Enhancing your Web browsing experience can be done in numerous ways. Essential add-ons can add not only convenience, but more efficiency. Safari offers some terrific tools, between toolbars and buttons that can help you improve your work and even your play on this popular browser.
Get There Faster With Toolbars
Google Toolbar for Safari puts a nice, thin toolbar containing many customizable options and services at your fingertips. You can enable a search field, keyword highlighting, and translation of selected text.
You can also pick the services you would like to display on the toolbar from a long list of options. Have a button for everything from Google Maps and Google Images to other Google services such as Webmaster Tools and Adsense.
You can even include social media networks and sites like Bing, Amazon, or Wikipedia. Google Toolbar for Safari is simply a great toolbar to have.
A similar gadget called Google Tool Bar has a slightly larger display, but also lets you personalize which services you would like to see. The list of options is narrower, but still has some decent choices.
You can display your Google Calendar, Adwords, Gmail, and Blogger. There may not be as many items to choose from as with Google Toolbar for Safari, but Google Tool Bar does work well.
Dictionary.com Toolbar is really handy for looking up a quick word definition. Words entered into the search box will pop open the Dictionary.com website directly to the word you entered.
The other links on the toolbar are also convenient to have, such as thesaurus, quotes, and translator. When selecting one of those, you are taken to that section of the Dictionary.com website, rather than directly to the word. This is unfortunate, but having those links close by if you do a lot of Web word work is still convenient.
The Widgets Bar is one that you can use to quickly see local weather conditions, three different world clocks, the current date, and an RSS feed ticker. You can choose the world clock locations and enter a URL for the feed. There is nothing hugely necessary on this toolbar; it is simply a nice-to-have.
Button Bar is a good toolbar if you do not want to open your bookmarks. This toolbar lets you add up to 20 URL buttons with colored labels and dividers. You can select the alignment for the buttons on the toolbar as well as the style or color. Button Bar is thin and works great for getting to your favorite sites quickly.
Do It With the Click of a Button
The RSS Menu button is handy for showing the available RSS feeds for the site you are visiting. Selecting any of the feeds in the list will allow you to preview them in a new tab. So, you can easily decide if the feed is one you want to add to your reader.
The Mini Google Maps button is perfect for popping up a small window rather than taking you to the Google Maps site. Enter your location and view either a map or satellite view.
It would be helpful to have the option for directions right within the pop-up. But, if you just need to view a map in a hurry, then the Mini Google Maps button is handy.
PanicButton is a very interesting tool that allows you to hide all active tabs. You can see a badge icon with the number of open tabs you have and once clicked, you will be taken to blank tab instead.
Button settings allow for keyboard shortcuts and a different “safe page” if you do not want the default blank page. You can even set it so that the button is hidden once it is clicked.
Note that the tab display is not actually “hidden” because you can still see each of your tabs across the top. This button really just takes you to that “safe page” if you do not want someone walking into your office to see that you are on Facebook, for example.
The WebWatch button is terrific for keeping track of how long you are on the Web and includes a customizable activity reminder. This would be convenient if you or someone in your family is only allowed limited browsing time.
You can set the reminder for from three minutes up to three hours. You can also pick the message to be displayed and whether or not it should repeat and how often.
If you do not need the reminder and just want to track how long you are doing an activity on the Web, this button has you covered there as well. It can start as soon as you open Safari or when you click the button. WebWatch is a useful gadget.
SimilarWeb is another interesting button. This one provides in-depth details regarding the site you are visiting. See the site ranking information, traffic sources, geographical percentages, referring sites, search keywords, social media sources, similar websites, and finally, mobile apps for the site.
If you have your own website or blog, you probably already have tools to provide this type of data. But, if you want to get data on just about any other site, this is a useful button.
Hierarchy List is a button that will show you the current page’s order within the website. So, if you start at a site’s home page and navigate to different spot, you can easily see the structure and make a selection from the pop-up to go back if needed.
The Stop/Reload Button is just what it sounds like. You can stop the loading of the current page or reload it. Realizing this is not an essential button because you have this option in your address window, the button is merely for practicality in your toolbar.
What Are Your Favorite Safari Tools?
Do you have toolbars or buttons that you use often for Safari that offer more options than we’ve covered? Or, maybe you prefer not to clutter your Safari screen with these types of tools and use something else?
Feel free to share your suggestions with others by leaving a comment below.
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