Three productivity-enhancing Firefox add-ons

Use your keyboard to follow links, copy plain text, and get the latest sports scores in your browser.

I'll save us both some time by getting right to the descriptions of three Firefox add-ons that shave minutes off my workday. Hey, they add up!

Navigate Web pages using only your keyboard.
When it comes to speed, I'll take a keyboard over a mouse any day of the week. A post from April 2008 explains how to create a keyboard-shortcut list you can access quickly. I also wrote about using your keyboard to move and resize windows and shortcuts for Word and Excel .

Now I can park the mouse when I surf. Instead of clicking, I enter the number Rudolf Noe's Mouseless Browsing add-on places next to each link. If I want to put the cursor in the address bar, I enter 0, while pressing 00 puts the cursor in the search field. Each open tab gets a number, each text box on the page gets a number, each drop-down menu gets a number. (I just wish the bookmark toolbar options and the reload, stop, and home buttons did.)

Mouseless Browsing Firefox add-on
The Mouseless Browsing Firefox add-on assigns a number to each link and option on a Web page so you get there from the keyboard. Rudolf Noe

The program is loaded with options, including the ability to use only the numeric keypad to enter the numbers, so the top-row number keys aren't used to enter shortcuts. You can also require pressing the Enter key before the action occurs or change the delay between entering the numbers and taking the action.

Granted, the numbers can play havoc with a page's layout, but I can't count the number of times I've struggled to get the mouse pointer over just the right tiny link in a sea of tiny links. Being able to enter a number instead of clicking is a joy for this keyboard aficionado. (Warning: the add-on also slows your page-load speeds a bit.)

Finally! Copy Web text without the formatting.
I know how to create a keyboard shortcut that pastes plain text , but I didn't have the ability to copy and paste text from Web pages without the formatting until I downloaded Jeremy Gillick's aptly named Copy Plain Text add-on for Firefox. Just download the extension, restart Firefox, and when you copy text from a page, you'll see a Copy as Plain Text option just under the Edit menu's regular Copy option.

Copy Plain Text Firefox add-on
Copy Plain Text lets you do just that from Web pages in Firefox. Jeremy Gillick

You also get the Ctrl-Shift-C keyboard shortcut to copy the text without formatting. You can say what you want about one-trick ponies, but I only wish all software was this straightforward. Of course, Firefox could have this feature built in, but I'm not complaining.

The latest scores are a right-click away.
OK, I admit it. If I'm working late and missing a big game, I visit a sports site to check the scores. Now I save myself time by right-clicking Vinny 2020's SportsFox add-on, choose the sport, and see that yes, the Tigers dropped another one to the Bosox, and even worse, the Red Wings lost their second game of the Stanley Cup finals the the Penguins. (Might as well keep on working.)

SportsFox Firefox add-on
Get up-to-the-minute sports scores inside your browser with the SportsFox add-on. Vinny 2020

Now I'm going to enjoy some of the time these add-ons have saved me. Go Wings!

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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