ARCHIVED: What are plug-ins?
Plug-ins (sometimes called "add-ons") are software modules that add to the functionality of an application. Many applications use plug-ins, including Photoshop, as well as web browsers such as Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Plug-ins can have many different functions. Web browsers typically use plug-ins to expand the range of formats they can display (e.g., Acrobat documents, QuickTime or Adobe Flash content). When the web browser encounters a format it doesn't support, it looks for a plug-in that does. A plug-in can launch its own viewer, appear within a browser window, appear in an embedded frame (within a window that may also contain HTML), or run in the background. Plug-ins work in similar ways with other kinds of programs.
How you install a plug-in depends on both the parent application and the plug-in itself. In many cases, the directory or folder where you place your plug-in(s) may have an installer. For more information, consult the documentation for both the plug-in and the application.
For more information, see:
- Internet Explorer
- Google Chrome
- Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe products
- BBEdit (text editor)
Note: Not all plug-ins are compatible with all browsers. Always check a plug-in's documentation before trying to use it with your web browser.
Last modified on January 07, 2013.