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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.

Integration with Instapaper, Google Reader and Gmail

Instapaper is a free service that lets you save articles and other web pages for future reading, optionally formatting them into a easy-to-read format similar to a newspaper ('instant paper', get it?). Instapaper offers a simple 'Read Later' button you can add to Safari's Bookmarks bar; if you're on a page you want to read or review later, just click the button to save the page to your Instapaper account.

But an even better option is the InstapaperIt extension from ElasticThreads. InstapaperIt not only lets you save the page you're currently on to your Instapaper account (just click the 'I' button to the left of the address bar), it also lets you save linked pages for later.

To save a linked page, right-click the link and select 'Send Link to Instapaper'. Alternatively, you can set a hot key; press the hot key as you click a link, and the linked page will be saved to your Instapaper account.

It's a great timesaver for business travellers, commuters or web researchers who want to compile several articles to read all at once at a convenient time. It can also be handy for people who have spotty Internet service or perhaps nasty weather headed their way. Take the Internet and save it.

Instapaper Beyond
This extension from Brett Terpstra adds keyboard-based navigation when you're browsing your Instapaper account. You can navigate through bookmarks and folders, view bookmarked pages on their original site or in Instapaper's Text view, or archive pages and send them to other services like Evernote and Delicious. When installed, simply press the 'h' key while logged into Instapaper for a full list of keyboard commands.

Add to Google Reader
This extension from Rob Wilkerson does exactly what it says: It adds the RSS feed for the current site to your Google Reader account via a toolbar button.

This one's a great companion to the above extension. Rafeed Chaudhury's GReader displays the unread count of your Google Reader account in a toolbar button - and clicking that button takes you immediately to your Google Reader home page.

Gmail Checker
Much like GReader, LifeFromBelow.com's Gmail Checker displays the current unread message count of your Gmail inbox via a toolbar button - and clicking the button takes you to your Gmail account.

The main toolbar has buttons for multiple extensions: Shortenz Linkz, AdBlock, InstapaperIt, Duplicate Tab, Exposer, Translate and GReader. Below are the Twitter and Widgets bars.

NEXT PAGE: Final thoughts

  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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