Firefox Add-ons: CoLT

by Paul Arnote (parnote)

Sometimes, when browsing the web, you need more than one way to copy a link. There may be times when you need a regular HTML link, other times when you want to copy that link in the proper format for direct insertion into forums that use BBCode (like the PCLinuxOS forum), and yet other times when you might want to copy that link in the proper format for insertion into a Wiki.


Enter CoLT, a Firefox extension that's been around since Firefox 1.5. Currently, CoLT is up to version 2.5.0. It is written and maintained by Jonah Bishop, who works by day as a System X tools developer for IBM, and who also has created another Firefox Add-on, called Googlebar Lite. It can be downloaded from the Firefox Add-ons page, or from Jonah Bishop's blog site.

CoLT can also copy links in a format that makes them easy to insert into *.txt files and word processing files. In fact, as you're about to find out, CoLT can be easily extended and customized to assist with the copying of URLs into other formats.



From the Firefox Add-ons dialog, select the "Preferences" button, and you will be presented with the following dialog:


At the top of the dialog box, you can select the top level menus you want to display when you right-click your mouse on a link. Under the "Custom Format Menu Items" section of the dialog box, you can see the different custom formats that CoLT is preset for copying URLs to your clipboard.

But suppose you want a custom format for your URL that is not listed. Click on the "Add…" button, and you will be presented with the dialog box below:


You are now given an opportunity to define your new menu entry, and extend CoLT's functionality. In the top text entry box, enter the text that you want to use to represent your new menu entry. In the second text entry box, labeled "Format," enter the custom formatting you want to use for your new menu entry. At the bottom of the dialog box is a list of variables you may use to define your custom formats.

The dialog boxes pictured above, by the way, represent the default settings you get when you install CoLT.

What you get

Since CoLT comes pre-configured, you really don't have to set up your "Preferences". Instead, simply right-click your mouse over a link, and you will get this:


By selecting the "Copy Link Text and Location As >" menu item, you will get your other options for the formats that are set up in CoLT, like this:


It's that easy!


CoLT has been one of my best, most favorite Firefox add-ons for a very long time. It has saved me many headaches and a lot of time when I need to paste links into Wikis, the PCLinuxOS forum, or when I am doing the layout of the magazine articles that have active links within them. What's best is that CoLT is one of those very small Firefox add-ons that stays out of the way until it is needed.