Spinning a Better Web

The Secrets of Safari

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Extending Safari

Safari is a great browser all by itself, but third-party add-ons can help it do even more. Here are a few of our favorites. (You should find instructions for installing each add-on either on its developer’s Web site or in the disk image that accompanies the download.)

AcidSearch Improving on Safari’s search box, AcidSearch lets you choose from a number of search engines, instead of limiting you to Google. It even lets you add sites to the list of options. After you install AcidSearch, whenever you click on the magnifying-glass icon in Safari’s search box, the drop-down menu lets you specify which search engine you want to use. (It’ll stick with that one until you switch again.) There’s even a handy Google This Site option, which runs a Google search on just the site you’re currently browsing (free).

PDF Browser Plugin Safari 2.0 offers basic PDF-viewing features, and the latest version of Adobe Reader includes a PDF plug-in for most Web browsers. But if you view a lot of PDFs online, you’ll want to install PDF Browser Plugin. It provides multiple layout options; lets you view different parts of a PDF simultaneously; supports annotation, forms, tables of contents, and links; and offers additional PDF printing options (home, education, or noncommercial use, free; commercial site license, $69).

Add Engines The AcidSearch add-on lets you choose from a number of search sites in Safari.

PithHelmet Using PithHelmet, you can limit the number of ads you see, set a privacy level on cookies, and control how many times animated GIF images play. You can even customize PithHelmet’s ad-blocking rules to provide more or less protection ($10).

Safari Buttons Wish Safari had a New Tab button in its toolbar? Now it can. First, add the Bug button to Safari’s toolbar (via the View menu in Safari 1.X or via the Customize Address Bar dialog box in Safari 2.0) and then quit Safari. Now run the Safari Buttons installer. The next time you start Safari, that seldom-used Bug button will have become a useful New Tab button. You’ll also be rewarded with new keyboard shortcuts that enable and disable image-free browsing. (Web surfing is much faster when you don’t have to load pictures.) Just be sure to download the version of Safari Buttons that’s right for Safari 2.0 (free).

Safari Enhancer With Safari Enhancer installed, you’ll be able to remove underlines from hyperlinks (or change the color of links), disable caches, change the search engine used by Safari’s toolbar search box, and even switch Safari’s interface from brushed metal to Aqua. Be sure to download the version for Tiger; the developer also offers versions of Safari Enhancer for older versions of OS X and Safari (free).

SafariSource If you frequently view the source code of Web pages, SafariSource is a must-have: it adds syntax coloring to Safari’s source view, making it much easier to read. This is a little thing that makes a world of difference (free).

Saft Landing From this tabbed preference pane, Saft lets you customize more than 25 features, including mouse navigation and tab arrangement.

Saft The big kahuna of Safari add-ons, Saft has more than 25 features: It lets you scroll pages by holding down the control key and moving the mouse, automatically save opened tabs when you quit Safari so they’re open when you relaunch, create a bookmark folder from a set of tabs, rearrange tabs via drag and drop, and more. You can even specify an external editor, such as TextEdit, to use when entering text in Web forms ($12).

Sogudi Instead of beefing up the Google search box, Sogudi improves on Safari’s search abilities with search shortcuts. In the address box, you enter a special site abbreviation and the terms you want to search for, and then press return. For example, typing

hint safari download
will return macosxhints.com tips about downloading with Safari. Sogudi includes 14 predefined shortcuts, and you can easily add your own. It also does more than just make searching faster: Want a shortcut for the Crazy Apple Rumors Site? Use Sogudi’s preference pane to create a new shortcut (CAR, for instance) for www.crazyapplerumors.com. Then, instead of entering that long URL, you can just type
. You can even view Unix
pages, with the useful
shortcut (free).

Hidden Menu Safari’s Debug menu is hidden by default. But once you enable it, you’ll find all kinds of interesting tools.

Taboo Ever accidentally lose a bunch of Web sites you were browsing because you closed a Safari window with multiple open tabs? Never again: Install Taboo, and when-ever you close a Safari window, it will display a dialog box that asks whether you really want to close all the tabs. Such frustration prevention should really be built into Safari. For now, at least, you can rely on Taboo (free).

Debugging Safari

Most Safari users never see the Debug menu. Designed to help programmers and Web coders, it has several features that regular users can use too.

To enable the Debug menu, quit Safari, launch Terminal, enter

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1
, and press return. When you relaunch Safari, you should see the Debug menu to the right of the Help menu (see screenshot).

Some of its interesting options are Show Caches Window (which lets you view and/or clear Safari’s various cache files), Show Page Load Test Window (for timing the loading of Web pages), Keyboard And Mouse Shortcuts (a huge list of Safari keyboard shortcuts), and User Agent (by setting this option to Windows MSIE 6.0 or Netscape 7.0, you may be able to gain access to sites that don’t normally work in Safari).

If you ever tire of this new menu, quit Safari and repeat the Terminal command but replace the numeral


[ Dan Frakes is Macworld ’s senior writer. Rob Griffiths is one of Macworld ’s senior editors. ]

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