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The 30 best Safari extensions - so far

How to customise your Apple web browser

Apple began following in the footsteps of Firefox and Chrome this summer, by allowing developers to create extensions for its Safari 5 web browser. Here's our pick of the 30 best add-ons.

Duplicate Tab Button
This extension from Thiemo adds a button to create a new tab with the same web page displayed as in the current tab - useful if you want to keep a site open and still be able to surf away. You can also designate whether the new tab is a background or foreground tab by default in the extension's preferences. It's a useful addition to Safari's built-in ability to open links in new tabs by right-clicking or by holding the Command key down while clicking.

Widgets Bar
This extension from Amberlight installs a bar below the address and bookmarks bars that can provide a variety of information - current weather, date/time, various world clocks and an RSS feed in a news ticker format. (You can customise the display in the extension's preferences.) While it duplicates the functionality of some Mac OS X Dashboard widgets, it does so in an always-visible format.

Ultimate Status Bar
Safari's built-in status bar (at the very bottom of the browser window) is rather Spartan, showing you destination URLs for web links and page-download status and not much else. Interclue's Ultimate Status Bar offers more functionality and customisation. When you roll over links on a web page, the Ultimate Status Bar can show you favicons (if available) for the destination web pages, expanded URLs of shortened links, and file sizes for non-Web-page links such as PDFs, compressed content or disk images.

If you have Safari set to display its default status bar, the Ultimate Status Bar appears just above it; if you toggle Safari's status bar off, Ultimate Status Bar replaces it. The bar can be customized using various colour themes, and it automatically disappears when not in use.

Productive computer users know that the less often you have to shift your hands from the keyboard to the mouse, and vice versa, the more efficiently you can work. KeyStroke from solusHex enables a range of keyboard shortcuts in Safari, allowing you to scroll up and down, return to a previous page, zoom in and out, and perform other functions using single keys (such as 'j' and 'k' to scroll down and up, respectively - a shortcut familiar to Gmail and Google Reader users). You can reassign each function to any key you like if the defaults don't make sense to you.

If you're more comfortable with the mouse than the keyboard, you might prefer Kai Straßmann's MouseGestures extension. It lets you assign actions such as "back" and "close tab" to four gestures (up, down, left and right) you make with your mouse.

To trigger a gesture, hold down the mouse button you designate in the options (typically the right or middle button) and sweep the mouse up, down, left or right. You can execute common navigational functions much more quickly with a gesture, so you can focus on getting your work done.

NEXT PAGE: Privacy and security

  1. Apple follows in Mozilla and Google's footsteps
  2. Beyond the Extensions Gallery
  3. More tab, toolbar and navigation tweaks
  4. Privacy and security
  5. Blocking annoyances
  6. More social networking add-ons
  7. Reference, search, translation and more
  8. Instapaper, Google Reader and Gmail
  9. Final thoughts

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