These powerful extensions make Firefox unique - gHacks Tech News

These powerful extensions make Firefox unique

While most web browsers support extensions and themes, or are about to, you will notice that they don't necessarily share the same capabilities.

Google Chrome for instance has its fair share of extensions and while some of them are unique, it would not be all to difficult to create them for Firefox as well.

The same cannot be said however for certain Firefox extensions as Google Chrome limits the capabilities of extensions far more than Mozilla's browser.

This article offers a list of popular and powerful add-ons for the Firefox browser that will never be available for other browsers unless the company behind the browser improves the extension engine first.

I encourage you to leave comments below to mention additional extensions that are unique to the Firefox browser.

Unique Firefox extensions

Only extensions compatible with the current stable version of Firefox, that is 35 at the time of writing, are listed. You will also only find add-ons listed here that offer a unique feature that cannot be replicated by other browsers and especially Google Chrome.

Some lesser known browsers may support one or the other feature though.

Private Tab

private tab

Private Tab - While most browsers support private or incognito modes, these are usually implemented as separate windows only.

This means that you will work with two windows, one regular and one private, which is not very comfortable. While you could theoretically only work in private browsing windows, it is not comfortable either depending on how you use the Internet.

Private Tab for Firefox allows you to switch any tab in the browser to a private one.

NoScript

noscript

I have to admit that I'm not certain on this one. NoScript is a Firefox security extension that blocks all scripts from being executed by default among other things.

Last time I read about the possibility of bringing this to Chrome, the author of NoScript stated that Chrome was not providing the functionality needed to make it happen.

Tile Tabs or Tile View

tile tabs

These two extensions allow you to tile the browser window to display multiple websites in a single tab. You can tile them as often as you like and get extensive options to customize the layout and save it as well.

Tile View and Tile Tab are both available on the Mozilla Add-ons repository.

Status-4-Evar

status bar

Status-4-Evar was designed initially to bring back the old status bar of Firefox that Mozilla replaced with the add-ons bar in Firefox 4.

Today, it can do a lot more than that but one of its features is to display a status bar in Firefox that you can add icons to again.

Hide Tab Bar with One Tab

hide-tab-bar

Why display a tab bar if you only display a single tab in Firefox? If you like to browse one tab at a time there is no need to display a tab bar. This can also be useful for kiosk displays or presentations.

Hide Tab Bar with One Tab hides Firefox's tab bar automatically if there is only one tab open in the browser.

All-in-One Sidebar

all-in-one sidebar

All-in-One Sidebar extends Firefox's native sidebar with additional features and options. The default sidebar can be used to display bookmarks or the browsing history.

The extension adds to that Downloads, add-ons, page info and the error console, and lets you switch between those options quickly.

Tab Mix Plus

multi row tabs

Tab Mix Plus is one of Firefox's most popular extensions. It adds lots of features to the browser, too many to list here.

One feature that is unique is that it can enable a multi-row tab bar in Firefox to spread tabs across multiple rows instead of using a scrollbar to display them.

Lightbeam for Firefox

mozilla lightbeam

The browser extension Lightbeam visualizes connections between web servers and sites that you visit in the browser. The most recent version comes with options to block resources right away in the browser.

Tree Style Tab

tree style tab

Tree Style Tab adds vertical tab management to Firefox. It uses sidebar space to display all tabs open in the browser.

The advantage of this method is that you can display more tabs at the same time that display more information compared to horizontal tabs.

FEBE

febe

FEBE, which stands for Firefox Environment Backup Extension, allows you to backup all Firefox extensions with a single click.

Additionally, you may use it to backup custom data such as bookmarks, cookies, search plugins or userChrome files.

Theme Font & Size Changer

firefox theme font changer

Use the extension to change the global font size and style of the Firefox user interface. If text is too hard to read, increase its size to improve its readability. Need more space? Decrease the text size.

Now You: Did I miss an add-on? Lets hear about it in the comments below.

Summary
These powerful extensions make Firefox unique
Article Name
These powerful extensions make Firefox unique
Description
The article lists extensions and add-ons that are only available to Firefox and cannot be replicated by other browsers.
Author

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Comments

  1. streger said on February 9, 2015 at 9:48 pm
    Reply

    Hi,
    Just wanted to add one more powerful and useful extension that is Firefox exclusive… TableTools2 … https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tabletools2/

    Enjoy!

  2. Karl Gephart said on February 9, 2015 at 10:10 pm
    Reply

    Yep, I use almost every add-on you mention, which is why you can’t beat Firefox as a desktopp browser! :)

    1. interstellar said on February 10, 2015 at 4:58 pm
      Reply

      Yep!
      Use almost ALL of them
      in the Pale Moon browser 25.2.1.

      All work just fine! …100%.

      My only “non-working” exception:
      the “Tree Style Tab” addon.
      The tabs tree does not show up at all.

      Tried everything,
      had to immediately UNinstall the “Tree Style” addon.

      Maybe it’s a conflict
      with the really great “All-in-1-Sidebar” addon?
      (I’m not giving “All-in-1-Sidebar” up! Love it!).

      Thanks for this great post!
      my config:
      – Pale Moon 25.2.1 and FF 35
      – Ubuntu Linux 12.04 (32-bit)
      – Samsung Tablet Galaxy Tab 3 (10.1″) / Android 4.2.2

      1. Anonymous said on February 13, 2015 at 11:08 am
        Reply

        i use tree style tabs with tabmix and all-on-one sidebar. works good.

  3. Tommy said on February 9, 2015 at 10:32 pm
    Reply

    Been using Blank Your Monitor + Easy Reading extension for years originally made for use on CRT monitors but it works just fine on any, you can easily change page back ground/text/link/vlink to any colours, the default is white text on black.It also has easy read just highlight the text select the Easy Read entry in the context menu opens the text in new tab enlarged in the colour combo you set. It’s good but may still have quirks if you decide to uninstall it make sure it’s OFF first! also it may hide certain page elements in use.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/blank-your-monitor-easy-readin/

  4. Dwight Stegall said on February 9, 2015 at 10:50 pm
    Reply

    Yeah it’s great for that reason. But it is so slow on this Windows 8.1 computer I had to switch to Chrome.

  5. silat said on February 9, 2015 at 11:36 pm
    Reply

    A few others:
    Classic Theme Restorer
    Menu Wizard
    Stay Open Menu
    Tab Grenade
    Fastest Search – Fabulous :)
    ScrapBook X
    Go Parent Folder (use with “Show parent folder” and “Sidebar Bookmarks Search Plus”)
    Session Manager

  6. dszady said on February 9, 2015 at 11:40 pm
    Reply

    Tab Mix Plus is always the first extension I install. I’d go nuts without it.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-mix-plus/?src=search

    Youtube Center: Now I can’t stand Youtube without it.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/firefox/addon/youtube-center/

    Simple Timer because I’m anal about the time.
    https://sites.google.com/site/mysimpletimer/

  7. Oxa said on February 9, 2015 at 11:41 pm
    Reply

    The Hide Tab Bar with One Tab add-on is completely unnecessary in Firefox. All you have to do to get this functionality is to uncheck “Always show the tab bar” in Firefox’s tab options.

  8. Tommy said on February 9, 2015 at 11:52 pm
    Reply

    Oxa
    That option was removed in Firefox 23 if your still on a version before that, i hope you have good AV!

    1. SCBright said on February 11, 2015 at 1:13 am
      Reply

      Using Firefox 35.01 and these options are still there.

  9. Woolyss said on February 10, 2015 at 12:32 am
    Reply

    For me one of the powerful extensions is Classic Theme Restorer because there is no equivalent on other browsers.

    You can’t customise Chrome, IE or Safari as easily as Firefox! ^^
    I dislike the Chrome-like UI. Chrome is Chrome and Firefox is Firefox. ;)

    1. fokka said on February 11, 2015 at 2:31 am
      Reply

      same here, i simply prefer my tabs rectangular, tyvm! :)

  10. Dave said on February 10, 2015 at 1:00 am
    Reply

    Something of a mixed bag there. I would have listed different extensions like DownloadThemAll, UnMHT and Zotero, since these are genuinely useful tools.

  11. Rodalpho said on February 10, 2015 at 1:26 am
    Reply

    You missed one– the reason why I personally still use Firefox. I would _love_ to switch to Chrome; I prefer the UI and I want the sandboxing. But I can’t, because of this one addon– Firegestures.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/firegestures/

    Chrome has no mouse gesture addon that works consistently on every page, first time every time and isn’t adware/trojaned. Believe me, I’ve tried them all. Every 6 months or so I go to the chrome web store and check for new mouse gestures addons. Nothing ever, EVER, competes with Firegestures. The best addon was Smoothgestures which went through two cycles of being adware/trojaned with no user notifications before being forked and (the clean fork) is now payware. And it sucks, because it doesn’t work consistently. And it’s the _best_!

    My mouse gesture needs (and they are non-negotiable needs) are quite simple. I don’t need a lot of features. I just need it to work. REALLY work.

    Unfortunately, I believe the “works every time” bit is actually a limitation in the Chrome addon architecture. Firefox’s extensions simply run at a lower-level. And this means that mouse gestures on Chrome will always suck, no matter what, forever. And I’ll never get a chance to switch.

  12. Otai said on February 10, 2015 at 3:23 am
    Reply

    Since 3 years ago using Chrome, never change to other browsers.

  13. Okm said on February 10, 2015 at 4:10 am
    Reply

    From author of uBlock there is noscript killer: µMatrix https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/%C2%B5matrix/ogfcmafjalglgifnmanfmnieipoejdcf

    µMatrix >>>>>>>>>>>>>> NoScript

  14. Molly said on February 10, 2015 at 4:47 am
    Reply

    These unique Firefox extensions are very handy for me as they make work so easy and i think this is why many people prefer firefox to other browsers.

  15. Ray said on February 10, 2015 at 5:53 am
    Reply

    – Auto focus URL bar (or equivalent) – I can’t find an equivalent on Chromium
    – BarTab (unload tabs based on a specific interval) – definitely unique to Firefox and I’m not talking based on startup only.
    – Self-Destructing Cookies – you could make a case that Tab Cookies for Chromium is a watered-down version of SDC, but I think this is still pretty unique to Firefox

  16. Boris said on February 10, 2015 at 6:38 am
    Reply

    FEBE and Status-4-Evar are outdated.

    I had only problems with FEBE during re-installations. Some parts just did not want to be restored or created complete mess with cookies. So for the last year or two I am just backing up the whole Firefox folder once a week. Way easier and definitely more useful. Just replace corrupted profile with good one that is week or two older and you are good to go.

    Status-4-Evar just not useful on new browser where 99% of extensions switched from statusbar to addonbar. And even with new options, old statusbar icons are bunched together. It is really difficult to place icons in proper places. So use AddonBarRestorer.

    1. interstellar said on February 10, 2015 at 5:39 pm
      Reply

      Would like to follow the above suggestion,
      (instead of using FEBE).

      But, under Linux (Ubuntu 12.04):

      – How / where do you find
      the “Firefox” folder?

      – Same question
      ref the “PaleMoon” folder,

      so I can back both folders up…

      Are they “hidden” folders?

      Thanks!
      – Pale Moon 25.2.1 and FF 35 browsers
      – Ubuntu Linux 12.04 (32-bit)
      – Samsung Tablet Galaxy Tab3 / Android 4.2.2

      1. Boris said on February 10, 2015 at 7:06 pm
        Reply

        I use Windows, So I do not know where Firefox folder is in Lunix. Maybe my suggestion is for Windows users only.

        Anyway on Windows. I am not sure if this is additional function of some extension or is is built in Firefox. I go to about:addons page. Right-click on any extension and choose “Browse Install Directory”. It opens Explorer window in one of subdirectories of current Firefox profile folder. In my case it is in
        “C:\Users\BorisF\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles”.
        Try if this works on Lunix.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 10, 2015 at 7:18 pm
        Reply

        If you want to open the Firefox profile folder, type about:support and click on the folder button near the top.

      3. Sven said on February 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm
        Reply

        On Ubuntu and other linux ditros the profiles should be under
        ~/.moonchild productions/pale moon
        ~/.mozilla/firefox

        ~ is your home folder (/home/), the . in front of the folder name indicates that the folder is hidden. In usual file managers these folders/files are not show by default, you can enable them by hitting CTRL+h.

      4. interstellar said on February 12, 2015 at 1:06 am
        Reply

        Thank you
        Martin, Boris & Sven
        for the quick and clear replies.

        All clear now!.
        Will start backing up
        both the FF and Pale Moon browser folders,
        following Boris’ suggestion (above),
        instead of relying on FEBE’s backups.

        It’s easy to backup with FEBE.

        But…
        I actually never had to “restore”
        FF or Pale Moon using FEBE.

        It seems to me that Boris’ solution
        is simpler and straightforward,
        in case of a browser restore is needed.

        Anybody else would like to share
        their browser “restore” experiences with FEBE?
        Is it reliable to restore?

        Or,
        do you backup/restore using Boris’ solution?

        What strategy has worked well for you?

  17. harsha said on February 10, 2015 at 7:52 am
    Reply

    Ublock (https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock) is a very powerful tool. It can be used as just general purpose blocker (ads and more), or as noscript/request policy like extension (it has support to import request policy rules)
    – It can be configured as default deny tool (https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Dynamic-filtering:-default-deny), to block the request preemptively with out ABP rules.

    1. harsha said on February 10, 2015 at 8:33 am
      Reply

      Small Correction: support of importing request Policy rules is incoming. Its in dev version..

    2. HansS said on February 11, 2015 at 4:39 pm
      Reply

      That’s what I’ve been looking for – thanks for your hint!

  18. Earl said on February 10, 2015 at 8:44 am
    Reply

    While there is a Stylish for Chrome (from the same developer as Stylish for Firefox), it’s a rather different and watered-down version compared to the Stylish provided for Firefox–due to those things which Chrome just does not allow users to do. There’s almost no pixel of Firefox’s chrome (“punny”?) which Stylish cannot “style” (similar to why Firefox has complete themes and Chrome has something more akin to Firefox’s lightweight themes [formerly know as “personas”]). Stylish can also modify elements which userChrome.css cannot, such as scrollbars, due to the way it can behave as “user agent” instead of just “user”. You could actually create a fairly complete theme just by using CSS within Stylish. And then there’s Gecko vs. WebKit…

  19. anon said on February 10, 2015 at 8:57 am
    Reply

    I’m sounding like a broken record here but it’s amazing that 80% of those are natively available in the old Opera without spending additional resources (old Opera is still very eficient in ram usage even compared to today’s FF). AND this is still missing features like feed reader and notes, deleting select link on url bar, enabling/disabling animated image, cache/no/show image, zoom toolbar, adding shortcut option like zoom toolbar on any bar.

    Damn.

  20. CGA said on February 10, 2015 at 9:49 am
    Reply

    Customize your web is essential for automating clicks and other stuff, I use it extensively at work.

  21. Dukislav said on February 10, 2015 at 9:57 am
    Reply

    Great article, very useful. Can you write something similar for Thundebird?

  22. juju said on February 10, 2015 at 10:28 am
    Reply

    Norwell transforms firefox orwelian history into normal history:
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/norwell/

  23. Womb Destroyer said on February 10, 2015 at 1:29 pm
    Reply

    What, exactly, is the difference between Tile Tabs and Tile View?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 10, 2015 at 1:39 pm
      Reply

      According to the author, Tile View’s interface is simpler. Other differences are that each tile acts as an independent browser, that tile activation and selection are independent actions, and that users need to switch explicitely between tiled and normal views.

  24. Bill said on February 10, 2015 at 3:09 pm
    Reply

    Prefbar (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/prefbar/). You can create all sorts of customised buttons, drop-down lists, checkboxes, etc to change Fx settings with a click. Replaces dozens of specialised add-ons that only tweak config parameters.

  25. NiHouMa said on February 10, 2015 at 3:15 pm
    Reply

    Https Everywhere and Privicy Badger of the EEF.

  26. exrelayman said on February 10, 2015 at 5:15 pm
    Reply

    Useful additions to the list: Dictionary Extension gives definition of selected word, Gmail Notifier provides an audible alert for new gmail, Google Reverse Image Search finds info and other copies of any image, Print Pages to pdf is a one click way to get a pdf copy of web page.

  27. SG said on February 10, 2015 at 5:16 pm
    Reply

    Add to Search Bar
    AutoCopy 2
    Better Wikipedia (WikiWand)
    Clear Cache Button
    CoLT
    Classic Theme Restorer
    Classic Toolbar Buttons
    Clippie
    Configuration Mania
    Copy Plain Text 2
    EverSync
    Firebug
    Flagfox
    Flashblock (?)
    FlipClock
    Google Shortcuts
    LastPass
    MeasureIt
    Menu Editor
    NewScrollbars
    PinImage
    Rumola 0.9
    Scroll To Top
    SEO Status PageRank/Alexa Toolbar
    Show my Password
    Speed Dial [FVD]
    Status 4 Evar
    Surfon
    Tab Mix Plus
    The Addon Bar (restored)
    Theme Font/Size Changer
    Toolbar Buttons
    Web Developer
    Yet Another Context Search
    Yet Another Smooth Scrolling

  28. Name said on February 10, 2015 at 8:42 pm
    Reply
  29. F557 said on February 11, 2015 at 2:59 pm
    Reply

    Hide Tab Bar with One Tab reminds me of very old versions of the most recognizable web browsers of today which by default show the tab bar if more than one bar is open.

    Save File To is very unique because I have found no other extensions for browsers that are not Firefox or its forks that allow for user-defined destinations via the context menu to download/save files to (and even allows renaming files to be downloaded).

    @Boris Status-4-Evar is still in active development; the most recent version as of this writing kills off support for non-Australis Firefox (and Pale Moon?). Your comment “FEBE is outdated” is not true at all.

    @dszady New versions of YouTube Center are available from its GitHub page. The last version of that extension on AMO as of this writing is 2.10. YouTube Center is also available as a userscript.

  30. alfie69 said on February 11, 2015 at 9:45 pm
    Reply

    for firefox i try to keep to the old format with the classic theme restorer, put my tabs back where i am used to ! and restore my favicons with favicon reloader

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/faviconreloader/?src=search

    wish that mozilla had the option to choose between layouts , rather than force us to adapt to their latest whims! and would be nice not to have to rely on multiple addons to undo things , many gratitudes to those addon devs!

  31. Tom W said on February 12, 2015 at 10:33 pm
    Reply

    Tree Style Tabs is a must-have for me, I’m also a big fan of FireGestures and UnloadTab

  32. mikef90000 said on February 13, 2015 at 1:23 am
    Reply

    I haven’t found a Chrome equivalent for the Mozilla Archive Format addon; it lets you capture entire web pages into an MHT or MAFF file like IE and Opera. Very useful complement to Bookmarks for viewing pages offline and to keep track of lower level pages. Mission critical!
    I’ve found a Stylish style (5546) that lets me fit many (15+) folders on the Bookmark toolbar, removes the redundant folder favicon. Mission critical!
    Why do most of the weather addons really, really suck? Fortunately, someone has fixed the great, highly customizable ForecastFox addon.
    Kudos to all of the addon devs that restore the functional pre-Australis look! Still need one that lets me change the color and look of ‘built in’ icons – I am NOT COLORBLIND, Mozilla. Must work on Linux version of FF. TIA!

  33. Bill said on March 17, 2015 at 8:54 pm
    Reply

    Colorful Tabs .. no Chrome equivalent that I’m aware of.

  34. LeeD said on April 27, 2015 at 5:21 am
    Reply

    One extension I really like is Textarea Cache. It has saved my bacon several times. If you type some text -and then lose it -if it disappears somehow -then you dont have to type it all over again. Textarea Cache saves it so all you have to do is click on it and you can copy your lost text. Actually there is another extension like this that does the same thing – Lazarus. It is just a matter of preference which one you like best.

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