Thorough thumbnails

Organize and quickly access your favorite Web sites with this useful program.

Anyone who's used Google Chrome for any period of time has likely encountered its "Most Visited" landing page, which displays thumbnails of your most visited Web pages for quick and easy access. Speed Dial is an extension for Firefox that mimics this feature of Chrome--sort of. Instead of displaying your most visited sites automatically, Speed Dial lets you create your own sets of thumbnails. It's a great way to organize your favorite sites and access them quickly.

The extension installed without issues but, like all Firefox extensions, required us to restart our browser. A small configuration screen popped up immediately, allowing us to select whether we wanted the extension to load in new windows and tabs and whether we wanted to enable dial groups. If you're not sure what to do here, don't worry; this screen can easily be accessed later. Speed Dial appears as a small icon to the right of Firefox's address bar, and clicking the icon brings up a surprisingly comprehensive set of menus for customizing the extension's appearance and behavior. Dial groups let you organize your favorite sites however you want; you might have a group for social networking, a group for news, a group for shopping, and so on. Each group can then be selected from a dropdown menu accessed from the Speed Dial icon. Once you've selected a group, Speed Dial will display a set of thumbnails representing each Web site in the group; to visit one, just click the thumbnail. The extension makes it very easy to reorder and otherwise customize the thumbnails. Speed Dial has so many features that a Help file would be useful, but its lack of one isn't a huge drawback; everything can be figured out with some experimentation. Overall, we like Speed Dial quite a bit; it's a unique and useful way to access your favorite sites.

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