10 Browser-Boosting Downloads

Internet Explorer Add-Ons

When it comes to add-ons, Firefox gets all the publicity, but Internet Explorer has some very good ones as well. We've chosen two of our favorites for you.

CloudBerry TweetIE

If you're a Twitter user, and you frequently send tweets that include excerpts from Web pages you visit, you'll like CloudBerry TweetIE. Given the simplicity of Twitter, you'd expect this Internet Explorer add-on to be simple to use as well--and you'd be right. After you install it and then tell Internet Explorer to treat it as a toolbar, it displays as a small button. Click it to log in to Twitter. Then, when you find text on a Web page that you'd like to send via Twitter, copy the text to the Clipboard--it pastes into CloudBerry TweetIE, along with the URL. You can then edit the text and send it as a tweet. It's that simple.

The creators also have a version for Firefox, but when I tried to install that software, it refused to cooperate. The Firefox add-on is listed as experimental, too, so at this point I can't recommend trying that version. Let's hope the problems are fixed soon.

Download CloudBerry TweetIE | Price: Free

IESpell

These days you perform all sorts of text-related tasks in your browser that you previously did in a word processor or another application with a spelling checker. You might use a Web-based e-mail service such as Gmail, for example. You may write a blog. And you certainly fill out forms.

That means there are plenty of chances for you to make yourself look foolish by spelling words incorrectly. And the problems stemming from incorrect spelling can go beyond embarrassment--say, if you're filling out a job application or sending a cover letter.

The problem, of course, is that most browsers don't have built-in spelling checkers. IESpell solves the problem for Internet Explorer users. It integrates right into the browser, and makes checking the spelling of anything inside the browser a snap. It includes all the features you'd expect in a spelling checker, including the ability to add words to a dictionary, and the option to ignore certain words.

Download IESpell | Price: Free

A Cross-Browser Add-On

Here's one final selection, designed for anyone who uses more than one browser. We've saved the best for last, too, because this download may be the best browser booster anywhere.

Xmarks

If you use more than one browser, more than one computer, or more than one operating system, the free Xmarks browser add-on is probably the best add-on you can find. Although it does a lot of nifty things, at its most basic level it synchronizes your bookmarks among all your browsers, no matter what computer they're on or what operating system the machines use. (If you're interested only in Mozilla's take on bookmark syncing, see Mozilla Weave Sync.)

I'm a perfect example of someone who finds Xmarks invaluable. I use Firefox and Internet Explorer on my main Windows computer, Firefox on a Linux PC, Firefox and Internet Explorer on a laptop, and Safari and Firefox on a Mac. As you might imagine, trying to keep all of their bookmarks synchronized would be an impossible task--except that's exactly what Xmarks does. You can find versions for Firefox and Internet Explorer on Windows, for Firefox on Linux, and for Firefox and Safari on the Mac.

Simply run Xmarks along with your browser, and it synchronizes not just your bookmarks but also your passwords, so you can log in to your favorite sites from any browser you use. And since all of that information is backed up to a server too, you can be sure it will never disappear.

You'll find a lot more, such as the ability to get detailed information about any site you visit. But that's just the extras. Synchronization is what this browser add-on is all about, and it does a superb job.

You may have heard about this add-on before, when it was called Foxmarks. But no matter what you call it, it's a must-have.

Download Xmarks | Price: Free

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