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One Firefox Toolbar to Rule Them All

One Firefox Toolbar to Rule Them All
One Firefox Toolbar to Rule Them All

If you’re like me, the first thing you started doing when you downloaded the Firefox browser was start customizing the look and feel to suit yourself.

Since then I have continually made changes, added new extensions and improvements that I thought would improve my productivity.

A goal early on was putting everything that I used into one toolbar so to maximize screen space. Here is what I’ve done so I only look at one toolbar and the tab bar [plus status bar].

firefox customize menu

The Menu Bar

This is where you want all your stuff – because it’s the toolbar you can’t remove through Firefox’s Customize utility. All the others can be hidden from view.

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Right-click on the toolbar, hit Customize and start moving everything you want to the Menu bar. Leave the Google Search box. It’s extensively useless if you use Smart Keywords in the location bar to carry out searches on web pages.

Get Google Toolbar and move anything you actually use into your Menu toolbar. If you like to see the PageRank of all the sites you visit, you can move the meter to the Menu bar.

If you want to access webpages from your toolbar, drag the ‘double pages’ icon from the Bookmarks toolbar. This will put anything you bookmark to the ‘Bookmarks Toolbar’ to this area. When adding a bookmark to the ‘Bookmark Toolbar’, remove the title so only it’s favicon is shown.

firefox bookmarks toolbar customize button

If you use the Web Developer Toolbar, only drag the icons you use regularly and leave the rest. These buttons have drop-down menus to quickly access the stuff you use the most.

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Add any other buttons for extensions you use regularly.

Saving Space

The most important thing about using only one toolbar is maximizing the space you’re using. The first step is only adding buttons you use regularly and need to use as buttons. If you are happy doing the same thing with a keyboard shortcut or a smart keyword, then don’t bother so much with the button.

Remove what you don’t use. Use the Escape key instead of a button. F5 to refresh. Get MileWideBack to navigate back and forth between pages.

Custom Buttons

With this extension I found two great ‘custom buttons’ that save me the most space.

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The first is Compact Menu. This compiles all of the menus into one expandable icon. If I need to, it’s there and easy to navigate. Get more here.

firefox menu bar

Other Extensions

Stop/Reload Button – Combines the Stop and Reload buttons so only one is showing at any given time.

Menu Editor – You might want to have occasional access to certain buttons. Use Menu Editor to trim your Context Menu to what you use.

UI Tweaker – This extension provides some handy hacks to slim down your toolbar. Anything from removing the Go button to only allowing favicons in your Bookmarks Toolbar.

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Auto Hide – With this plugin you can customize what exactly happens when you put Firefox into fullsceen mode. Hit F11 and you can rig it so only your Menu bar and the status bar are showing. Also you can tell Firefox exactly which existing toolbars you want to be visible when you come out of fullscreen mode.

This means you can surf in fullscreen mode with only one toolbar, but if you want to quickly access other toolbars – even a secondary customized version on the Navigation Toolbar – all you need to do is hit F11.

Customization

There’s not much to it other than figuring out what you like and what you use the most. Firefox is too customizable to use stock. Keep hacking it for productivity.

firefox logo

More by this author

Craig Childs

Craig is an editor and web developer who writes about happiness and motivation at Lifehack

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Last Updated on May 14, 2019

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

8 Replacements for Google Notebook

Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

  1. Zoho Notebook
    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
  2. Evernote
    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
  3. Net Notes
    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
  4. i-Lighter
    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
  5. Clipmarks
    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
  6. UberNote
    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
  7. iLeonardo
    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
  8. Zotero
    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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