The best Internet Explorer add-ins

No need to be jealous of Firefox's plug-ins, because you can get cool add-ins for IE, too.

A browser by itself is a poor thing, letting you browse the Web, but little else. To get the most out of the Web, you need add-ins that give your browser plenty of extra features.

Firefox is well known for its plug-ins, but there aren't as many available for Internet Explorer. Still, you needn't feel left out in the cold. In fact, there are plenty of add-ins for IE as well.

In this article, I'll clue you in to my favorite Internet Explorer add-ins. I'll ignore the obvious ones, such as the Google Toolbar, Yahoo Toolbar or Windows Live Toolbar, because you probably already know about them. Instead, I'll concentrate on lesser-known ones that do everything from killing annoying ads, to restoring crashed browsing sessions, to grabbing video from sites like YouTube and more. Better yet, everyone one of them is free.

Quero Toolbar

Tired of being besieged by ads, including exceedingly annoying Flash ads? Then you'll want the free Quero Toolbar, which includes a very good and customizable ad blocker. It will block just about any ad you'll come across, including banner ads, Flash animations and many others, including Google ads.

You can turn it on and off, of course, but better yet, you can customize it for individual sites, allowing ads from some sites and banning them from others. Better still, you can fine-tune it to a remarkable degree, for example, by allowing Google ads and banner ads from a particular site, but banning Flash animations.

There's more to the Quero Toolbar as well, including a nice inline search feature that jumps straight to text on a page as you type in a term, the ability to search for any word on a Web page by selecting and right-clicking it, and the ability to quickly resize windows. And plenty of included shortcut keys means that mouse-haters need to reach for their rodent less frequently than before.

IE7Pro

For an even more comprehensive add-in, including ad blocking and much more, get the free IE7Pro. It's a remarkable add-in and has features that rival the best of Firefox plug-ins.

Like the Quero Toolbar, it will block Flash ads as well as other ads, although it doesn't give you quite as many fine-grained controls over blocking or allowing specific kinds of ads on a site-by-site basis.

The program truly shines in the way it handles tabs, and this may be its best feature. If IE7 crashes for some reason -- and as we all know, there are plenty of reasons why it crashes -- the program will automatically restore all the tabs that were open at the time of the crash. You can also automatically reopen the last tab you've closed to display the site you were visiting when you closed it. And you can reopen tabs you closed before that as well.

This freebie has so many clever features that there's no way to list them all. Here's a simple but particularly useful one: You can have the program automatically scroll down a Web page at one of three speeds. It's great for when you're reading a long Web page and don't want to have to scroll manually. Just choose the speed, and it'll scroll for you. Similarly, you can have the program autorefresh your current tab, at any interval you chose.

There's plenty more as well, including a forms filler and a mouse gestures feature that lets you do things such as scroll up or down, close tabs and go forward or back by right-clicking the mouse and making a gesture with it.

This is clearly the best of the bunch -- it's staying in my browser.

Feeds Plus

The feed reader built into IE7 is one of its niftier features.

Make it even better with Feeds Plus, a free add-in built by members of Microsoft's RSS team. (Because Feeds Plus isn't an official Microsoft product, though, you won't get support.)

It adds a few nice features to IE7's RSS capabilities, including being able to read groups of feeds in a combined view, instead of one feed at a time. In addition, you can tell IE7 to notify you when there's new content in a feed -- the Feeds Plus tray icon will glimmer.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Preston Gralla

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?