Sometimes it’s easier to take notes directly in the browser than open a separate application or a text file. Google Chrome makes this possible with apps and extensions we previously reviewed. Now it’s time to look at what Firefox offers.
From lightweight snippets to full-fledged note management, these note-taking addons vary in functionality and complexity. If not stated otherwise, they can be installed from the official Firefox addons website by clicking the familiar, green “Add to Firefox” button. All addons were tested with the latest Firefox version (34.0.5), but they should work with older versions, too.
FloatNotes is a practical addon that combines ease of use with advanced features. The most interesting one is support for Markdown formatting of your notes. Apart from this, FloatNotes can remember the exact position of notes on a website and save notes only for particular websites. This means that you can annotate any website, save your comments in FloatNotes and return to them whenever you load that page again. It’s also possible to make the note visible on all websites or only on subpages of a selected domain.
Notes can be moved, resized and minimized to keep them out of the way. To make a note “sticky” (i.e. make it stay in the same position while you scroll), you can pin it by hovering over the note’s border and pressing the pin button. To edit a note, just double-click it (red border indicates the editing mode is activated). The Preferences dialog lets you perform basic adjustments to the size, color and font of your notes. You can also enable the option to hide all notes with one click.
If you find yourself creating dozens of notes, you can easily manage them from the Notes Manager, where you can search for notes, edit their appearance and even batch-delete them. Last but not least, FloatNotes supports Firefox Sync, which means you can access your notes from any device that has Firefox on it.
2. Notepad (QuickFox)
QuickFox takes synchronization one step further by introducing support for Dropbox, Google Docs, Sugarsync and Evernote. You can both import and export notes to those services, as well as email and print them directly from QuickFox.
QuickFox supports tabs for simultaneous editing of multiple notes. You can group notes, encrypt them, change their background color and even lock (write-protect) tabs to prevent unauthorized changes. The “Archive” and “Trash bin” options let you manage completed and discarded tasks. QuickFox integrates well with the clipboard, so you can send copied text directly to a new note and even set up automatic copy-and-paste activated by middle click. If you rely on cloud-based services to store your scribbles, QuickFox might be a welcome addition to your browser.
Internote is very similar to FloatNotes, so if one of the two doesn’t work for some reason, you can just switch to the other addon. Upon installation, Internote will add a menu in “Tools” from which you can access all its options.
Notes can be website-specific or global (visible everywhere), and you can move and resize them with the mouse. It’s possible to minimize notes, print them and export them to HTML, text, and bookmarks. You can also tweak their appearance – change the size, color, the default position and translucency. Translucent notes can overlap yet remain visible “through” each other, and Internote even supports some animations.
Finally, there’s the Note Manager which lets you find notes by content keywords and edit properties for each note, including their position, color and visibility parameters.
Internote is not particularly original, but it’s stable and visually attractive enough to be a decent note-taking solution for Firefox.
The complete opposite to all note-taking addons on this list, foxyNotes is a modest and somewhat unfinished option. You can create new notes through the “Tools” menu or by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + N”. Each note opens as a small but separate window, so they are not visible on the webpage itself; rather, you have to make each note the active window to make any changes. The notes can’t be resized, though you can move them around. The default font seems to be Comic Sans whose haters will either have to suffer or use another note-taking addon because foxyNotes doesn’t let you format or customize notes.
The biggest problem is the fact that notes can’t be saved; when you restart Firefox, none of your notes from previous sessions are preserved, which, admittedly, defeats the whole purpose of note-taking. Readers who dislike beta-stage software might wonder why I even included foxyNotes on this list. The reason is that I believe it has great potential to become a lightweight alternative to other solutions – now it’s up to the developer to make this happen.
This addon offers plenty of options that are easy to manage. However, the number of notes you can have at once is, for some reason, limited to six, but this should be enough for basic usage. QuickNote lets you open notes in separate tabs, in a floating window (“sticky notes“-style) or in the sidebar. You can print notes and turn on the autosave option in the Settings dialog.
Among other things, QuickNote lets you choose a folder and a filename for each note. They are created as text files, don’t have to be in the same folder, and can be viewed and modified with any text editor regardless of whether Firefox is running. This is practical and opens up the possibilities for backup, synchronization and encryption. Not only can you customize the appearance of each note (font, background color…), but you can also add some custom CSS if you so desire.
QuickNote is the first note-taking browser addon I’ve used and it proved to be handy and reliable. It has a classic, straightforward approach to note management, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for simplicity.
What about you – do you use note-taking extensions in your browser? Can you recommend some other addons? Let us know in the comments.