Beginner’s Guide to Customizing FireFox

Starting with the Basic Download

After you download FireFox, there are already tons of customizations you can make to the default browser. Right click on anywhere on the browser buttons. You should see four selections. The top three options stand for the top three lines of options you see on top of the browser. You can un-check any of the top three options and they will be gone from your browser. However, the most powerful part of the customization lies in-surprise-the ‘customize’ option. Let’s face it, you don’t really use half the buttons in the menus and does the URL field need that much real estate on your browser?

With the ‘customize’ option, you can click and drag any options off and on to the browser. You can place the default options in more reachable places, use smaller icons in the menu so you can see a slightly bigger view of a webpage. Hey, the more you can see at first sight, the faster you can get your information.

Later, when you add more FireFox extensions, you can also add more buttons in places that you want, instead letting the browser decide which is the best real estate for your browsing.

Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

If you’ve been using computers for a while, you’ll know the keyboard shortcuts for cut and paste with the CTRL key. Well, try these easy to remember shortcuts for browsing the web. Make sure FireFox is the main application on your screen. You’ll find if you press the SPACE key, you can scroll down the page. No need to grab the mouse or the down arrow when the huge spacebar is there for you. If it doesn’t work for you, make sure the cursor isn’t highlighting other places.

One of the most touted functions of FireFox is the tabbed browsing function. You can open up multiple screens in one browser. To open up a new tab, use CTRL + T. If you like to stay with the classic new window, you can also use CTRL + N.

Technically, CTRL + N also works with Internet Explorer. In addition, another good short cut is the F5 key, which refreshes your screen. That also works with FireFox and Internet Explorer.

2 Helpful Extensions for Basic Browsing

Here’s one that’s about real estate again. The reload and stop button are usually mutually exclusive. That is, you only need one at a time. There is an extension to merge the two buttons together, so when a page is loading, the stop button appears and when a page is not loading, the reload button appears. It is called the “Stop-or-Reload Button” extension.

Tabbed browsing is cool, but ideally, each tab should come with its own close button, instead of one close button that closes the tab in focus. When each tab has its own close button, you are saved from an extra click to get a specific tab before hitting the close button. There is an extension for that called “Tab X”.

For more extensions, just select ‘Tools’, and ‘Extensions’. You’ll see how many extensions you have installed and see the link to take you to more extensions.

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