Launch External Windows Applications Directly From Firefox

by Jawwad in Firefox, Software, Tips&Tricks | 16 comments

firefox | Launch External Windows Applications Directly From Firefox Many of us spent a large portion of their time on computer browsing Internet for variety of purposes such as surfing websites, checking email, chatting, passing time on social interaction websites, blogging and many other activities. A lot of us are using Firefox as their browser of choice for the surfing/browsing needs on the Internet. Sometimes when busy on a task in FireFox we need to quickly launch an external application from windows such as calculator to do some calculation, a note taking/reminder application or simply a blogging client to write a quick post about something that grabbed our attention , open a folder in windows explorer to look for a file. In all the mentioned scenarios and many others normally we will minimize the Firefox window and run the required application from “Desktop” or “Start Menu” or simply open “MyComputer” to navigate to a folder. This procedure does take some time and more importantly distracts from the actual task at hand in Firefox. It could be a good idea if we can run our favorite application directly from Firefox without actually locating it on the desktop or start menu and executing it. External Application Buttons is an extension for Firefox that is built precisely for this purpose to launch external applications from with in the Firefox.

External Application Buttons (Modified Version) is a modified version of the original extension External Application Buttons that allows it work with Firefox 2.0 and above. However in my experience you may need Nightly Tester Tools to make it compatible with newer  Firefox 3.0 beta 2. After installation simply open the customize toolbar dialog and drag & drop the “Applications” button on the desired toolbar. Now just select the “New Button…” option from the context menu that appears by right clicking the button that you added to the toolbar. Strangely the button appears invisible after the first time you add it to the Firefox toolbar, but it is there and will allow you to create new application buttons and when you add new buttons they will not have any problem with visibility.

external applications mod thumb | Launch External Windows Applications Directly From Firefox

external applications mod2 thumb | Launch External Windows Applications Directly From Firefox

external applications mod3 thumb | Launch External Windows Applications Directly From Firefox

external applications mod41 | Launch External Windows Applications Directly From Firefox

Here are some of the other notes about this extension:

  1. Tooltip can be adjusted for each of the buttons that you add.
  2. You can set your own icon path and size for each of the buttons that you add to the toolbar.
  3. By default it automatically picks the icon of the application that you assigned with the button.
  4. You can set relative paths as well if needed. They can come handy if you are using Portable Firefox on a flash Drive as you can copy the portable applications that you are calling from the Firefox to flash drive as well, and call them from any computer that you attach your flash drive and use portable Firefox. As a side note, I have copied some of the essential utilities in my Firefox profiles folder exactly for this purpose.
  5. You can set shortcut keys for your custom made buttons. You can quickly execute an application associated with a button this way instead of clicking the button.
  6. Arguments can be passed to the application. I use it to pass argument “D:\downloads”to “explorer.exe” to quickly open my downloads folder in the windows explorer.
  7. You can also execute normal files(audio,video and office documents etc.) instead of exe files, provided the the files have a default associated application in windows explorer. I use it to open “notes.doc” file in Open Office using this way. I have just provided the path of the notes.doc in the button, but it is automatically opened in Open Office because I have associated doc files with the Open Office in Windows.

In my opinion this extension is a productivity booster for Firefox users and should be on the agenda of any loyal Firefox user.

[Update] Please take a look here for a better alternative to launch applications directly from Firefox!

You Might Like:

Get Free Email Updates

Inspired Geek is your primary source for latest tech news, guides and articles on Windows software, games, Apple and Android devices.

  • Get extensive coverage on latest tech news.
  • Exclusive guides on rooting, jailbreaking and unlocking mobile devices.
  • Useful apps and tips&tricks for your iOS and Android devices.
  • Exlclusive Top Countdowns for the best software.

This post was written by...

for Inspired Geek.

Hi! We are trying our best to make this spot most interesting and useful for discovering news, articles, tips & tricks and bringing you the latest in Computer, Mobile and Internet technology areas. Please support our efforts by giving your feedback, subscribing to Inspired Geek RSS (Link on top & bottom of the page), by promoting us on social websites (Facebook, Digg, Twitter, StumbleUpon etc.) or any other way you might feel convenient. Thanks for your support!

  • Pingback: Take Firefox Customization to the Next-Level using Custom Buttons Extension | Inspired Geek

  • antOn

    great add-on, saves me a lot of time :twisted:

  • Pingback: Size Doesn’t Matter - 10 Tiny but Highly Useful Firefox Extensions | Inspired Geek

  • http://ExternalApplicationButtons Ghulam


    I am really interested in this extension…is it possible that the application can be load directly in the Firefox Browser window :?: This will allow you to tab between the application and your browser windows.

  • Konrad Szpirak

    Could you please make it so that the application window fits into the firefox window? I have this really cool extension, for firefox called SplitBrowser. Please check it out, it allows you to split the browser into few separate windows. I would love to be able to open an application, like notepad, in one of those…… Cheers.

  • Emarell

    Brilliant extension, thank you. I have been looking for this capability (a standard feature of Maxthon) for Firefox for a very long time.

  • David Phillippo

    I was looking for something exactly like this to load up my UserChrome.css from a button/bookmark into notepad rather than routing through my hard-drive to find it. Unfortunately this doesn’t work with Firefox 3. Are you going to update any time soon?

  • Stacey

    I really like this extension, however it doesn’t seem to work in FF 3.0.1. It is quite frustrating.

    Any word on a fix would be appreciated.


  • RimShot

    I use FireFox v3.03 & unfortunately this extension nunja wanna work!?

    It asks for the app, I select an app for it, then nothing—no dialog box for other parameters, no button created,,totally nothing? Wassup?

  • reboltutorial

    Another solution would be to create an asynchronous pluggable protocol example here

    That is you could create notepad:// or just launch:// protocol

  • Kevin

    Please update for FF 3.5x i love and need this extension

  • Rob

    I have FF3.5 too.
    Can you please update this tool….it still does have no competition yet,

  • CJ

    Yeah this application needs update to make it work with the new Firefox

  • Cheesed off

    Don’t bother begging for an update!

  • Pingback: Launch Windows Application Directly From Firefox – A Retake | Inspired Geek

  • nord

    Really like your shortcut solution (works well with FF 3.6.17).

    One question for you. Is it possible to use relative path statements instead of fixed for those times when you are using FireFoxPortable on a USB stick?

    Tks for listening.

Previous post:

Next post:

wordpress counter