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Tune Up Firefox for Research

Effective online research involves more than just noddling around on the Web. For Goofing off, any browser will do. But when you want to collect and manage information, the right tools can speed the task. Firefox's streamlines interface and vast ecosystem of extensions and plug-ins make it an unusually rich research tool. No matter which browser you're using, you'll do well to master the native features of the program first. In Firefox, some of the slickest built-in features include:

Tabbed Browsing
Wheel-cllick or CTRL-click any link to open that link in a new tab

Google Searching Any Selected Text
Right-click selected text to launch Google in a new tab

Bookmark All Tabs
Once you've opened several Web sites in individual tabs, Firefox lets you save the entire group. When you add a folder containing bookmarks to your Links toolbars, it acts like a custom menu of favourite sites

Open In Tabs
Reopen the whole group

Keyword Searches
Search sites right from the Location Bar. This issue's Firefox tip (right) explains keyword searches

Live Bookmark
Gives you quick access to RSS feed headlines without your having to open the sites that originate them.

-Bill Dyszel, frequent contributor

Right-click any selected text to search for that text in Google. If you add the SearchWith extension (, you can choose from a variety of other search engines as well, including, Technorati, and Wikipedia

Google Notebook ( is a basic note-taking utility that sits in the lower right-hand corner of your firefox screen and allows you to take a quick note without leaving your browser. It also makes your notes available over the Web on any computer you are using.
Once you've added content via the small extension interface, open a Notebook on a web page for a much richer experience. You can edit and redorder your notes here, and even make them more readable.

Tweaks Save Time
When you run accross a non-hyperlinked URL, the Fecth TEXT URL extension (addon/ lets you select and right-click the text and open the URL in either the same tab, a new tab or a new window. If you prefer, you can simply highlight and drag any text to the search box.

Make Use Of Explorer
Some sites still work only for IE users, although that number seems to be dwindling. IE tab (addons.mozilla/en-US/ firefox/addon/1419) opens current page in a new tab and uses IE to renedr the page

Smart Keywords
You might already know about Firefox's custom keywords, which let you assign keywords to your favorite sites through the Bookmark Manager. But even more convenient is the ability to quick-search Web sites by typing short keyword followed by a search terms into the address bar. Just Right-click on a site's search bar and select Add a Keyword for this search... For more detailed shortcuts, set up your bookmark manually with the %s variable in the site's URL. Firefox replaces that variable with whatever you type after the keyword.
-Anton Galang, editorial intern

For Further information, please read PC MAGAZINE issue September 4, 2007

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