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The thing I like best about Firefox is that just when you think you know everything there is to know about the browser, something new comes along and surprises you.

I discovered five new Firefox tips today. Maybe these are old hat things you might have read in our Firefox manual, and you know them already. Or maybe like me, you had no idea these could be done.

1. Quick search – without going to a search engine first.

Are you reading a website and you subsequently discover a word or phrase that you want to put into a search engine? Up until now, I would just open a new tab, type in the URL for Google and manually type the word or phrase in. But it seems there is a faster easier way.

Just highlight the word or phrase with your mouse’s left-click button. Then drag the highlighted text into the address bar in the browser. Then press “enter”. Firefox will now perform a “Are you feeling lucky?” Google search for you.

2. Delete visited URL’s

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When you drop down the box underneath the address bar, you can see your recent browsing history. But what if you want to remove one URL from that list? Maybe you’ve been looking at a naughty site and you don’t want your girfriend to know? Or maybe you’ve been shopping for your loved one online and you want to keep it a secret?

Just drop down the URL box, highlight the URL you want to zap then press the “delete” button on your keyboard. The URL will then be removed from the list.

3. Navigate to browser tabs using the keyboard

Instead of using the mouse to click on a tab, why not use the keyboard instead? Pressing CTRL + TAB together will bounce you from tab to tab, starting from the one in the far left and working its way along. Or if you want to go to a specifc tab straight away, you can do that too. CTRL + 2 will take you directly to the second tab from the left. CTRL + 5 will take you to the fifth tab from the left.

4. Start downloads instantly

Instead of right-clicking on a download link, choosing “save to target” and pressing enter, just drag the download link to the “downloads icon” in the toolbar. The download will start automatically.

5. Grab files off webpages, even protected webpages

Have you ever wanted a picture, file or video off a webpage but you can’t, because it’s been protected? Just right-click on the page, choose “View Page Info” then the “media” tab. Find the file you’re looking for from the list and click on “save”. (note : this doesn’t work for everything but I have still had a pretty high success rate nonetheless).

  1. Helen
    May 26, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Pretty useful. Thanks for posting!

  2. Joker_H
    March 16, 2009 at 1:38 am

    nice tips
    thank for this one

  3. aboutonlinetips
    December 3, 2008 at 12:01 am

    really helpful !!! nice .........:)

  4. ed
    April 15, 2008 at 2:56 am

    CTRL + SHIFT + T my brethren!

    THE most useful firefox shortcut I have found!
    (It reopens the last-closed tab)

  5. Richard
    March 4, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Tip #1 didn't work for me. When I dragged the highlighted text into the address bar and pressed "Enter," nothing happened. When I clicked the green "go" arrow, Firefox went to the associated web site, same as if I had typed it in.

    However... to do an even faster Google search, you can drag and drop the text directly into the Google search box. You don't even have to press "Enter." This works for all of the search choices (e.g., Wikipedia), not just Google.

  6. Veerasundar
    December 30, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Cool tips.

    Regarding the file download feature, you can use a Firefox plugin Firebug, to easily know the URL of the image/file. Read about Firebug

  7. Sup3R_B0Y
    December 29, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    #2 is damn cool,

    #3 n #5 i already using....

  8. John Smith
    December 28, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Something much, much faster than #4 is to hold down the ALT key and click on any link. It will download automatically.

  9. David Dunn
    December 28, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Cool list of tips there - use most of them already. I kew about the CTRL + TAB function but never knew you could press CTRL + a number and go to that tab. Really cool feature which I will use a fair bit.

    Thanks.

  10. Jojo Temper
    December 28, 2007 at 8:20 am

    4 and 5 are SUPER!

    Thanks for the amazing tips!

  11. dcorwin
    December 27, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    what i hate is when i click in the url area and i let go the mouse it moves just below the url area. Than when i type say ebay.com a drop down box comes up with my previous ebay links and such and of course my mouse automatically highlights it. so than i hit enter thinking i'm going to go to ebay homepage but i end up going to a auction. the one my mouse highlighted that i didn't notice. PITA i say PITA.

    • Mark O'Neill
      December 28, 2007 at 5:29 am

      dcorwin : open a new Firefox tab, type "about:config" (without the speech marks). This opens up your Firefox settings. Type in "browser.urlbar.autoFill" (again without the speech marks). Yours should be set to "true". Double-click on it and change it to "false".

      Close the "about:config" page and restart Firefox. Now whjen you type in a URL, you will be taken to what you specify and not an old sub-page. The tweak you just did stops all your old URL history being highlighted and stops Firefox from taking you to a different page.

    • Joe
      June 12, 2008 at 1:19 am

      This is the most awesome tweak for Firefox ever!!! I can't stress that enough. My whole life of computer learning and internet browsing was that you click the URL and it highlights the whole url and you can simply type a new URL and get going. Not so with the defaults of Firefox. It usually takes me a few attempts to get the whole thing highlighted before I can type a new correct URL... often times I just gave up and CTRL+A'd the stupid thing. This tweak has made my internet browsing THAT much better for me. Thanks so much Mark O'Neill. Now I'm a happy one click highlighting type of guy. Take care!

  12. Jakob
    December 27, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Good guide even though i already knew 4 of 5.

  13. Jon
    December 27, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    So #1 doesn't work for me -- I just get the standard list of search results. But usually I find it easier to just select the text I want to search for, right-click, and select "Search {default search provider] for {selected text}". #5 is pretty rockin though.

    • dkong
      December 27, 2007 at 9:27 pm

      Go to about:config, then type in keyword.url . Change the string to http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&btnI=&q=
      and now when you type something into the address bar it will always go to "I'm feeling lucky".
      The default thing on firefox will give you a site if it's 100% sure it's what you were looking for (like if you type in "youtube"), but otherwise it'll just give you a google search.

      Anyways, I already knew everything but #4.

      For #3, keep in mind that it'll only work for tabs 1-8, cause there's no #10 key, and hitting 1 then 0 won't work. ctrl+9 always gives you the last tab on your tab bar, so keep that in mind.

  14. Rico
    December 27, 2007 at 12:02 am

    To delete history, just press CTRL+Shift+delete to clear all private data.
    Also to search for a keyword, check out a great Firefox extension called Hyperwords.
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1941
    Does a lot more than just search. One of my most used extensions.

    • Aibek
      December 27, 2007 at 9:31 am

      Just checked it out, seems to be pretty good. Thanks for sharing ;-)

      In case anyone wonders, below is the description from the extension page:


      In a single click: Search, References, Conversion, Translation, Shopping, Blogging, Tagging, Email & more. Over 200 quick commands available.

      Select any word or words on any web page. A menu pops-up. Choose from any one of the many powerful commands. And that's it. Fully customizable menu and behavior.

  15. Angad Sodhi
    December 25, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    Hey thanks man!!
    Knew about just the switching tabs.

  16. MJ
    December 25, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    The only problem with using #2 tip is that they are still in your History tab on firefox and I don't know how to delete them out of History without deleting every thing.

    • Aibek
      December 25, 2007 at 1:38 pm

      As long as it doesn't show up in my address drop-down menu I am fine. ;-)

    • Jake
      December 26, 2007 at 6:36 pm

      1. Press Ctrl+H
      2. On the drop-down gear select "By Last Visited"
      3. Find the item you want
      4. Right click on the item and select delete

  17. Mow3
    December 25, 2007 at 7:06 am

    tip #3 is very useful I used A LOT, you can try fancy numbered tabs extension too.

    • Aibek
      December 25, 2007 at 1:37 pm

      This is exactly what I need. I usually have over 40 active tabs, so having them numbered makes tab navigation much easier.

      Thanks

    • cwzachary
      December 28, 2007 at 8:55 am

      A better set of keyboard shortcuts for moving between tabs is Ctrl-PageUp and Ctrl-PageDown. Ctrl_PageUp goes left, Ctrl_PageDown goes right and lets you go from last tab to first tab, or first to last.

  18. tinsie
    December 25, 2007 at 5:44 am

    #2 is very helpful. Thanks a lot for that!

  19. Shankar Ganesh
    December 24, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    Wow great tips, especially #2 is just damn cool! Never thought I could do that.

    • Aibek
      December 25, 2007 at 1:26 pm

      It's my favorite one as well - extremely useful.

    • Luiz
      December 27, 2007 at 10:00 am

      The tip #2 is rly fantastic. This tip doesn't remove only the URLs in the URL Box, but remove the URLs of pages that you've visited. You can test it. :D

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