For many of us, the Web is a great research and learning tool.
It can be hard to make the most of it, though, as when we encounter an unfamiliar term or a concept that we want to follow up on, it can be a pain to navigate away from our tab. QuickWiki is a great extension for Firefox that makes it easy to stay focused, letting you right-click any word or phrase to bring up a definition from Wiktionary or an entry from Wikipedia. Here's how to use it:
The next time you spot a word that hasn't quite made it into your vocabulary, select it, then either hold down Shift while right-clicking it or just right-click it and then select "QuickWiki" from the context menu. If it's in Wiktionary, you should see a definition pop up right away. Click anywhere on your tab to kill the pop-up.
If you want more information, you can select a term, then either hold down the Ctrl key wile right-clicking or right-click for the QuickWiki menu. The Wikipedia search is a bit trickier than the Wiktionary search, as the term must be a precise match to yield any results.
If you're inspired to look up something that's not actually written on your page, you can press Ctrl-space to bring up a small search window. Enter your term, then press Enter for Wiktionary or Ctrl-Enter for Wikipedia.
You may want to explore the QuickWiki options to change appearance, language, or hot keys. Click the Firefox menus button in the top left, then Add-ons, then select the Extensions tab, then click "Options."
That's all there is to it. This is great for students and anyone who's easily distracted, and should keep users better informed without cluttering up the desktop.