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Cool FireFox Secrets and Tricks

Guest bigdady

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Guest bigdady

Everybody’s favorite open-source browser, Firefox, is great right out of the box. And by adding some of the awesome extensions available out there, the browser just gets better and better.

But look under the hood, and there are a bunch of hidden (and some not-so-secret) tips and tricks available that will crank Firefox up and pimp your browser. Make it faster, cooler, more efficient. Get to be a Jedi master with the following cool Firefox tricks.

1) More screen space. Make your icons small. Go to View - Toolbars - Customize and check the “Use small icons” box.

2)Smart Keywords. If there’s a search you use a lot (let’s say IMDB.com’s people search), this is an awesome tool that not many people use. Right-click on the search box, select “Add a Keyword for this search”, give the keyword a name and an easy-to-type and easy-to-remember shortcut name (let’s say “actor”) and save it. Now, when you want to do an actor search, go to Firefox’s address bar, type “actor” and the name of the actor and press return. Instant search! You can do this with any search box.

3) Keyboard shortcuts. This is where you become a real Jedi. It just takes a little while to learn these, but once you do, your browsing will be super fast. Here are some of the most common (and my personal favs):

Spacebar (page down)

Shift-Spacebar (page up)

Ctrl+F (find)

Alt-N (find next)

Ctrl+D (bookmark page)

Ctrl+T (new tab)

Ctrl+K (go to search box)

Ctrl+L (go to address bar)

Ctrl+= (increase text size)

Ctrl+- (decrease text size)

Ctrl-W (close tab)

F5 (reload)

Alt-Home (go to home page)

4) Auto-complete. This is another keyboard shortcut, but it’s not commonly known and very useful. Go to the address bar (Control-L) and type the name of the site without the “www” or the “.com”. Let’s say “google”. Then press Control-Enter, and it will automatically fill in the “www” and the “.com” and take you there - like magic! For .net addresses, press Shift-Enter, and for .org addresses, press Control-Shift-Enter.

5) Tab navigation. Instead of using the mouse to select different tabs that you have open, use the keyboard. Here are the shortcuts:

Ctrl+Tab (rotate forward among tabs)

Ctrl+Shft+Tab (rotate to the previous tab)

Ctrl+1-9 (choose a number to jump to a specific tab)

6) Mouse shortcuts. Sometimes you’re already using your mouse and it’s easier to use a mouse shortcut than to go back to the keyboard. Master these cool ones:

Middle click on link (opens in new tab)

Shift-scroll down (previous page)

Shift-scroll up (next page)

Ctrl-scroll up (decrease text size)

Ctrl-scroll down (increase text size)

Middle click on a tab (closes tab)

7) Delete items from address bar history. Firefox’s ability to automatically show previous URLs you’ve visited, as you type, in the address bar’s drop-down history menu is very cool. But sometimes you just don’t want those URLs to show up (I won’t ask why). Go to the address bar (Ctrl-L), start typing an address, and the drop-down menu will appear with the URLs of pages you’ve visited with those letters in them. Use the down-arrow to go down to an address you want to delete, and press the Delete key to make it disappear.

8) Create a user.js file. Another way to customize Firefox, creating a user.js file can really speed up your browsing. You’ll need to create a text file named user.js in your profile folder (see this or find out where the profile folder is) and see this that you can modify. Created by techlifeweb.com, this example explains some of the things you can do in its comments.

9) Add a keyword for a bookmark. Go to your bookmarks much faster by giving them keywords. Right-click the bookmark and then select Properties. Put a short keyword in the keyword field, save it, and now you can type that keyword in the address bar and it will go to that bookmark.

10) Speed up Firefox. If you have a broadband connection (and most of us do), you can use pipelining to speed up your page loads. This allows Firefox to load multiple things on a page at once, instead of one at a time (by default, it’s optimized for dialup connections). Here’s how:

Type “about:config” into the address bar and hit return. Type “network.http” in the filter field, and change the following settings (double-click on them to change them):

Set “network.http.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.proxy.pipelining” to “true”

Set “network.http.pipelining.maxrequests” to a number like 30. This will allow it to make 30 requests at once.

Also, right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it “nglayout.initialpaint.delay” and set its value to “0?. This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

11) Limit RAM usage. If Firefox takes up too much memory on your computer, you can limit the amount of RAM it is allowed to us. Again, go to about:config, filter “browser.cache” and select “browser.cache.disk.capacity”. It’s set to 50000, but you can lower it, depending on how much memory you have. Try 15000 if you have between 512MB and 1GB ram.

12) Reduce RAM usage further for when Firefox is minimized. This setting will move Firefox to your hard drive when you minimize it, taking up much less memory. And there is no noticeable difference in speed when you restore Firefox, so it’s definitely worth a go. Again, go to about:config, right-click anywhere and select New-> Boolean. Name it “config.trim_on_minimize” and set it to TRUE. You have to restart Firefox for these settings to take effect.

13) Move or remove the close tab button. Do you accidentally click on the close button of Firefox’s tabs? You can move them or remove them, again through about:config. Edit the preference for “browser.tabs.closeButtons”. Here are the meanings of each value:

0. Display a close button on the active tab only

1. (Default) Display close buttons on all tabs

2. Don’t display any close buttons

3. Display a single close button at the end of the tab bar (Firefox 1.x behavior)

10 must have addons on firefox

Fox Torrent

FoxTorrent incorporates a BitTorrent client into your browser. This add-on gives you the ability to monitor and control the download progress of torrent files in a sleek and easy to use interface which is displayed in your browser's main window.

Fast Video Download

Fast Video Download gives you the ability to download and save video files from a number of popular sites including MySpace and YouTube. Embedded videos on an open Web page can be downloaded by simply clicking an icon in your browser's status bar.

Download Them All

DownThemAll! is an extremely powerful download manager and accelerator for the Firefox web browser. This feature-rich extension not only speeds up your downloads but allows you to easily retrieve links and images from a Web page.

Downloads in Tab

Downloads in Tab automatically opens the browser's Download Manager in a new tab whenever a download begins. Several configuration options are available, allowing you to control tab and window behavior during active and completed file downloads.


FireFTP lets you access a full-featured File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client from right within your browser window, giving you the ability to upload and download files to and from FTP servers

Stupid Chrome Tasks

Stupid Chrome Tasks allows you to clear your history of downloaded files. The add-on informs you of the number of items currently recorded by Chrome's download history and provides a button which, when pressed, clears that entire list.

Torrent Finder

The Torrent Finder Toolbar allows you to simultaneously search over 100 torrent sites directly from your web browser. Loaded with various customization options, this add-on makes it very simple to find the active torrents that you are looking for.

Download Helper

Video DownloadHelper gives you the ability to capture and download audio, video, and image files from web sites like YouTube and MySpace. You can also receive alerts whenever a new video is available within your interest range on a select group of sites.

PDF Download

PDF Download gives you several options when you click on a link whose target is a file in the .pdf format. You are given the ability to display the file within or outside of Firefox, save it to your hard drive, or view it in HTML format by using on the fly conversion.

Bandwidth Meter

Bandwidth Meter and Diagnostics performs connection speed tests in addition to providing your public IP address and domain name. Also, Internet connection status as well as several diagnostic tools are provided whenever a Web page fails to load.

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