If there’s any downside to working online, it’d have to be the repetitive tasks that hit you in the face on a daily basis. That same burden weighs on those of us who use the Internet on our personal time. Who wants to be constantly filling out the same exact signup information on every new website they visit? It’s a waste of time and it isn’t necessary.
Luckily, if you use Firefox, there’s a very simple solution. That solution is Autofill Forms [No Longer Available]. With this Firefox add-on, you’re able to complete an entire form (composed of any number and type of fields) with a simple click or keyboard shortcut. Autofill Forms works with the latest stable release of Firefox (and has worked since at least Firefox 5) and has recently become incredibly easier to use and work with.
This add-on comes packed with a lot of features, most of which I’ve yet to even find a need for. Here are some of those features (straight from their page):
- Fills out web forms with one click or a keyboard shortcut.
- Input fields not automatically matched can be filled out via the context menu.
- Features a completely customizable ruleset to determine the input for each form element.
- Provides a simple rule editor to define custom rules.
- Works with input fields, textareas, selections, checkboxes, radio buttons and any valid form fields.
- Profiles can be used to switch betweeen several sets of rules.
- Automatically selects the best matching profile based on the assigned site.
- Possibility to define a global profile.
- Profiles can be exported and imported.
- Provides the possibility to define alternatives inside a profile.
- Allows to add new rules or complete forms as profiles via the context menu of form fields.
- Can be used with a toolbar button, a statusbar icon, a keyboard shortcut or via the context menu.
- Provides customizable keyboard shortcuts.
- Only active when filling out forms so it doesn’t consume any system resources while surfing.
Setting Up The Default Profile
After installing the add-on, you should be able to access it from multiple places – your context menu, add-on bar, and there should be an icon with a pencil near your address bar. Beside that icon, there is an arrow pointing down. Click that and then click “Settings” and lets set up your default global profile.
This form profile serves as a general purpose. It’s imperfect, but using these form rules can really make just about any registration form at least half as painful to fill out. All you’ve got to do is click each field that you want to fill out and change its value. The field rules are very general and site rules have been left empty so that these should work on any website on the Internet.
After filling out the fields with values of your choice, all you’ve got to do is click on the icon of the pencil on any page with a form. If it happens to match the generalized field rules, it will be automatically completed. Forms can also be filled out if you right-click on the page and go through the Autofill Forms context menu.
Setting Up A Custom Profile
While having that default profile will be a lot of help to you, it’s a great benefit to be able to set up more narrow and specific profiles to really get the job done in a more reliable way. For this example, let’s use the official vBulletin Community Forum.
Forums are one of many places where you’ll find yourself repeating the same form information over and over. There are very few forum software types, so a profile for vBulletin, phpBB, IPB, and maybe one or two others should practically cover a huge majority of the forums that exist online.
I’ve went to their registration page and filled out the forms as if I was about to manually register an account. Once finished, right click “Add complete form as profile…” from the context menu.
Upon doing so, your new profile will immediately pop up.
From there, all you’ll really want to do is remove the regex expression from the field for the site rule, and probably change the name of your profile. You’re all done. You can now practically automate the vBulletin registration process.
To set that profile as the active one, you’ll need to just select it from the arrow near your pencil icon.
That’s how easy it is. Imagine how many different things this could be used for. You could be cutting minutes or even hours off of your weekly routines if you really dedicate the time towards setting up a form profile from the start.
If you guys come across any trouble, just leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out. Remember, this is just the basic functionality of the Autofill Forms add-on. There’s so much more for you to do and I really recommend that you put in the time to learn how to master the add-on.
If you enjoyed this article, check out MakeUseOf’s official list of the best Firefox add-ons. Plus if you know of a good Chrome version of this extension, let us know about it in the comments.