Customise Internet Explorer 7 to the way you work with add-ons - and most are free too.
Review Date: 14 Mar 2007
Reviewed By: Davey Winder
Price when reviewed:
While Firefox has enjoyed a healthy plug-in community for several years, Internet Explorer has lagged behind somewhat. That's set to change with the arrival of IE7 and the www.ieaddons.com website, though. There are 400 downloadable extensions for IE7 users, although with many coming at a cost, it's best to choose wisely.
The latest Firefox release has a spellchecker as one of its core features, so it's good to see IE7 catch up at last. ieSpell is free for personal use and integrates with Microsoft Office's proofing tools, including bi-directional use of your existing custom dictionary. It doesn't actually require Office to work, though, and uses both UK and US dictionaries. Ultimately, it isn't quite as good as the Firefox checker, which highlights spelling errors on-the-fly, but until something better arrives, it's an essential download.
IE7pro is another free add-on that attempts to address the gap between Internet Explorer and Firefox. With an emphasis on ease of use, security and customisation, it does a pretty good job. Highlights include the ability to double-click and close a tab, Opera-style mouse gestures (waggle your mouse to perform an action), saving the whole web page to an image and a basic ad blocker. But our favourite function has to be the Firefox-alike session crash recovery that can get you right back to where you were. With support for Vista too, it comes highly recommended.
LinkStash is a commercial add-on, but comes with a 30-day evaluation period. It's also the last bookmark manager you'll ever need. Supporting Opera and Firefox bookmarks, as well as IE7, all your Favorites are kept in a single Explorer-style format. Every bookmark has a field for comments (and automatic website password control), plus ratings and colour highlight labelling - you can also open it from within IE7 tabs. With all your bookmarks in one file, it makes backup and synchronisation between computers much easier. It saves space as well: 500 bookmarks that would use 2MB in IE require only 70KB with LinkStash.
Ad Muncher is another of the commercial add-ons available for IE7, but having used it for a few weeks we soon forgot about that - just like we forgot about website adverts. The ad-blocking market is a crowded one, but Ad Muncher has been seven years in development and it shows. It's hugely customisable, will remove pop-ups, pop-unders, embedded adverts, audio, Flash, background images, prevent auto-bookmarking, prevent web-bug tracking and all the time leave small, inoffensive text-only adverts alone (unless you want it to remove them as well).
For even the most casual web developer, the Microsoft-developed IE Developer Toolbar is another essential. One click opens up a toolbar occupying the bottom third of your screen, from where you can manipulate, explore and further understand any web page you visit. From modifying the Document Object Model (DOM) to locating specific elements of the page, you can view HTML object class names, link paths and tab index values. You can validate HTML, CSS, WAI and RSS, display image dimensions and file sizes, and even instantly resize IE to any given window size. Whether you're just curious to learn more about web coding, need to troubleshoot a page or ensure your site meets accessibility requirement, the IE Developer Toolbar brings it all together in a single download.
Author: Davey Winder
- Raspberry Pi unveils HTML5-optimised browser
- Apple and FBI "actively investigating" celeb photo hack
- Swatch Touch smartwatch in development
- Did iCloud flaw lead to celeb photo hack?
- Microsoft refuses to hand over customer emails
- Apple signs up credit-card companies for NFC payments
- Apple bans developers from selling your health data
- Intel unveils eight-core Haswell-E CPU
- Forget robot butlers: meet Fuji Xerox's robot printer
- Wing it: Google's drone delivery revealed
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Best of IFA 2014: what smartphones, tablets, smartwatches are expected to launch at IFA this year?
- How to uninstall a program on Windows: remove unwanted apps from your PC
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- What’s the best 4G network in the UK?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- How to access iCloud on a PC
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office