I am sure many experienced Firefox users already know about the fantastic extension Greasemonkey and the level of customization it provides to the Firefox users. Incase someone is not aware, Greasmonkey is a powerful extension for Firefox that allows users to add custom Greasemonkey scripts that will enhance the looks and functionality of the websites, hence ultimately enhancing the user experience. There are literally hundreds of Greasemonky scripts that are available on the web. A prime resource for these scripts is userscripts.org. There are some great Greasemonkey scripts available there that deserves a separate article to mention. I am planing to do it in the near future but for now the reason I have talked about Greasmonkey in this article is that there is an equally good and useful extension available to change the look and feel of the websites that you visit in the Firefox, but through a different means. I am talking about Stylish extension that provides you the power to modify/enhance the presentation styles of not only the websites you visit but also the Firefox chrome, all of this through the power of style-sheets.
There are two ways to use it’s powerful features, either write your own user styles in the built-in editor or visit the great online repository of user styles userstyles.org . I am sure that most people will prefer the second route like me. There is great collection of user styles available on this website separated in three different categories – Site Styles, App Styles, Global Styles. Site styles enhance the look and feel of the respective websites for which they are made( YouTube, Myspace, Google, Facebook etc.). Global styles apply to all the websites and they are more general in the functionality that they provide for example ad blocking or enhancing the HTML controls present on the website. App styles only apply to the Firefox chrome(GUI) and may be used for a variety of purposes for example adding icons to the menu’s, dialog boxes, fixing the spacing between the toolbar buttons and adding the scrolling menus.
A nice thing about the user styles is that you can preview before saving them to the Stylish. Preview is instantaneous in most cases for both the website user styles and Firefox GUI user styles. Also you can disable desired user styles from the main list in the Stylish interface. Find Updates option can automatically find and install the updates for the user styles that are present in Stylish.
In many ways this extension reminds me of the Greasemonkey the way it offers the high level of Firefox and website customization to the users, the only difference is in the approach. However I would like to point out that there advantages and disadvantages to both the approaches (user scripts and user styles). There are more details on this here. I think the best option will be to use both Greasemonkey and Stylish for the maximum flexibility and this is what I am doing for now. One thing that amazes me is the fact that despite the rich functionality it provides, it is nowhere near in popularity to Greasemonky!
OK! if you are still not convinced with my arguments then I have some visual examples to show you that how Stylish can enhance your Firefox experience. As they say that a picture is worth a thousand words so take a look and decide for yourself that if it is useful for you or not. I want to emphasize that these are just few examples of what this amazing extension can achieve. There are a lots of other fantastic user styles available on the official website for you to explore!
IE Style Tabs
Bright Focus (for buttons, links, and textboxes)
Better Selected Text
Combine Stop Reload
YouTube.com – dark gray redesign
Google Web Search – dark gray redesign
You can install the latest version of the Stylish extension from the Firefox Add-ons website.
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