How-To: Turbocharge Your Browsing With Greasemonkey

Greasemonkey Icon

While the debate over Mac versus PC will last for eternity, one of the elements that many “diehard” PC users have thrown at Apple fanboys is the ability to really tweak their experience, through application add-ons and plugins.

Mac users who use Firefox have had a little taste of this with Greasemonkey, a Firefox add-on that allows support for on the fly changes to websites. If you haven’t heard of Greasemonkey, this is a must read for you and if your browser of choice isn’t Firefox, we’ll show you how to install its equivalent, GreaseKit with Safari.

What Is Greasemonkey?

Greasemonkey is an add-on for browsers that allow users to install “scripts” that are fine tuned to affect how different websites function. For example, if you’re a person who uses MySpace and really hates how the login page is full of ads, you can install a script that adjusts the display of the page when it loads and gives you a cleaner experience.

Cleaning up MySpace is just the beginning; there are scripts for just about everything. If you’re not a fan of the default Gmail web interface, you can use a script that declutters it.

But it’s not just about changing the look and feel of a website; there are scripts that remove content like ads and scripts that add functionality, like a script that lets you add notes to entries in your Netflix queue.

Installing GreaseKit in Safari

While Greasemonkey is an easy add-on if you use Firefox, you can also use similar add-ons in Safari. For Safari users, begin by downloading SIMBL and install it. Then download GreaseKit and install the bundle file inside to ~/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins. If this folder doesn’t exist, just add it before dropping the file inside.

Next, relaunch Safari and, provided things worked well, you’ll see a new menu entry for GreaseKit. Now go find some scripts (see below) and click “Install This Script” to copy it into GreaseKit. You’ll see the JavaScript flash on screen and eventually it should be added to your GreaseKit menu.


Getting Scripts

There are a variety of places to find the scripts that integrate with Greasemonkey or GreaseKit. is perhaps the largest of these and an excellent place to start. I urge caution though as these scripts can become dated when the websites they affect are updated. Also, because you’re not running the scripts in Greasemonkey on Firefox for Windows (where they are usually tested), the add-ons may not function exactly as described. This is likely to happen in Safari if the script is overly complex, requiring additional interfaces to manage it.

Here are the scripts I’ve discussed in this article:

You also might enjoy the Unfriend Finder for Facebook that lets you know when (and who) has unfriended you. This particular script doesn’t work well in Safari, so I recommend using it in Firefox.

Have you found any good scripts? Feel free to use the comments below and let us know what you think.