Feb 082013
 

Open With is a clever Firefox add-on to open a web page (or link) in another browser with one click via a tab bar icon (or context menu options). This can be useful to quickly test how a web page appears in different browsers or to load a website which doesn’t work very well with Firefox in another browser.

The add-on is able to load the current Firefox page (or a link) in IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera or pretty much any other web browser. You can also set it to include an option for Firefox itself – this would open the current page in a new tab i.e. a quick way to duplicate the tab/page.

An added bonus is that you can add options to open any program which accepts a URL (webpage address) as input – e.g. add an option for VLC Media Player so you can stream a YouTube video directly into VLC with just one click – see the second part of How To Stream In VLC for more details.

Using The Add-On – install the add-on from Mozilla Add-ons here. After installation, configure the settings by clicking the Firefox Menu button then Add-ons (or Tools \ Add-ons if the Menu Bar is displayed) to open the Add-ons tab. Select ‘Options’ for the add-on to configure settings as shown below:

OpenWith1

In Windows, installed browsers should automatically be recognized and displayed in the right hand panel. In the left panel there are a variety of ways to configure how to launch the current page or a URL link in one of these browsers:

View menu – choose if/how to display Open With items in the View menu (available if the Firefox menu bar is displayed).

Main context menu – choose if/how to display Open With items in the standard right click menu i.e. if you right click anywhere within a page as shown below:

OpenWith2

Main context menu (links) – choose if/how to display Open With items in the right click menu of a link i.e. to open the link in another browser as shown below:

OpenWith3

Tab context menu – choose if/how to display Open With items in the right click menu of a tab.

Tool bar – display Open With items as buttons on the tab bar or as a drop down menu (useful to save space if you have lots of browsers/programs to choose from) as shown below:

OpenWith4

Tab bar buttons

Tip: if you don’t see the Open With Tool bar on the tab/address bar, add it manually – right click an empty part of the Firefox tab bar then select ‘Customize’ and drag/drop the Open With tool bar to where you want it.

Now that you have chosen how/where you want Open With entries to display, configure the browsers to use in the right hand panel. By default, all will be displayed except Firefox which is hidden. Click a browser to reveal a Hide/Show button and options to move it up or down the list of browsers.

If you Display Firefox, choosing the Firefox Open With entry will open the current page in a new Firefox window – an easy way to duplicate a page.

Click ‘Add’ if you wish to add another program to the list – browse to and select the program’s executable (.exe) file and the program’s icon will be added to the Open With entries. Advanced users can add a Command or Arguments to pass to the program on opening.

Although most programs can be added in this way, only those that can accept a URL as input will work properly e.g. if you added Notepad, it would start up but display an error as it wouldn’t know what to do with the URL.

Conclusion

Open With is a useful add-on with several functions – it can automatically open a web page or link in another browser, duplicate a page within Firefox or open a program such as VLC to process the URL passed to it.

It is simple to use and has a variety of options to let you choose where/how it is available so you can hide some of it’s options from menus/toolbar if you don’t want them all displayed.