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Supercharge Your Firefox Browsing With Icons

smartbookmarks1One way to streamline your Firefox browsing experience is to move away from using the dropdown boomarks menu, and instead use the bookmarks toolbar.  To streamline the experience even further, and to fit more bookmarks on the toolbar, you can modify the toolbar so that the sites you frequently visit are accessible by a row of site icons (known as "favicons") across the toolbar.  There are two Firefox plugins to help you accomplish this.

bookmarksbarnormal Normally, the bookmarks toolbar displays a horizontal list of bookmark icons and names, as seen in the above screenshot.  The Smart Bookmarks Bar plugin allows you to hide the bookmark  names, and display only the bookmark favicons.  The plugin’s options allow you to customize the display behavior, such as whether your bookmarks’ names will display (i.e. expand) on  mouseover of the icon, and how much spacing exists between bookmarks.  The finished result will look something like the image below.  It may seem like it would be difficult to remember what all of the icons represent, but I was able to get accustomed to the icons in no time at all. bmbaricons Some websites don’t have favicons, while other sites on your bookmarks bar might share the same icon (for example, some of the various Google services).  That is where another Firefox plugin, Favicon Picker, comes in handy.  Favicon Picker allows you to change a site’s default favicon, or even add a favicon to a site that doesn’t have one.  This requires you to actually have an icon that you want to use.  I will typically find an image that is in the public domain, resize it to 16 x 16 pixels, and then save it to a folder on my computer.  Favicon Picker allows you to browse to the icon, and select it as the default favicon in your bookmark bar.  The plugin supports many image formats, such as jpg, gif, png, and bmp, and also supports .ico files. bmbarfull The end result, for me at least, is a much tidier browsing experience.  I’m still much more of a mouse user than a keyboard user, so this also speeds up my browsing. How about you?  Do you have any tools that you use to speed up finding your links?