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Blogging With Split Browser Firefox Extension

Articles about blogging tipsAs part of my Web Browser Guide for Bloggers series on the , I explored a lot of new Firefox Extensions to improve my blogging skills and efficiency. In the process, I discovered the Split Browser Add-on.

The Firefox Extension splits the browser’s screen into two or more parts, allowing you to view one or more web pages side by side, or one on top of the other. You can split your screen in many ways.

There are many benefits to this, especially for bloggers. Of most interest is the ability to copy links and references from one page into the blog post you are writing about. Instead of switching back and forth between tabs, both web pages are visible and moving back and forth is incredibly simple.

Another advantage is that the split browser allows me to have “two screens” up, one the draft of my WordPress post in the Write Post panel and the other, the “preview” of my blog post, which is an interesting work-around for this annoying lack-of-feature for the recent version of WordPress.

The reality, however, is a little different.

Split Browser Firefox Extension - open a split screenThe Split Browser Extension works brilliantly. Move your mouse towards an edge of the screen and a small rectangle “button” appears on the edge of the screen. At the bottom of the screen, it invites you to open the current tab you are on in the bottom section of your screen. At the side, it invites you to open the current tag to the right or left of the screen. You can adjust the width and height of the split browser “window”.

Trying this out while working on an article, I opened the tab of links I wanted to reference in the blog post I was working on in the left side of the screen, then switched to the tab with the Write Post panel open.

Split Browser Firefox Extension - showing a vertical split screen exampleBoth pages were now squished to half their normal width. Luckily, I was working with my own blog’s web page and design, a flexible width layout, and it squishes down pretty well.

I had a very narrow column of content that was still readable, to copy links from and paste them into the Write Post panel with my favorite Firefox Extension Copy Link Text (CoLT).

However, the left screen with my Write Post panel was very squished. The right sidebar of categories, and other post information, stayed a fixed width so the post edit textarea was squished narrowly. I played around with different widths and found that sometimes it worked okay, but other times, it was just too narrow. I’m working with a screen that is measurably 16 inches across, which is not small by any means, but not as wide as the newer extra-wide screens. I tried the same view with my husband’s extra-wide HP laptop and it was much easier to view web pages in a less squished and readable fashion.

Still, encountering a web design with a fixed width layout made it very frustrating, especially with ones that use fixed width columns. I have to scroll horizontally left and right to read a single line. Very frustrating.

The same applied to using the Split Browser to view a Preview of my blog post. Squish. Yes, I could read it, and play with the width of each side of the browser “window”, but I have a flexible width design. I move to a fixed width, and it’s left and right scrolling.

The ease with which this feature is turned on and off is lovely. I can click the X on the split screen and it’s gone. It also has a lot of options to allow you to customize how you use this.

I like the ability to open a web page in a split screen without influencing the tab or its original placement. I can close it and the tab remains open, unless I’ve set the options otherwise. This allows me to go onto another tab and do other work, and then return back to that tab if necessary.

I still need to play with this some more, but what do you think? Have you used this Firefox Extension? How is it working for you?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.


  1. Posted June 29, 2007 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Awesome. It solves a problem I didn’t even know I had. My blog is down at the minute, but I’ll let you know.

    I think having a widescreen monitor will help, maximise FF and split screen it and I can have almost two complete width pages.

  2. Posted June 29, 2007 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Widescreen would help. Or try to split horizontally, so that you get the full width of the pages, just not all the vertical space.

    In any case, this extension is not compatible with Adblock Plus, which means it fails my main test. Adblock Plus is more important to me.

  3. Posted June 29, 2007 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    I had the same problem as Otto, this extension didn’t seem to be working properly with Adblock Plus for me either. It worked, but it was wonky and unstable, and my screen was splitting itself when I didn’t tell it to, which was so irritating that I disabled it.
    I’d rather flip tabs than deal with that. It’s a fantastic idea, but I can’t currently use it. I’ll try it again after it’s been updated.

  4. Posted June 29, 2007 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    What a useful extension! I have a widescreen computer, and this works like a charm. Thanks!

  5. Posted June 29, 2007 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    What I do is open the tab in a new window… The Tab Mix Plus extension has a nice right-click option to duplicate the current tab in a new window.

    Of course, I have a multi-monitor layout, so that helps too.

  6. Posted June 29, 2007 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Nice, Lorelle, thanks for the tip! I keep meaning to research new tools I haven’t seen, but it’s so hard to find the time!

  7. Posted June 29, 2007 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I should try this.

    I have a text editor for programming that has all kind of funky split screen options and it is a godsend.

    Ctrl-Tab and Ctrl-Shift-Tab are very useful as well for quickly moving between tabs.

  8. Posted June 29, 2007 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    That’s pretty nifty. Useful for writing in WordPress, for sure. Of course, if you have a big enough monitor, you could just align two browser windows side-by-side, which is what I usually do.

  9. tojosan
    Posted June 29, 2007 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Used it myself, however I didn’t notice the width issue. Try splitting top/bottom vs side/side.

    I’d say it’s a must have for serious bloggers.

  10. observa1
    Posted July 1, 2007 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    My sister works for a company where she uses split screens, and it sounded so cool-didn’t know I had that capability too. I just read your post. Using the split screen is almost as simple as the installation was.

    Since I have two blogs, that I bounce between, this will be a great asset.

    Lorelle, you’re what I call the “Queen of WordPress” and as a new blogger, I want to thank you for sharing all you’ve learned. Your site is one I turn to often when I have questions. It’s obvious you’ve done your homework.

    Thank You!

  11. Kimiko
    Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Hey, thanks for the tip. I’d been thinking it would be handy to have something like that on my widescreen monitor. I’ve just installed the plugin now.

  12. Kimiko
    Posted July 28, 2007 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Darn. 41cm still isn’t wide enough to have two decently sized browser windows side by side.
    Ah well, I guess I’ll keep it around for when I do want to split the view area.

  13. Posted June 24, 2008 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Hi there,
    Know anyone how plugin to use if I want only a part of the article to be displayed? If someone want to read more there will be a “read more” link… Can anyone help?
    On my blog right now is displayed all of article content and I don’t want this…

  14. Steve
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 4:29 am | Permalink

    Another alternative is PlanetBILLBOARD which it splits the browser window without any download. There are 10 address lines within it’s control panel (Cloud PROBER) as temporary bookmarks to help you target any of the windows. You can achieve different layout and sizes for your windows by dragging the borders. Use the “F11” key to resize your browser window into full screen mode. You should also increase your screen resolution to get the benefit of more content & menu options inside these windows.
    I hope this helps.

  15. Ashis
    Posted August 13, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I was looking for something like this. Thank you for writing about this Firefox add-on. It is very useful.

6 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Friday! Celebrate with these Firefox Extensions 29Jun07 After reading Lorelle’s post about a useful Firefox Extension today, I found myself inspired to find a few that I found useful and demonstrate them for you. […]

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  3. […] on WordPress writes on Blogging with Firefox’s Split Browser Extension.   Since I don’t have two monitors on my home computer, I have been meaning to try out the […]

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