Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Firefox keyboard shortcuts

Learning to use Firefox keyboard shortcuts to reduce your trips to the mouse can lead to a much more fulfilling web browsing experience, especially at those times that your mouse just isn't doing the trick.

Okay, you got me. I have, on occasion (read: often), neglected to charge my wireless mouse for long enough that, when it's time to get posting on Lifehacker, I find myself totally mouse-less.

Now you're thinking, "What, just because this wire-hating jerk can't remember to put his mouse on the charger every now and then, I'm supposed to get all excited about the idea of using Firefox without a mouse?" But that's not it at all, people!

I'm the kind of web surfer who's never terribly happy when he has to move his hand over to the mouse, and frankly, jumping over to the mouse every time you need to follow a link is so 2004. Check out the following Firefox keyboard shortcuts (some well-known, others not), and before long you'll forget all about the little rodent next to your keyboard.

Navigation from the toolbar

The address bar shortcut should be as instinctual as breathing by now, but there's a few more shortcuts to that top bar that you should keep in mind.

  • Select location bar: Ctrl/Cmd+L or Alt+D
  • Select search bar: Ctrl/Cmd+K
  • Back: Backspace or Alt/Cmd+Left
  • Forward: Alt/Option+Right or Shift+Backspace
  • Change search engine: Ctrl/Cmd+Down (Next) +Up (Previous)

The last shortcut, used to change the search engine, was a big discovery for me. I've always been interested in additional search bar plugins, but it was never worth the trip to the mouse. No problem any more.

Searching pages

The find-as-you-type feature was an epiphany. While Google is great at getting you to the right web page, Firefox's find-as-you-type feature gets you the rest of the way.

  • Find as you type text: /
  • Find as you type link: '
  • Regular old find: Ctrl/Cmd+F

The link search is very useful, especially when used in conjunction with...

Opening pages

Unless you do all of your browsing in one page, these shortcuts are huge when you don't want to go running for your mouse.

  • Open link in new window: Shift+Enter
  • Open link in new tab: Ctrl/Cmd+Enter
  • Open address/search in new tab: Alt/Option+Enter

Used together with their respective shortcuts (address and search bar shortcuts and the find-as-you-type link shortcut), the page opening shortcuts go a long way toward mouse-less browsing.

Grab bag

The following shortcuts fall into a more general grab bag of useful shortcuts.

  • Caret browsing: F7
  • Refresh: Ctrl/Cmd+R or F5
  • Refresh (override cache): Ctrl/Cmd+F5 or Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+R
  • Switch tabs: Ctrl/Cmd+Tab
  • Select tab (1-9): Ctrl/Cmd+[1-9]
  • Compose email: Ctrl/Cmd+M

The preceding shortcuts are of mostly obvious usefulness. Switching tabs and reloading pages are must-have shortcuts for any mouse-eschewing Firefox-er. A less-known feature, Caret browsing, inserts a cursor into the text of the page and is very useful for highlighting and copying text.

If you're looking to change your default mail program (e.g. to Gmail, etc.) to best utilize the Compose email shortcut, check out these tips for setting your default mail program.

So you're a web writer, huh?

If you've recently turned Firefox into a full-fledged web writer, then there are a couple more useful shortcuts that you need to know.

And there's so much more!

Hate the mouse and the keyboard? While I can't solve that entirely, I can suggest that you throw some very useful and time-saving Quick searches into the mix.


Keyconfig extension

Finally, if you haven't totally satisfied your shortcut cravings, you can install the Keyconfig extension. Keyconfig allows you to define Firefox shortcuts to your hearts content.

Download Keyconfig

Some of the shortcuts above may be old hat, while others may be news to you. I've excluded a lot of the more obvious universal shortcuts (like copy and paste), but I tried to include everything you need to browse just as you would with a mouse in hand. Still not enough? You might want to check out the full list of Firefox keyboard shortcuts.

Any other must-have Firefox shortcuts or extensions that make the mouse-less Firefox experience that much easier? Let us know in the comments or send an email to tips at

Author: Adam Pash

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Always use the "Master Password" feature in Firefox.
This is very important in order to prevent some one from seeing your passwords.

If you have a good firewall no one can access your passwords via a remote computer.
So your passwords will remain safe even if you dont use a master password.
But problems may arise IF your firewall fails at an intrusion attempt.
Webpages can also use ActiveX controls to breach your browser security.
So it is recommended to always use a Master Password.

icon_arrow.gif Go to "Tools" Select "Options"
Go to "Security" tab and check the box named "Use a Master Password"

icon_arrow.gif In the box that pops up, type the preferred master password twice.
Always use passwords that are easy to remember,
which has >10 characters,
which is a non dictionary word,
which is not a common name and
which is not the name of your ex-gf/bf.

Always use numbers in the password. If possible, add a symbol (eg: %) too.
It will take years to crack such a password.

Here are two firefox extensions which can be used to make your passwords even more secure.

Secure Log in

It works the same way as opera's wand log in.
It uses the default password manager in firefox and adds an icon to your statusbar and navigation bar.
When you reach a log in page for a stored password, the Key icon changes colour.
It can also play a custom sound file.
Now you just need to press the icon to Sign In.
This extension works in Firefox 3 Beta also.


Master Password Timeout 0.2.5

By default, 300 secs (5 min) of inactivity will lock the master security device,
but this value can be adjusted in the extension manager options window.
Users can also log out of the master security device manually from the tools or context menu.

When the master security device is locked, the master password must be entered to gain access to saved passwords.
You may assign a master password in Tools > Options > Privacy > Passwords > Set Master Password.



Firefox has a wonderful inbuilt RSS reader. RSS readers makes it possible for people to
keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that's easier than checking them manually.

I will explain how it works by an example,
icon_arrow.gif Go to the site which you want to track.

icon_arrow.gif Click on "Bookmarks" and select "Subscribe to this page"

icon_arrow.gif In the new page that appears, use "Live Bookmarks" to subscribe to the feed. And press "Subscribe Now"

icon_arrow.gif Go to the your Bookmarks Menu and you can easily access the Feed by selecting its name.


Most often we use "Remember Passwords" when we log in to a website.
There's an option to view all of it together.

icon_arrow.gif Go to "Tools" and select "Options" (Shortcut to this step:Alt+O)

icon_arrow.gif Click on "Show Passwords"

icon_arrow.gif In the new menu that opens up, you can see the accounts in which you have asked
firefox to remember passwords. Again Click on "Show Passwords"

icon_arrow.gif If you have enabled a master password, a new window will open up asking for it.
Enter it in the box and press "Ok" If you haven't enabled it, you wont be prompted.

icon_arrow.gif Finally a box will open up showing all the saved passwords.
Press "Hide Passwords" to hide the passwords again.


icon_arrow.gif Just drag and select the text you want.

icon_arrow.gif Right click and select the option "Search with Google"

icon_arrow.gif You can also change the search engine in the right click,
for that go to the search panel and change the search engine.


icon_arrow.gif 1. Open the Mozilla Addons webpage
Only RxPG members can see links here! Register or Sign In!

icon_arrow.gif 2. Click on the "Search Engines" link on the left hand side of the screen.

icon_arrow.gif 3. In that page you will 21 popular search engines. Just click on them, Press 'Add' in the dialog box that opens up.

icon_arrow.gif 4. If the search engine you want is not on that list, Scroll down till you see the heading "Additional Resources"

icon_arrow.gif 5. Click on the Mycroft.mozdev link

icon_arrow.gif 6. In the Mycroft Project page, You will see a Search box with the name "Site Name / URL:"

icon_arrow.gif 7. Enter the URL of the search engine you want. Eg: I want to add photobucket image search to my firefox, so i entered its URL.

icon_arrow.gif 8. Press 'Search'

icon_arrow.gif 9. In the new page that opens up, you will see the name of the search engine, Just click on it.

icon_arrow.gif 10. Press 'Add' in the dialog box that opens up.


icon_arrow.gif This is a simple but less known tip on how to arrange your bookmarks in alphabetical order.

icon_arrow.gif Open the 'Bookmarks' menu from the firefox Menu bar.

icon_arrow.gif Place the mouse pointer on any of your bookmark, Right Click and Click on "Sort by name"

Thats it! Its done.

Tweak Firefox Looks

Compact Firefox Layout

icon_arrow.gif 1. Go to the "View", select "Toolbars" and untick the "Bookmarks Toolbar"

icon_arrow.gif 2. Again go to "View", select "Sidebar" and untick any sidebar if you had enabled any.

icon_arrow.gif 3. Go to "View", then select "Customize"

icon_arrow.gif 4. In the "Customize Toolbar" box which appears, select "Show" - "Icons" (not 'Icons and Text', or Text).
If you want you can also tick 'Use Small Icons'

icon_arrow.gif 5. Now remove every icon in the Firefox toolbar at the top of the browser which you don’t need.
Eg: drag and drop the "Activity Indicator" into the "Customize Toolbar" box to remove it from the Firefox toolbar.
You can always re-add these at any time.

icon_arrow.gif 6. Now drag and drop each icon in the navigation bar(the bar below the firefox menu)
Firefox toolbar up to the top toolbar, just to the right of the 'Help' menu.
This includes the large white Address box, the Search bar. So as to have everything on a single toolbar.

icon_arrow.gif 7. Insert any additional icons from the "Customize Toolbar"' box into the relevant spots
on the top Firefox toolbar. When finished, click the Done button.

icon_arrow.gif 8. Finally, go to "View" and untick the the "Navigation Toolbar" as it should now be completely empty now.

icon_arrow.gif 9. Thats it you are done. You can re-arrange these anytime you want.