or a traditional tile format.

new tab king 1   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

The background image and colors are customizable as well, and you can connect it to an RSS feed, a Picasa community search, your own local images, and more.

Bottom line: Has many useful features and works well, but is far from being minimalistic.

FVD Speed Dial

fvd speed dial   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

With a strong focus on the speed dial options, FVD Speed Dial is another solid start page with multiple tile groups you can customize and switch between. Each tile group can also be viewed as a list, and everything from tile size to background and font colors is configurable. By default, FVD Speed Dial comes with 7 speed dial bookmarks (two of them promotional) which you can change and add to.

Additionally, you can view your most popular pages and your recently closed tabs in lists or tiles, each with its own custom settings.

fvd speed dial 2   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

FVS Speed Dial also includes a synchronization feature, so you can access your favorite websites and settings on multiple computers. In order to use this feature, you’ll have to create an account.

Bottom line: Slick, fast and useful. With a white background, also quite minimalistic.

Super Start

super start   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

Super Start is a simple, do-it-yourself type of start page, in which nothing comes ready made. Unlike the previous two options I mentioned, opening a new Super Start page for the first time results in a blank page. It’s your job to populate this page with tiles of your favorite websites, including a link, a name, and even an icon – none of these is automatic.

The add-on makes it easy to find popular icons online, but if you want to add a more obscure website, you’ll have to find one by yourself. That being said, adding tiles is super easy, and it does feel nice to start from a clean slate.

super start 2   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

Super Start comes with a built-in notes feature for little to-do lists, a list of recently closed tab page, and four different themes.

Bottom line: Perfect for the minimalistic, DIY types.

Moment

moment   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

Do all these tiles seem like useless clutter to you? Meet Moment – a completely different start page option. With Moment, there are no tiles, no lists and no bookmarks. All you get is the current time, date and local weather. That’s it. The layout is simple and beautiful, with Weather Underground providing the local weather. Want to customize it? You can change the background color, font color, and temperature units.

Everything else is static. So if you don’t like the layout you see above, feel free to skip to the next option, but if, like me, you find its simplicity quite fetching, I highly recommend that you give it a try.

Bottom line: A different, successful take on new tab pages.

New Tab Plus

new tab plus   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

Let me come right out and say it: New Tab Plus is tacky looking. In fact, it reminds me most of old programs from the days of Windows 95. As you can imagine, it took some thinking before I decided to include it here, but the fact is that New Tab Plus is so powerful and easy to use, it really can be a perfect solution for quite a lot of people. By default, your new tab page will be populated with 10 tiles, including a useful quick search widget for Google, Bing and Yahoo! search.

new tab plus 2   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

Want to change things around? Here is where the fun truly begins. Access the Settings to start playing with different layouts – you can either choose one of the preset ones or create one of your own. The “Cloud” button includes dozens upon dozens of different backgrounds you can choose from, organized by category. You can also choose a local image, or one of the 10 available background colors. The “Site Nav” button includes heaps of useful shortcuts, also organized by category.

When adding a new tile, you can choose from the multitudes of already available tiles, and if you can find it, just add it yourself. New Tab Plus will find the tile image for you automatically, unless the website is really obscure.

new tab plus 34   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

Deleting or editing a tile is note entirely intuitive: right click anywhere on the new tab page for the delete and edit icons to appear.

Bottom line: For those who don’t like working hard, and don’t mind the slightly tacky appearance.

New Tab Tools

new tab tools   Make New Firefox Tabs More Useful With These Add Ons

If you actually like Firefox’s default start page and just want to tweak it a little, you might want to try New Tab Tools. All this add-on does is add some customization features to Firefox’s existing ones, but the start page and the tiles stay exactly the same. With New Tab Tools, you can change the background image and the tile images for your start page, and also add a launcher that gives you quick access to your downloads, bookmarks, history, add-ons page and more.

From the add-on’s options (accessible only through the Extensions page in the settings), you can change the number of rows and columns of tiles, and toggle the launcher on and off. The size of the tiles is set automatically according to the number of rows and columns, and you can’t change it.

Bottom line: If you really like Firefox’s default, this makes it slightly better.

Do you know of other awesome start page options for Firefox? Is there an add-on on this list you particularly like? Tell us in the comments!

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25 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Julian Altshul

I use http://www.myfav.es/ as my start page. It’s not based on tabs, but on start buttons or tiles – you add one for each web page or app. There are lots of popular services to choose from “off the shelf” and you can add your own links too. The icons on each tile can be customised – though there are pretty limited options for your own added links – i.e you could add an “M” button for MakeUseOf, but you couldn’t upload your own custom icon. The web addresses for each button can be customised too – I normally edit them to take me straight to the login page for each website. Worth checking out. You need to create an account, which is free, and you can make your launch page public (to share it) or private.

Yaara Lancet

Interesting, I’ve never heard of this one before. Looks nice, thanks!

Reply

Anonymous

There is a problem with Firefox. I have a powerful PC, running update windows 7, kaspersky and firefox. and use CCleaner for cleaning my PC (means that my pc do not have any problem). But my but problem is that when i install firefox it works really fine but along with passage of time it gets slower until i reset it or uninstall and reinstall it. which is really abusing . and also at least once a day it stops responding.
Hopefully mozilla improves their browser so that we find chance of utilizing all great addons and customization features available in Firefox

Yaara Lancet

I agree, Firefox does get worse with time. But I find that the same goes for Chrome too, at least on my machine.

In the past several years I’ve been switching back and forth from Firefox to Chrome and back again, each time getting fed up with my browse being slow and unresponsive.

I’ve actually been using Firefox for quite a while now, but even though it’s getting increasingly slower and crashes more often, I still get so frustrated with Chrome every time I have to use it, that I just stay put.

I might just need a stronger PC, though. :)

Alan Wade

Do you shut down your computer completely of a night time? I dont mean hibernate but properly shutdown.
Try that, sounds silly I know, but think about it.

Yaara Lancet

No, I don’t shut it down at all, actually. Not even hibernate. I’m too lazy to have to boot it up every morning, and it’s getting on to being a piece of junk anyway.

I’ve always heard opinions for and against shutting down every day, and to be honest, I’m really not sure what’s better for the computer. I might try shutting it down every day when I get a new one, but I’ll probably still be too lazy…

null

Trust me, PCs need a good Restart (or shutdown).
This clears ram.
Which is compensating for programs that have memory leaks. (Programmer not clearing memory when user has finished with some function/action)
Rob

dragonmouth

How many add-ons and extensions do you have active?

Extensions can be convenient and hip but there is a price to pay for that convenience. The more extensions you have active, the more memory they use and the slower Firefox gets.

I hear user complain that their Firefox is slow and it has a large memory footprint. When I ask how many extensions they use, some say “only” 40 or 50. They use extensions for everything, even for wiping their nose. Interestingly, out of all those extensions, very few, if any, are Privacy and Security add-ons. It is more important to most users that their browser looks cool then that it is secure.

Yaara Lancet

I make an effort to keep add-ons to a minimum. I know they take a toll on Firefox after a while, and while there are many cool add-ons I’d like to use, I use only what’s really necessary for me.

At this moment, I have 10 active add-ons, which is still a bit much in my opinion.

suneo nobi

I use Greasemonkey for installing scripts which have a similar functions like the extensions….for youtube,search etc….

Reply

Junil Maharjan

I have tried a few add-ons but i always end up using new homepage tab.

Alan Wade

I do the same, have my homepage open with a new tab, but I changed a setting in the About:Config to do this which is one less addon to screw up Firefox :)

Reply

VS Vishnu

“Congrats, You have opened a new tab!”

Might have tried it if this big lame statement wasn’t there on the top

Yaara Lancet

:)))) That’s mine, actually. I saw that you can customize the title, and I wrote the first thing that came to mind. This is NOT the default. :)

Reply

salim benhouhou

awesome plugins thank you Yaara

Reply

Thomas Petrucha

I often try such tools, but after a while I uninstall them and use the “old” way ;)

Reply

Alan Wade

Tried the New Tab King but unfortunately, in my opinion, turned out to be the New Tab Joker!
Although there are a multitude of settings and customisations to play with, I couldnt get any of them to save. Even the colour choices on the Start screen couldnt be turn off.
Thankfully I found the UNINSTALL option.

Yaara Lancet

Sorry it didn’t work for you, I encountered no such problems. Which version of Firefox are you using?

Alan Wade

I’m using version 18. I tried using an earlier version of New Tab King but the result was just the same so maybe its this version of Firefox.
Pity because I thought NTK had some great features but FVD with the searchbar turned off is a good second.

Yaara Lancet

When I was writing this post, Firefox 18 stable wasn’t out yet, and I tested all add-ons on Firefox 17. It could be that version 18 broke it somehow, which would be a shame.

Alan Wade

Created a new profile with no addons and it works perfectly now! All I need to do now is find the offending addon and work it from there.

Reply

Alexander

I use FVD Speed dial in my firefox browser and like the ways you can customize it :)

Alan Wade

Dont like the fact that FVD Speed Dial is bundled with malware. It uses the incredibar search engine which cannot be changed. Thankfully it can be turned off leaving you to use Firefoxes default search bar.

Yaara Lancet

Thanks Alan. It’s embarrassing, but I actually didn’t notice FVD Speed Dial uses Incredibar for search. It’s weird because I’m sure I used the search option, and I have no recollection of seeing Incredibar.

Incredibar really isn’t a name I like seeing, but after looking at it, I believe it’s harmless in this connection. And as you said, you can always turn disable the searchbox, which leaves you with a pretty awesome add-on.

Thanks!

Alan Wade

FVD Speed Dail is OK but for the bundled malware. If you use the search box you will find it uses Incredibar – a recognised source of malware!
The saving grace is that you can disable the searchbox and just use Firefox’s built searchbox but you shouldnt have to.

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