Computerized Investing > March 24, 2012

Auto Refresh

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Auto Refreshers are useful programs for individuals who find themselves repeatedly clicking the refresh button for non-real-time websites to get the latest quotes, news, feeds, and other content. This week’s Sitelight, The Motley Fool, is one such website. To receive the latest updates on their watchlist portfolio, users have to refresh the page. The more time a user spends on such websites, the more time-consuming this becomes.

As a possible solution, an auto refresher can be used to automatically refresh a webpage at predetermined intervals, such as every five seconds or every five minutes. A major shortcoming of this solution is that users may experience moderate slowdowns when the pages refresh, depending on the quickness of the intervals and the quantity of pages that are refreshing.

Since the best auto refreshers tend to be browser add-ons or extensions, here are some of the best auto refreshers for the four most common browsers:

Google Chrome

Refresh Monkey is a highly customizable, yet still quite easy-to-use, extension for the Google Chrome browser that allows users to choose preset refresh intervals or set a custom interval. Users can choose whether they want to refresh all tabs, all windows, or only the tab they are currently viewing. There is also an option to designate a start and end time. For instance, if an individual only needs auto refresh to receive the latest stock quotes, he or she can set up the auto refresher to start when the market opens and end when the market closes.

After installing Refresh Monkey, users should see a blue button next to the wrench on the address toolbar of their Google Chrome browser. To use the program, click on the button, select the desired settings, and click outside the popup area.


Mozilla Firefox

Auto Refresh is a moderately customizable, but perhaps simpler to use, extension for the Mozilla Firefox browser that allows users to pre-set a variety of refresh intervals, or use the default options, and then activate any one of those intervals anywhere on the browser.

After installation, right-click anywhere within the Firefox browser and hover over Auto Refresh (with a green symbol next to it). Here, users can choose one of seven pre-set time intervals and enable it for the current tab or all the tabs. These seven intervals are the program’s default settings, but users can customize all seven by selecting Customize, located at the bottom of the Auto Refresh list.


Auto Refresh Safari Extension is just that, a Safari browser extension that will automatically refresh a webpage, given an interval. The extension works well, but users can only customize the time interval, which is limited to seconds. Moreover, it will only refresh one tab and will only run on one tab per browser window. However, users can run the program simultaneously in multiple Safari browser windows.

After installation, users will notice a new toolbar. To use the program, simple type in the desired interval (in seconds) and click on the Start button. The toolbar will turn from black to orange and count down the seconds until the page refreshes.

Internet Explorer

AutoRefresher for IE is an Internet Explorer browser add-on that allows users to automatically refresh a webpage by selecting a pre-set time interval or create their own. Though this program can only refresh one tab, users can run it on multiple tabs and IE browser windows.

After installation, users should notice a new toolbar on their browser. If the toolbar does not appear, it can be enabled by pressing Alt to display the Menu bar and going to View > Toolbars > RefresherBand Class. To run the program, click in the white space of the toolbar that says Refresher and select a time interval. The time interval selected will be displayed, but it will not count down.


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