As the Internet grows to be the main source of news, we are constantly looking for easier and faster ways to get access to the latest info. So what would you say if I told you that there was a free application that gave you fast access to your most visited websites using a single tab that displayed the webpages as small thumbnails? I’m talking about Speed Dial, a free Firefox extension created by Josep del Rio that gives you direct access to all your daily visited websites within one tab.
After the installation, Speed Dial adds two small buttons in your Firefox toolbar customization panel, which you can add to your browser interface using the drag & drop feature. The Speed Dial
button allows you to open the menu bearing the same name or displays a drop-down list containing the websites you have currently assigned while the Set as Speed Dial
button gives you a fast way to add the current webpage to your Speed Dial entry.
The extension offers you four other methods to assign websites. The first one involves your Bookmark
menu because it adds the Set as Speed Dial
sub-menu and after clicking on it you have to choose the slot where you want the website to be assigned. The second method requires you to open a new tab or window, access the Speed Dial
tab, and click on an unassigned thumbnail for the Add Dial
panel to appear. Type the address to the Location bar, create a custom title and change the refresh rate in order to get the desired results. This won’t work for the slots that have been already assigned, so in order to reassign them with a different website you have to choose Edit
from the right-click menu.
The software adds the Set as Speed Dial
item to your new content and new tab context menus. Unlike the first two methods, the last ones are not available by default but it’s easy to activate them by using the option panel. As you can see, Speed Dial comes to your aid by offering you many ways to access and use it and a considerable number of available options in the Settings
Speed Dial offers an extensive list of features for you to play with, so we will make a brief presentation of the major ones.
panel contains four major tabs with self-explanatory names such as: Main
tab allows you to customize your layout by entering the number of rows and columns you want to create. These Speed Dial slots can be accessed using a keyboard shortcut created by associating the Ctrl key with a number from 1 to 9. There is no problem in case you have more than 9 favorite websites because, after this number, Speed Dial automatically activates a special feature, named the Multikey
, which displays a styled screen overlay after the first figure is introduced. So, with this feature there is no limit to the number of possible assigned slots.
tab lets you manage thumbnail buttons from context menu by adding or removing new ones with a single click. Using the thumbnail size options you can scale the browser to match the width of the newly-generated thumbnail that can be reordered using the simple drag & drop feature, so you don’t have to delete the currently assigned websites in order to change their order. Speed Dial contains an automatic refresh rate that can be customized as well, but it can be done instantly using the background browser menu. As I mentioned before, you can create customized headlines for each thumbnail, but unfortunately the app does not allow you to change the font sizes.
In case you want to customize the default keyboard shortcuts and mouse click options or disable/enable the Multikey feature, click on the Controls
tab and start personalizing your Speed Dial extension.
tab gives you access to the background browser size feature that customizes the width and height of the hidden browser that is used when the Speed Dial slots are refreshed. In case you are not happy with the default value (800 pixels), change it in order to obtain a better balance between layout accuracy and readability. Keep in mind that no matter the change, the effect will be seen after creating or refreshing a thumbnail.The Good
Speed Dial enables you to easily navigate multiple websites using those small thumbnails and keyboard shortcuts. The Multikey feature is awesome because it allows you to create an unlimited number of slots.The Bad
There isn’t much to say here because there were no problems with Speed Dial whatsoever, but some visual effects would make this extension look even better. The goal of this app is to offer an easy way to access your most visited websites and that’s why a predefined list with the most important websites should be integrated within Speed Dial.The Truth
If you use to visit the same websites on a daily basis, then Speed Dial is definitely worth a try. It will take some time to get used to it, but you won’t be disappointed. Here are some snapshots of the application in action: