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Tucked away amidst all the add-ons that Mozilla Firefox provides us is this little known one called QuickWiki. As the name itself hints, the add-on melds speed with access to the power of Wikipedia. QuickWiki is a look-up tool to hunt down the meaning of a word (in Wiktionary) or some information touching on it (in Wikipedia).

Wiktionary is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a continual free content dictionary. As of today, it is available in over 151 languages. Wikipedia (as most of you probably already know) is the free content encyclopedia and now a de facto information resource for most netizens. Both Wiktionary and Wikipedia are collaborative efforts of millions of volunteers around the world.

Installation and Use

QuickWiki is an experimental add-on for now. This simply means that the add-on is still in the alpha, beta or pre-release stage. Experimental add-ons are labeled with an ‘experimental’ tag and require a straightforward log in before you install them.

More information about the definition of an experimental add-on can be found here. The version history for QuickWiki (v0.93) says that many minor bug fixes have been implemented and the add-on is stable enough for a public release.

Installation is just like any other Firefox add-on and with a restart of the browser, QuickWiki is ready for use. The instructions to use QuickWiki are a no- brainer.

  • To look up information in Wikipedia, press CTRL and right-click the word to get the Wikipedia information.
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  • To look up a meaning in Wiktionary, press SHIFT and right-click the word to get the meaning. I tried it out with a few idioms too (select the phrase) and more often than not it gave to me the meanings of the common ones. The latest version also gives us antonyms and synonyms.
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  • A dialog box to enter a word or phrase manually can be brought up by SHIFT + SPACE.
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  • To close the QuickWiki box, click anywhere else on the page.
  • To configure the QuickWiki shortcut buttons, click on the “˜W’ symbol on the lower right bottom of your browser screen to bring up the Options box. The maximum width of the results box can also be set here in pixels.
  • If you are not interested to use QuickWiki for the time being, just toggle it off with a left click on the icon.

The Cool Factor

QuickWiki more than lives up to its name, by giving us information from Wiktionary and Wikipedia within a second of the right click. Plus, the information box comes out as an overlay on the same page rather than in a new browser window or a tab ( as shown in the screen shots). A click anywhere else on the page takes it away. Thus it is fast, handy and unobtrusive for those of us who like to regularly look up information.

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English is the only language that is supported for now. As the lingua franca of the world, this is not severely limiting. The Mozilla download page for QuickWiki v0.93 is here.

So, do you use this add-on? If it has helped you shave a few seconds off your word search do let us know in the comments.

  1. Tom Christian
    March 3, 2009 at 10:55 am

    It seems lately Mozilla is having much more problems with add0ons.

  2. Dreamparlour
    March 2, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I use the Search box in Firefox (search using Wikipedia), but this seems to be much handier. Thanks.

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