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SIDEBAR INFO - (Sidebars on Local Drives. Read about it on this page.)

NOTE - None of the Netscape links point to anything useful anymore. Netscape is truly dead.

NOTE - As of Firefox version 23 the ability to add a sidebar has been removed. See this developer page

FIREFOX - This first section is only applicable to Firefox which implements the sidebar differently from the way the SeaMonkey does. (Jump to SeaMonkey SIDEBARS)

In Firefox you can add a sidebar tab by clicking the installation links shown later in this page. They will be saved in your bookmarks list. However, the Firefox sidebar does not display multiple tabs. You cannot switch from one to the other simply by clicking on a tab, as you can in Mozilla. To switch to another sidebar, you first must display the bookmarks in the sidebar and then you can click another sidebar link to be displayed. To change again, you need to repeat the whole process. Very irritating.

TIP: To make it a little easier to access your sidebars in Firefox, create a new folder in your Personal Toolbar called "Sidebars." Move (or store) all your sidebars' bookmarks in that folder. Then, you can click once on that folder's button on the PTB and then click to display any sidebar.

Also, I place a Bookmarks button on my Bookmarks Toolbar. Do View - Toolbars - Customize and then drag and drop the Bookmarks icon onto the toolbar to the left of where it says: "Bookmarks Toolbar Items."

Firefox Sidebar Setup screen shots - note that these are large files so dial-up users please be patient.
And now on to Sidebars and SeaMonkey . . .


Perhaps my favorite feature of Mozilla is the Sidebar.

The sidebar is a re-sizeable vertical panel on the left of the browser window. It may contain numerous tabs that you click on to reveal different content in the sidebar panel. See some screenshots of how I use the sidebar (note - these are large files):

Use your browser's BACK button to get back here after viewing the picture links below:

Sidebars area available from a variety of different sources on a wide range of topics. (See Netscape sidebar links below) One common misconception is that sidebars are only available from Netscape or other sources. Not so! If you can write a little html, you can easily build your own tab for inclusion in your sidebar (see GUIDELINES below). You can also share it with others (see MOZILLA HELP SIDEBAR below.

Standard sidebars in Mozilla include bookmarks, search, and history. This is a very handy way to access these functions. Also, with tabbed browsing, you can middle-click a sidebar link and open it in a new tab rather the overwriting the existing browser window page. (TIP: Quick way to toggle the sidebar visibility is pressing F9)

You can have many tabs installed in your browser but only activate the ones you need at any given time. (see screenshot) This lets you keep your sidebar as clean (or cluttered!) as you like.

Simply put, a sidebar tab is an HTML (or more advanced) format text file containing visual and link information (i.e. a "web page"). The sidebar source can be as simple or complex as you like. It can include HTML, CSS, javascript, Flash, Java applets, etc. The Mozilla Help sidebar below includes a Flash animation and simple links.

Once installed, that page appears as a tab in the sidebar. You click on the tab, the page appears in the sidebar and the links are available for quick and easy access in your browser just like a link from your bookmarks file. When you click a link in a sidebar it opens in the main browser window.

TIPS - Every time you change from one tab to another in the sidebar the new sidebar tab will be re-read from its source automatically. To force a reload, right-click the tab title and select Reload. You can also right-click on an inactive area of a sidebar and choose This Frame - Reload Frame.

Additionally, right-click an inactive area of the sidebar and choose This Frame - View Frame Source to see the code of the sidebar.

The information that mozilla/Netscape uses to find the tab each time you run the program is stored in the "panels.rdf" file in your user profile directory on your hard drive. If you make good backups of your profile directory you'll always be able to restore a unique tab after a system problem or re-installation.

The basic process for creating and using a custom sidebar is:

  1. Create the tab's source HTML file.
  2. Store it on your web server.
  3. Install the tab in your local Mozilla or Netscape.


"When designing your My Sidebar tab, make sure your information is presentable in a small space and responds well to being resized by the user. The default width of the tab content area in My Sidebar is 162 pixels, and this decreases to 144 pixels when a vertical scrollbar is present. For this reason, we recommend that your tab be no more than 144 pixels wide. You can effectively utilize the space within the My Sidebar area by decreasing font sizes. The tab title width is approximately 20 variable width western characters or 10 double-byte characters."

So. You've made your page according to the above guidelines. You've uploaded it to your web server/web space. Now how do you install it into your sidebar? Well, you could edit "panels.rdf". Or, you can use this handy FORM derived from one at Netscape.

If you like to do things yourself, take a look at this text file which shows both a simplified syntax and a more complex javascript to add a sidebar panel. You can click to open it here or right-click and choose Save Link Target As to save it to your hard disk.

NETSCAPE SIDEBAR LINKS - They are all dead. Any old Netscape links now redirect to aol.com.
NOTE! - As of 10/11/2004 the Netscape Devedge URL below was no longer available.

UPDATE - Devedge is still down but the Netscape Sidebar pages are back up and seem to be functional. Here are the pertinent new links:

NS Sidebar Info - Lame!!! They've redirected this link to promote their crippled Netscape 8 browser. Bozos!

NS Create a Tab - Lame!!! They've redirected this link to promote their crippled Netscape 8 browser. Bozos! (do we detect a pattern here?)

NS Sidebar Preview - Lame!!! They've redirected this link to promote their crippled Netscape 8 browser. Bozos! (YES, a pattern! Oh! Right! AOL is the Dark Force! Ahhh, screw it, go with Mozilla. Never mind.)

If you should encounter a sidebar install link that is broken there's a trick you can try to installing one of those inaccessible sidebars. On the Netscape page link above, click on the Arts & Entertainment category. Then hover your mouse above the National Geographic link and look at your status bar at the bottom of your browser. Here's what you'll see, all on one line:


The actual sidebar link is the last URL in that whole long address. So, to install one of those sidebars, right-click the link, click Copy Link Location, paste it into the form at My Preview Page, edit out everything except the last part, give it a title, click Preview Tab.

Or, go to This Page where I've re-created those Netscape sidebar page links.

If you'd like to experiment with installing and using a custom sidebar tab, here are some examples of ones I created for myself. Don't be worried, you can always delete a tab from your sidebar after experimenting with it.

NOTE: "Installing" a sidebar doesn't install the HTML source on your system. The "installation" consists solely of a couple of entries into the "panels.rdf" file in your Mozilla user profile folder. The entries simply tell Mozilla the links/locations of where each sidebar resides on the Web.

You can even install a sidebar, play with it, and then delete it. Or, decide that you'll use it sometimes but want it hidden most of the time. Easy. In the upper right corner of the sidebar is a button labeled "Tabs". Click it and a drop-down menu appears. You can have an unlimited number of sidebar tabs in this menu listing. Only the ones with check marks are visible in the sidebar. Just click a tab name to toggle its visibility.

You can refresh a tab by right-clicking on an inactive area of the tab, select This Frame, then click Reload Frame.

Add the Mozilla Help Sidebar Tab to your browser's sidebar in Mozilla and Netscape 7.

The actual source html file for this sidebar is at:


If you have comments or questions about the Mozilla Help Sidebar, please email me.

Ok, you can have a clock in your Mozilla sidebar. Add the Mozilla Clockbar to your browser's sidebar in Mozilla and Netscape 7. Why? Somebody mentioned it so I made it.

The actual source html file for this sidebar is at:


I have no idea where I found this one ...

Add stopwatch to your browser's sidebar in Mozilla and Netscape 7.

The actual source html file for this sidebar is at:



Bill Thomas' Corvar

Isaac Schemm's sidebars

Rijk's panelizer

This page last changed: Friday, July 7, 2017 - 12:52 PM USA Eastern Time

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