Surf Smarter – Take A Sneak Peek At Links With CoolPreviews Firefox Add-on

imageI carry a total of eighteen Firefox add-ons; some – including NoScript, Adblock Plus, WOT, and BitDefender QuickScan – beef up security. Others, such as DownloadHelper, WebMail Notifier, and Google Shortcuts, help me keep the productivity curve trending upward.

The security add-ons are an absolute necessity – interacting with the Internet without them would be akin to traipsing through a minefield – just waiting for the BOOM! The productivity add-ons are less critical – I could (if I had to), get along without them – except for one –  CoolPreviews.

I love CoolPreviews – a Picture-in-a-Picture free Browser add-on, that lets me preview links and rich media content, without clicking the link, or leaving my current page.

With CoolPreviews, I just place my mouse cursor over a link, or over the CoolPreviews icon, and a customizable preview window of the website that the link points to instantly appears with the content; page view, image view, or even video.

I can fully interact with the preview window; play the video, click on links, fill out forms, and more. In fact, I can interact with the preview just as if I had the full page open. If I need to, opening the full page is easy; a simple click on the CoolPreviews full page icon, and I’m there.

I find that by using CoolPreviews, I save time and reduce the drudgery involved in trying to determine which sites are worth investigating. CoolPreviews lets me take a quick look at each link to see if it’s worthwhile investigating further.

I use this tool every day to confirm that the links in my “Tech Thoughts Daily Net News” column, are live. The screen capture below illustrates how this works. Click on the graphic to expand to original (1157 x 490).


It takes me less than two minutes to check 20/25 links this way, as opposed to – open a link, close a link; open a link, close a link; open a link, close a link; ……. Well, you see the point.

A final example:

Every day, I visit each of the sites in my Blogroll (gotta see what my friends are up to!), and rather than click through to the site, I use CoolPreviews. If the content is a “need to read”, like my good buddy Paul Lubic’s most recent article is – clicking on the “open to Tab” button in CoolPreviews, does just that.


It’s no wonder Mozilla lists this neat little tool as a recommended Firefox add-on, and also includes it in its most popular list of browser add-ons. CoolPreviews definitely increases productivity; what a time saver!

Fast facts:

Preview links without clicking

Preview images and videos

CoolPreviews 3-D Wall or slideshow mode for Google Image Search

Works on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, YouTube, Flickr ……….

Works on just about any website, blog, forum

Stack temporarily bookmarks (this is a very cool feature)

Instantly email links

Zoom in/out functionality

Sub search any phrase by right-clicking

Customize preview activation method and themes

Enable/disable previewing on customizable choice of sites

Unfortunately, CoolPreviews is available only for Firefox. Previous support for IE, Safari, etc., has been discontinued.

Requirements: Firefox 3.6 – 4.0. Supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Download at: CoolPreviews or Mozilla.

Update: February 4, 2011. My good buddy Rick Robinette, whom I often refer to as the “Great Freeware Hunter”, has just posted on a similar add-on designed for Chrome. If you’re a Chrome user, then be sure sure to checkout Rick’s article over at What’s On My PC.

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Filed under Browser add-ons, downloads, Firefox, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Linux, Mac, Productivity Software, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

16 responses to “Surf Smarter – Take A Sneak Peek At Links With CoolPreviews Firefox Add-on

  1. John

    Hi Bill,
    I’m with you on this one that is for sure. I have been using this app since you recommended it last year and now I would not be without it. Considering I have just reformatted, this was the first app added after the cleanup, its brilliant.


  2. hipockets

    Hi, Bill
    Thanks for the CoolPreviews info. I just installed it. One of these days you might tell us the other Firefox extensions that you use. I have over 40 installed – in addition to the security extensions you listed, I have Anonlymizer Nevercookie, Better Privacy, Fllashblock, and Norton Save Web Lite toolbar. Admittedly, the first three are for privacy more than security.

    OFF TOPIC — Special thanks for letting us know about It might become one of my favorite sites, if I can figure out Problem Two —

    Problem One, solved. My browser of choice is Firefox. Contrary to your article, I found I had to register to select and play music.. I could not register in Firefox – Firefox did not show the Capcha part of the page, even though I allowed the site in NoScipt. Instead of telling me this, it kept telling me I had to use a different user name. I finally succeeded in registering by switching to Internet Explorer. Hope I can remember which user name I wound up with! :>)

    Problem two- I made up a play list of three songs. The fIrst song played over, and over, and over. Never thought I would get tired of Rey Charles singing “Georgia On my Mind”! It never got to selection two or three.

    Thanks again for your site!

    • Hey Hipockets,

      I think you’ll find CoolPreviews a worthwhile addition.

      That article was written by a buddy of mine down in Texas, who’s really keyed in to some neat technologies. Drop him a line at his site – I’m sure he’ll be happy to help with this problem. As well, take a look at the Firefox add-on User Agent Switcher, which “tricks” site into believing you’re using IE, instead of Firefox.

      BTW, take a look at An IT Professional’s Must Have Firefox and Chrome Add-ons, written by regular reader Georg L., an IT Professional from Vienna, Austria. Georg’s selection of Firefox add-ons are identical to mine.

      Always good to hear from you.



  3. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    Yes, the security addons are absolutely essential. I pretty much run the same as you, NoScript, Adblock, Ghostery, Bitdefender etc. Even though I run in virtualization mode mostly these days, it is still important to have these tools running, in my view. Along with my regular antimalware apps. Because even though I might be protected in virtualization, I still want to know if something tries to infect me.
    I think I am going to have to give Coolpreviews a run, it looks VERY cool. I have seen it around, time to download I think.

    • Hey Mal,

      Yes, we do run the same add-ons, (we’ve compared these a few times), including Ghostery, which is an amazing add-on for pointing out who’s tracking you on any given site. It still blows my mind when I see the number of trackers on an average site. Nosy as hell, these guys.

      You’ll like CoolPreviews – it adds a whole new dimension to surfing.

      BTW, I hope all that work you mentioned, or at least most of it, is history. 🙂



  4. Mal

    Hey Bill,
    I’ve just been trying out CoolPreviews, what a cool addon. Thanks for reviewing it. I’m the kinda guy who thinks less is better, but in this case, it’s the reverse.
    “All that work” I mentioned is all done, complete, finito. Thankfully. Time to relax now.

  5. Pingback: Browse More Efficiently with ezLinkPreview -A Google Chrome Extension « What's On My PC

  6. Ramblinrick


    Thanks for this… I love it. Your article prompted me to see if there was a similar add-on out there for Google Chrome. I hit the jackpot and found “ezLinkPreview”. I just did an article on it on the blog with links pointing back to there.


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  8. Bill,
    CoolPreviews sounds very cool…and may be the “straw” that gets me to switch to Firefox (I’m a hard-headed IE hanger-on). I’m completely blown away by the great recommendation of my site and latest article. You’ve been very supportive, a great mentor and friend. Thank you.

  9. Hi Bill,
    Thanks again for another great tip, CoolPreview is excellent. I already use many of the security extensions, but I hadn’t used CoolPreview before.
    Finally got in some skiing!