10:45 AM

Firefox Essentials: 10 Must-Have Extensions

There are some Firefox extensions that are good -- and some that are indispensable. Our expert tells why these are the add-ons you can't live without.

Search Plug-Ins
Firefox extensions are a remarkably addictive habit. They also steal the spotlight from another, closely related Firefox feature that also offers a fascinating, and seemingly endless, supply of new choices: search plug-ins.

By default, Firefox installs with a search box visible at the top right of your browser window. If you don't see it, simply click View > Toolbars > Customize. Scroll down the resulting collection of draggable user interface components (which gives you plenty of other interesting options -- be sure to return later to explore it), click and hold your mouse button over the search box component, and then drag it anyplace on the Firefox toolbar that you care to place it.

Drag the search box component onto your toolbar.

Now, click on the search drop-down menu arrow at the left end of the search box. You'll see a list of a half-dozen or so search options listed; click on one of them, and it becomes your default search option.

Next, click Add Engines, which will take you to the search engine add-on page at AMO. You'll find a couple dozen additional search engine options, any of which you can install in your search box pull-down menu by clicking on its link.

Just click one of the many search engine add-ons that Mozilla makes available to add it to your search drop-down menu.
Click image to enlarge and launch image gallery.

Firefox: Essential Extensions

•  Introduction

•  No More Ads

•  Flash Control Plus Three Tiny

•  Better Tabs, Downloads, And IE

•  Speed And Secrecy

•  Bonus: Search Plug-Ins

•  Quick-Click Chart

•  Image Gallery

The real fun, however, begins when you click on the link at the bottom of the page, which takes you to the keepers of Mozilla's search engine treasure trove. You'll find a few more search add-on options here -- 5,649 of them, to be more precise, as of my last visit. Besides a search tool to help you sort through all these search tools, you'll find links to still more helpful search-related sites.

And don't forget the SearchPluginHacks extension, which corrects one of the not-so-cool things about search add-ons: the fact that Firefox doesn't give you a reliable way to uninstall add-ons you no longer want cluttering the search menu.

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