Quix Adds Nearly 100 Shortcuts to Your Browser

Earlier this week I covered Instapaper, a Web-based service that lets you save articles for later reading. Today's Gem, Quix, is also Web-related, but its purpose is to add a bunch of convenient functionality to your Web browser itself.

We've covered many multi-function browser add-ons in Mac Gems, but what makes Quix unique is that it doesn't require you to install additional software and it won't slow down or otherwise adversely affect your browser--all of Quix's functionality is contained in a single JavaScript bookmarklet that works with all modern browsers.

To install Quix, you simply go to the Quix Website, drag the Quix App button to your browser's bookmarks bar, and give the new bookmark a name (say, Quix). To access Quix's features, you just click on that bookmark and type a command into the dialog that appears.

You've got a plethora of commands at your disposal: Quix's Help page lists nearly 100, organized into 10 categories such as basic, social media, WordPress, Webmaster, and URL shortening. (Conveniently enough, typing help in the Quix command box will take you to that Help page.)

For example, a few weeks ago, I covered a shortcut for Googling the current Website. Quix has just such a feature built in: Type gs [search term] to perform a Google search on the current site. Some of my other favorites from the "basic" category include:

# g: Google search

# w: Search Wikipedia

# a: Search Amazon.com

# nf: Search Netflix

# f: Search Flickr

# imdb: Search IMDB.com

# read: Process current page using Readability

# find: Highlight all instances of the search term on the current page

# img: Google image Search

# map: Look up in Google Maps

# d: Define word using Google's define: option

# dict: Define word using Google Dictionary

(This is a perfect opportunity to remind you of one of my favorite Safari features: The first nine bookmarks--not folders--in Safari's bookmarks bar, starting from the left, can be opened by pressing Command+1, Command+2, Command+3, and so on, respectively. So if you place your Quix bookmarklet in, say, the second position from the left, you can activate Quix by pressing Command+2, making it even more convenient to use. Check out Quix's browsers page for similar tips for other browsers.)

If you've got an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, the fact that Quix is a JavaScript bookmarklet means that you can use all of Quix's features on the go by syncing your Safari bookmarks with your portable. Yes, you can even find words and phrases on a Web page while using your iPhone of iPad--one of the most glaring omissions of Mobile Safari.

You aren't stuck with Quix's stock commands, though. The developer provides a syntax guide for creating a custom commands file that includes any URL or JavaScript code you want Quix to be able to open or run. (The built-in commands file provides some good examples of command syntax, too.) Once you've created your commands file, you put it on the Web somewhere (for example, in your MobileMe Sites folder), enter the file's URL on the Extend Quix page, and then drag the new Quix bookmarklet, which now includes your commands, to your bookmarks bar.

Quix's biggest drawback is that it can be tough to remember all your favorite commands--you'll likely find yourself visiting the Help page often, at least at first. But even if you remember only a handful of those commands, Quix is sure to be a convenient enhancement to your Web browser.

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