5+ Ways To Enhance Productivity With FireFox’s Address Bar

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I use FireFox’s Location Bar (or Address bar or awesome bar) far more often than any other browser bar. This is where I navigate to web pages from, this is where I search from – obviously this is the most important part of the browser.

Quite naturally, if you configure the Firefox address bar to best fit your needs, you may be able to considerably increase your productivity.

Again, no need to install all those addons listed, just choose those that are likely to help you get things done faster.

1. FireFox Shortcuts For The Address Bar

In the official list of the shortcuts we only can find a couple of those related to the Firefox address (location) bar:

Command Windows Mac Linux
Select All Text in Location Bar (e.g. to quickly copy it) Ctrl+L or Alt+D Cmd+L Ctrl+L or Alt+D
Complete .com domain Ctrl + Enter Cmd + Enter Ctrl + Enter
Complete .net domain Shift+Enter Shift+Enter Shift+Enter
Complete .org domain Ctrl+Shift+Enter Cmd+Shift+Enter Ctrl+Shift+Enter

 

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Note: you can change the auto-complete behavior by installing this Firefox plugin: URL Suffix . This addon is also great for non-US users who need to quicker access regional extensions (like .com.ua, .ru, etc):

URL suffix

2. (Mistyped) URL Path Fixes

With FireFox’s awesome bar which does a great job suggesting what I am going to type, I use the address bar more and more often to type the URL manually. Therefore the following two addons (that make sure I don’t spend much time dealing with mistypes) are just invaluable:

URL Corrector

This addon makes sure you always type the address using English letters, no matter which language your computer is currently set to use. As a user with Russian origins (and thus having two languages on my laptop I regularly switch between), this addon is very useful for me.

(Note: I haven’t tested it with any other languages except Russian):

URL corrector

URL Fixer

This addon corrects typos in URLs that you enter in the address bar. You can enable or disable confirmation options for the tool to ask you first if you want the URL corrected:

  • Corrects common misspellings of .com, .net, .org, .edu, .gov, .mil, etc;
  • Fixes the protocol mistypes (http:, https:);
  • Fixes mistakes in most popular domains (the database seems fairly large to me or probably it pulls domains from my browsing history – I am not sure about that):

URL fixer

You can turn off/on the confirmation window by right-clicking on the Firefox address bar:

URL fixer: conformation

Another similar addon that can be used for URL correction is FireFix. It claims to “learn and correct mistyped web addresses typed in the address bar”. I found URL Fixer more usable but it’s up to you.

3. Faster Browsing

Locationbar2

Locationbar2 “linkifies URL segments” which basically means that you can easily click-through upper-level folders in the URL path (hold CTRL, Shift or Alt for that). Besides, it has a nice visual effect putting emphasis on the domain to reduce the clutter:

Locationbar

UrlbarExtM

UrlbarExt extends the Location Bar with a set of commands. I have hidden most of the commands but a few of them seem really useful:

  • Go one directory level up in the URL;
  • Copy the URL;
  • Shorten the URL:

URLExtbar

The options allow to hide any of the commands from the location bar:

URL bar extension

4. Enhanced Search Options

There are quite a few addons that add/fix search capabilities of FireFox (Awesome) Location bar. Here I am listing my personal picks (choosing is either of them is the best way to go):

CyberSearch

This one was already mentioned by me in the post on making FireFox more search-friendly. The addon supports multiple Google services and also displays your related search history (it’s limited to Google only):

  • gweb – Google general search;
  • gloc – Google local search;
  • gvid – Google video search;
  • gblog – Google blog search;
  • gnews – Google news search;
  • gbook – Google book search;
  • gimg – Google image search;
  • gpat – Google patent search.

CyberSearch

Omnibar

This addon integrates search bar into the location bar: it shows both search and URL suggestions and adds some handy search options.

With Omnibar you can switch between the search engines right from the address bar (just click on the search engine icon in the location bar):

Omnibar search engines

It has other nice features like wildcard support, mouseless search engine switching (works pretty much like FireFox’s smart keywords) and auto-complete.

The addon is not perfect (see the discussed bugs) but it has been doing its job pretty well for me so far.

Via options you can set the number and the style of the suggestions displayed:

Omnibar

5. About:Config Hacks

1. Auto-Completion:

If you don’t have Omnibar installed for auto-completion functionality, you can add it yourself from about:config

  1. In the address bar type about:config;
  2. Filter: browser.urlbar.autoFill
  3. Double-click on the value for “browser.urlbar.autoFill“ to set it to True.

Auto-complete

2. Easier Partial URL Highlighting

By default, Firefox automatically highlights the entire URL; to change this default behavior (if you, like me, have to copy parts of the URL paths frequently), you will need to do the following:

  1. In the address bar type about:config;
  2. Filter: browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll
  3. Double-click on the value to make it False:

easier highlighting

Non-Productivity Addons For The Firefox Address Bar

Just a couple of addons that are not really about productivity but are just fun:

  • Fission combines the address bar and progress bar (Safari style) which makes loading websites fun.
  • TwitterBar allows you to tweet right from your address bar. For active Twitter users this can actually be a time saver.

Now, which hacks do you use to customize your FireFox address bar?

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