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Optimizing Firefox: Bunch of (1) worth noting keyboard shortcuts, (2) cool speedup tweaks and (3) usability centered extensions.
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PART1: Cool Shortcuts and Tips

  • Mouse Scroll Button – did you know that clicking on a link with a mouse scroll button opens it in a new tab.
  • Slash (/) – better alternative to ‘Ctrl+F’ shortcut that’s used for within page search. Cool part about it is that you don’t have to close it, it disappears on its own. (Use ‘F3’ for next and ‘SHIFT + F3’ for previous)
  • Apostrophe (‘) – similar to the “/” shortcut but this one searches only among page’s hyperlinks.
  • How To login without visiting the login page in firefox [read it on Geektronica.com]
  • Open Search Results In New Tab [via: tech-recipes.com] – by default when you search from the firefox toolbar, search results displayed within the currently active tab. This tip shows how to change that and let them launch them in a new tab [HowTo: type ‘about:config’ in the URL box -> find ‘browser.search.openintab’ -> double click it to change the value to ‘true’]
  • Stop Window Resizing [via downloadsquad.com] – sometimes you may stumble upon annoying websites that resize your browser window. Here is how to ensure that your window size always stays the same. [HowTo: Go to Tools(or ‘Edit’ for OS X and Linux users) -> Preferences -> Content -> click ‘Advanced’ to the right of ‘Enable Javascript’ -> uncheck ‘Move or Resize Existing Windows’]
  • Assign Keywords to your Bookmarks – yet another cool firefox feature that lets you assign a desired keyword to any of your bookmarks, and later use it in the address bar as a shortcut to your bookmark. [HowTo: right-click on the bookmark -> Properties -> navigate to the ‘Keyword’ field and enter desired(easy-to-remember) keyword -> OK]
  • How to work with groups of tabs in Firefox (lifehacker.com) – quick rundown on how to bookmark a group of open tabs, launch a folder full of bookmarks in tabs, and set a group of tabs as your Firefox home page.
  • Mozilla Cheat Sheet – comprehensive list of Firefox shortcuts

PART2: Speedup Tweaks

1. Moving Firefox to your hard drive when it’s minimized [via cybernetnews.com] – this little fix will move Firefox to your hard drive when you minimize it, as a result it will occupy much less of your RAM while it stays minimized. Cool part about it is that you won’t experience any delays when it’s maximized back.

  • [HowTo: type ‘about:config’ in the URL box -> Right Click in the page, select New and then Boolean -> type in: config.trim_on_minimize and press Enter – > double click to select ‘True’]

2. Stop PDFs from freezing Firefox [via helpero.com]- you have probably experienced this before, whenever you click on a link pointing to a PDF file, firefox freezes for about a minute before it responds correctly. In some cases it may even crash. Following tip shows how to fix this.

  • [HowTo: install PDF Download extension -> Restart FF -> go to Tools -> Add-ons, -> PDF Download and select Options -> in ‘General’ tab check the ‘Open PDF box’ than navigate to ‘PDF opening’ and check the ‘Use OS default viewer’ box -> Click OK]

3. Back-Forward cache [via mozillazine.org ] – Firefox has a special “Back-Forward cache” setting which makes recently visited pages load faster. Based on the amount of RAM, fiirefox decides how many of recently visited pages to keep in cache (i.e. 5 if it’s 512 MB, 8 if it’s 1GB …). If you don’t often revisit recently visited pages (

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  • [HowTo: type ‘about:config’ in the URL box -> browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers -> double click and change the default “-1” value to 0 or something little bigger i.e. 1 or 2]
  • 4. Fetch only what you click [via lifehacker.com] – being a smart browser, Firefox has a feature that downloads pages from links it thinks you may click on viewed pages, i.e. top results on Google search. This results in extra bandwidth, CPU usage and store history for web pages you never viewed. To fix this

    • [HowTo: type ‘about:config’ in the URL box -> double click ‘network.prefetch-next’ to set it to ‘false’]

    5. Disable Memory Leaking Extensions [sources: cybernetnews.com | mozillazine.com ] – quite a few of firefox extensions leak memory resulting in browser slowdown. This maybe due to a poor design or due to conflicts with other installed extensions. The two above mentioned sources list extensions that are known to have problems, along with recommended workarounds.

    PART3: Firefox Extensions

    Below I list a group of handy addons which make-up for missing firefox features. For specific extension roundups, i.e ‘top 10 for productivity’ or ‘top 20 for web developers’, etc. check out earlier post about Top 16 ‘Firefox extensions’ links ever published Top 16 'Firefox Extensions' Links ever published Top 16 'Firefox Extensions' Links ever published Read More .

    1. ColorfulTabs – colors tabs into different colors, which makes it a lot easier to distinguish between multiple tabs.

    2. Firefox Extension Backup – handy addon that lets automatically back up your extensions, themes, bookmarks, preferences, passwords, cookies… or even backup/restore your entire profile.

    3. Amazing Webpage Emailer – lets you easily email any web page to anyone, including web pages that are password-protected / session-specific / require registration / have framesets.

    4. HistorySubmenus – takes your History bar to the next level by adding a submenu for each day along with a list of all sites visited on that day (today, yesterday, 2-3-4 days ago…)

    5. Tab Mix Plus – extremely useful extension that adds lots new features to Firefox’s tab browsing capabilities: duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs/windows, session manager with crash recovery and more

    6. OpenSearch – if your favorite website has search capabilities (eg. makeuseof.com :-) ), then this slim addon can add it to your search toolbar for quick search access. Say you need a quick lookup for free file sharing(or any other web tool) then having makeuseof among one of your search engines should do the job

    7. FaviconizeTab – This extension adds a new “FaviconizeTab” option to the context menu of the tab. When it is clicked, The width of the tab becomes small up to the size of favicon. Great if you keep a lot of tabs open like me

    8. Clear Cache Button – adds ‘clear cache’ button to your toolbar

    For more Firefox tips and tricks, don’t forget to check out our MUO Firefox manual!

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