10 slick and cool IE extensions

10 slick and cool IE extensions

There are certainly enough critics who throw rocks at IE, but we're taking the high road and looking at how users can dress up the old girl with an array of extensions for corporate users, developers and those who just want to have some fun. With add-ons to IE, users can extend the application in new and productive ways.


What it is: Sure there's lots of information on the Web, but sometimes you just want to keep those little nuggets you find on your system for safe keeping. Surfulater lets you permanently save selected text, images, and complete Web pages, then edit, annotate, cross-reference, organize, and search for information in your offline personal and portable knowledge base.

Why you should use it: Ever find a dead link in your Favorites folder? Or discover a piece of information has been moved onto the "subscription only" part of a Web site?

Where to get it: www.surfulater.com


What it is: Microsoft's cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in that supports rich interactive applications for the Web.

Why you should use it: The "Flash Killer" brings multi-media to Web sites, which can be important for some corporate applications. But many think Silverlight looks best when viewing Major League Baseball games or NBA contests (after work hours, of course).

Where to get it: www.microsoft.com/silverlight/install.aspx#4_0

Inline Search

What it is: You type and it listens using a while-you-type search within the currently displayed Web page. Users have the option to highlight all occurrences of their search terms.

Why you should use it: IE search is as clunky as that old Commodore 64 hanging in the rafters of your parent's garage. Firefox users have loved this feature for years and now IE users don't have to do without.

Where to get it: www.ieforge.com/InlineSearch/HomePage

Greasemonkey for IE

What it is: Won't change the oil in your car, but will allow users to change the behavior of a Web page by adding bits of "user scripts." In much the same way Cascading Style Sheets let users control a Web page's style, user scripts control any aspect of the page's design or interaction.

Why you should use it: Puts you at the controls and lets savvy users write scripts to customize Web pages. Hundreds of pre-built scripts to choose from including adding multiple search engines to Google or ensuring all URLs are shown as clickable links.

Where to get it: www.gm4ie.com/scripts.htm l


What it is: If seeing is believing then this toolbar is for you. It inserts preview images (in a thumbnail format) into the results gathered via Google and Yahoo search engines.

Why you should use it: A picture is worth a thousand words even on the Internet and they don't take up as much space. The visual representation is another time-saving way to filter search results.

Where to get it: ackroyd.de/googlepreview-ie/


What it is: This add-on to IE, which adds a button to the toolbar, spell checks text that a user types into fields on Web-based forms.

Why you should use it: Sure you already have built-in spell check in your Web application, but this one works locally (and faster) and you can store and use personal word lists across all applications, instead of maintaining separate ones on each application.

Where to get it: www.iespell.com


What it is: User controls almost any media player and can find lyrics, covers, videos, bios and more with a single click within the browser.

Why you should use it: Digital music should also include all the information you need about the artist. FoxyTunes supports 18 media players, displays currently playing track information and automatically launches your player when needed.

Where to get it: www.foxytunes.com


What it is: Lets Web developers analyze and troubleshot Web sites by viewing HTTP/HTTPS headers, cookies, GET queries and POST data. Also shows unencrypted data sent over HTTPS/SSL connections.

Why you should use it: It's not all about the end-user. Those that develop Web sites need tools to check under the covers and flush out the monsters.

Where to get it: www.iewatch.com

IE7 Open Last Closed Tab

What it is: Gives users a keyboard shortcut to restore a browser tab after it has been closed (either on purpose or by accident).

Why you should use it: Now who hasn't said, "I shouldn't have done that," after watching a browser disappear off the screen following a misguided or not-well-thought-out mouse maneuver? Also, includes aggregated list of thumbnails showing Web pages that have been closed.

Where to get it: www.muvextoe.com/download.php

IE Sessions

What it is: Stores your IE browser sessions so you never lose your place.

Why you should use it: Everyone knows about favorites, but this takes it a step further. Like a bookmark, save the current state of all open windows/tabs in a file and copy it to a thumb drive or online storage or even e-mail to yourself, and you can pick up where you left off on any computer. Invaluable when doing research.

Where to get it: www.windowsmarketplace.com/details.aspx?view=info&itemid=3343000

We want to hear from YOU!

What it is: You tell us. Given the number of add-ons for IE surely we missed a couple.

Why you should do this: Trumpet yourself as an IE trend setter.

Where to get it: You tell us!