One of the nice things about Internet Explorer is that you aren't limited to the browser functionality provided by Microsoft. Internet Explorer is extensible through the use of third-party add-ons. Here are a few of my favorites.
Note: This list is also available as a photo gallery.
1: Cocoon for Internet ExplorerCocoon for Internet Explorer (Figure A) is a security plugin. Cocoon is designed to protect your privacy by allowing you to browse the Web anonymously while also protecting your computer against malware and various privacy threats. Cocoon accomplishes this by acting as a proxy. All the Internet Explorer data, such as cookies and browsing history, are stored in the cloud rather than locally on your computer. That way, your computer remains isolated from exploits that take advantage of those components.
Cocoon for Internet Explorer
Cocoon for Internet Explorer requires you to sign up for an account before use. It gives you the option of using a free account, but by doing so you are forced to endure advertisements. Paid plans without ads cost $4.99 per month or $29 per year.
2: ieSpellieSpell (Figure B) is designed to solve a problem I deal with on a daily basis: poor spelling. As someone who has been writing professionally since the mid-1990s, you would think that my spelling would be topnotch, but that simply isn't the case. This isn't really a problem when I'm using Microsoft Office because it has a spell checker, but Internet Explorer doesn't have one. This is where ieSpell comes in. It adds a spell checker to Internet Explorer. Best of all, ieSpell is free for personal use.
ieSpell is nonintrusive. It's accessible through Internet Explorer's Tools menu. When you initiate ieSpell, it checks the entire Web page. This includes both static text and text you entered yourself. ieSpell could also be handy for Web developers who want to proof their work.
3: Super Ad BlockerSuper Ad Blocker (Figure C) is a utility that frees you from all those annoying ads that are so pervasive on the Internet. It exists as an Internet Explorer toolbar, with an on/off button you can use to enable or disable it at any time. In my tests, Super Ad Blocker didn't remove the ads from every Web page, but overall it did a good job. Super Ad Blocker sells for $29.95, but a free 15-day trial is available.
Super Ad Blocker
4: iMacros for Internet ExploreriMacros for Internet Explorer (Figure D) lets you create macros within IE. Browser macros are especially useful for automating the process of filling out common Web form fields, such as your name or address.
iMacros for Internet Explorer
You access iMacros through a button that's placed on the main Internet Explorer interface. The software itself is fairly intuitive. There are separate tabs for recording and playing macros, which makes it easy to stay organized. Best of all, iMacros for Internet Explorer is available for free.
5: FireShot for Internet ExplorerFireShot for Internet Explorer (Figure E) makes it easy to capture the contents of a Web page. This is far more than just a screen capture app. You can actually capture a Web page and mark up the page, and you can convert a Web page into a PDF document. This tool is a must-have for anyone who has ever needed to extract information from a Web page. FireShot for Internet Explorer sells for $34.95, but it's free to try.
FireShot for Internet Explorer
Other good IE add-ons?
What other add-ons would you include on this list? Share your recommendations with fellow TechRepublic members.
Brien Posey is a seven-time Microsoft MVP. He has written thousands of articles and written or contributed to dozens of books on a variety of IT subjects.