Firefox has a neat feature: you can add additional icons to the web browser’s icon bar!
By default, the icon bar is very limited. The default configuration includes only the Back button, the Forward buttonn (not email, Forward as in, after you’ve used the Back button), the Reload button, the Stop button and the Home button.
Notice how sparse the icon bar is in the image below (plus, the Back, Forward and Stop buttons are grayed–out at this point).
Firefox can do so much more. In the icon bar of my normal Firefox web browser, I have five additional icons. Three of these are available in Firefox 3, while the other two are part of add-ons for Firefox.
The three that are available as part of the standard Firefox 3 web browser are first, second and last ones indicated with the red arrows. The first icon will open a new web browser window. The second opens a new tab in the current window.
The last one is a Print icon — and, better than Internet Explorer’s Print icon, this one opens the Print dialog box (if you have multiple printers, this is a valuable feature).
The third and fourth icons are for the Web Developer toolbar and for the StumbleUpon toolbar (www.stumbleupon.com).
Note the word "toolbar" on both of those icons. Rather than doing a specific function themselves, these become one-click buttons to open or close their respective toolbars.
Of course, I could open and close them with the main menu bar View > Toolbars > StumbleUpon toolbar and with View > Toolbars > Web Developer toolbar, but these buttons make the process so much easier for frequent changes.
Above is the view with those two icons unclicked. The image below shows the Web Developer and StumbleUpon toolbars clicked and in view. Note that the order of the icons in the icon bar has nothing to do with the order of the toolbars themselves — the StumbleUpon toolbar is above the Web Developer toolbar.
So, how do you add icons to the Firefox toolbar?
As a prerequisite, the icon has to be available in Firefox or in a Firefox Add-on that you have installed.
Then, it’s simple…
First, you right-click on any icon on the Firefox icon bar. That will get you a short pop-up Context menu. Select "Customize.." from the Context menu.
That will open the Firefox dialog box that shows the icons you have available to add to any icon bar.
Notice the text in the dialog box. It says "You can add o remove items by dragging to or from the toolbars.
Now, see the History and Bookmarks sidebar icons on the Firefox icon bar, after I dragged and dropped them there.
Can I add these icons to any Firefox toolbar bar?
Not really. In the image below, we see that the toolbars that do not accept additional icons are represented, but are not opened. For example, you can not add icons to the Bookmarks Toolbar or to the StumbleUpon toolbar.
On the other hand, when an Add-on places icons in the Customize Toolbar dialog box, you can use them on other toolbars, not just the toolbar that added them.
The Web Developer toolbar used to be a fixed format toolbar. When the format changed to use the new drag-and-drop icons, upon installation or upgrade from a previous version of the Web Developer toolbar…the toolbar was blank! It took me a while to realize that all of the WD icons were in the dialog box and all that I needed to do was drag and drop them.
Once you click the Done button on the Customize Toolbar dialog box, the toolbars display fully again.
Normally, I have the Web Developer toolbar and the StumbleUpon toolbar hidden, so that I have more screen space for web site content. The icon bar buttons give me easy access to those toolbars.