Firefox is one of the more popular web browsers that runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. Firefox has a lot of built-in, useful features and you can install many extensions to expand its functionality.
We’ve covered a lot of functionality in Firefox and have included links to articles below that cover features and extensions that can help you make the most out of Firefox and improve your web browsing experience.
Firefox’s tab bar is very useful on its own, and it can be enhanced with many extensions. The following articles show you how to hide and show the tab bar, and how to close a tab using a shortcut key, and tips for removing the close button from tabs. You can also learn the difference between protecting a tab and locking a tab. Customize and enhance your tab bar using one of two very useful extensions, Tab Mix Plus and Tab Kit.
- Hide and Show the Tab Bar in Firefox with a Custom Keyboard Shortcut Combo
- When to Use Protect Tab vs. Lock Tab in Firefox
- Customize Tab Behavior in Firefox with Tab Kit
- Enhance Firefox’s Tab Browsing Capabilities with Tab Mix Plus
- Manage Open Tabs & Windows Easily with Firefox Showcase
- Add an Easy to View Notification Badge to Tabs in Firefox
- Close Tab Quickly with a Shortcut Key in Firefox
- Quick Tip: Remove Close Button from Firefox Tabs
- View and Flip Between Firefox Tabs in 3D
- Quick Tip: Firefox Ctrl+Tab Popup Menu Switcher
Bookmarks, Toolbars, and Menus
The following articles show you different ways to enhance and customize the bookmarks feature in Firefox as well as the toolbars and menus. You can easily access your unsorted bookmarks, always open bookmarks on new tabs, and add specialized buttons to the toolbars. The Bookmarks toolbar can be reduced to a single toolbar button and also automatically hidden to save space. There is also an extension that allows you to customize your menus so you can only display options that you use.
NOTE: Accessing the Library is different that mentioned in the article about accessing unsorted bookmarks below (“Access Your Unsorted Bookmarks the Easy Way”). To access the Library, select Show All Bookmarks from the Bookmarks menu, or from the Bookmarks button on the Bookmarks toolbar. You can also press Ctrl + Shift + B.
- Access Your Unsorted Bookmarks the Easy Way
- Make Bookmarks Always Open in New Tabs the Easy Way
- Add Specialized Toolbar Buttons to Firefox the Easy Way
- Add a Hovering Image Toolbar to Firefox
- Customize Your Menus in Firefox
- Reduce Your Bookmarks Toolbar to a Toolbar Button – How-To Geek
- Autohide the Bookmarks Toolbar in Firefox – How-To Geek
Links and URLs
Do you copy links and URLs often in Firefox? There are several extensions that make it easier to copy links and URLs in different formats and save links and URLs as files. You can also easily preview links and webpages before actually clicking the links, and view URLs as tooltips instead of the URL displaying in the status bar.
We also listed an extension below that allows you to easily create shortened URLs for emailing to friends or posting in forums or on social networking sites and one that extends shortened URLs so you can see to where links actually link and avoid clicking on potentially harmful, malicious links.
- Create Pre-Formatted Links in Firefox
- Choose from Multiple “Copy” Formats for Webpage Links in Firefox
- Launch Websites Easily in Firefox with Your Keyboard
- Save Webpage Links & URLs as Files in Firefox
- Preview Links and Images in Firefox the Easy Way
- View URLs as Tooltips in Firefox
- Quickly and Easily Shorten URLs Using a Firefox Extension
- Easily Expand Shortened URLs in Firefox
We all fill out forms on the web to sign up for forums, buy things, etc. If something goes wrong while you are filling out a form, you may have to fill out the form all over again. One of the articles listed below shows you to use an extension for Firefox that allows you to recover lost form data and automatically paste it back into the form.
There is also a link to an article about a Firefox extension that allows you to store a library of clipped text that you use often in forms and easily insert the text clippings into forms using a Firefox extension.
If you like to customize the appearance of Firefox, there are articles listed below that help you with User Styles, which allow you to change the way websites look, and Personas, which are free, easy-to-install “skins” for Firefox. There is also an article that shows you a quick tip about how to disable favicons that display on the address bar in Firefox.
- Beginner Guide to User Styles for Firefox
- Quick Tip: Disable Favicons in Firefox
- Extend Firefox’s Built-in Personas Functionality with Personas Plus
There are many ways to customize Firefox. The following articles show you some way such as using Firefox’s About: pages, setting Firefox to be on top of all other windows on your desktop, preventing the Downloads window from displaying every time you download a file, and combining the address and search bars. If you decide you want to go back to Firefox’s default settings, the “Restore the Default Settings in Firefox Without Uninstalling It” article shows you how to do this without having to reinstall Firefox.
NOTE: If you are using Firefox Portable and want to restore the default settings without reinstalling the program as discussed in the “Restore the Default Settings in Firefox Without Uninstalling It” article below, there is a way to start Firefox Portable in Safe Mode.
- Find Hidden Features and Easter Eggs on Firefox’s About: Pages
- Restore the Default Settings in Firefox Without Uninstalling It
- Set Firefox to Be On Top of Other Windows
- Stop Downloads Window From Popping Up In Firefox
- Combine the Address & Search Bars in Firefox
A web cache is a place for the temporary storage of web documents, such as HTML pages and images. The cache can reduce bandwidth usage and server load. It also helps if you lose your connection and you want to view a web page. The following articles show you how to access Firefox’s cache and how to clear the cache with one click.
NOTE: The toolbar button for the Empty Cache Button extension is now called Empty Cache, and looks like the button under the cursor in the image below.
Security and Privacy
- View and Delete Stored Passwords in Firefox
- Remove or Block Cookies Easily in Firefox
- Remove the History for the Website You Just Visited in Firefox
- Switch to Private Browsing Mode Easily with Toggle Private Browsing
- How to Optimize Mozilla Firefox for Maximum Privacy
- Clear Your Browser History Automatically When Firefox Closes
Profiles, Backups, and Syncing
After setting options in Firefox and installing extensions to get the browser just the way you want it, it’s a good idea to backup your profile, which contains all these options and extensions. Below is a link to an article about a free tool called MozBackup that will backup your entire Firefox profile, as well as other Mozilla software, including portable applications. There is also a link below to an article about syncing your Firefox data with Firefox on other computers and devices. We even show you a stupid geek trick that allows you to hack the Firefox profile data storage and change information in your profile using an SQL database editor.
- How To Sync Your Browser Data with Firefox Sync
- Stupid Geek Tricks: Hacking the Firefox Profile Data Storage
- Backup Your Mozilla-Based Software with MozBackup
Speed and Performance
Does Firefox seem slow and sluggish? Firefox can use quite a bit of system memory during normal use. There are different ways of speeding up Firefox and improving its performance. One of the articles listed below discusses whether Firefox memory cleaners actually work. We have also reviewed four free tools that allow you to benchmark your web browser, two of which work with Firefox.
- How to Benchmark Your Web Browser: 4 Free Tools
- HTG Explains: Do Firefox Memory Cleaners Actually Work?
A big part of surfing the web is downloading all kinds of things like programs, images, music, movies, etc. Firefox has its own downloads manager, but you can add advanced download capabilities to Firefox with the DownThemAll extension. If you want a different default location for downloads, you can easily change download file location in Firefox by changing a setting.
- Add Advanced Download Capabilities to Firefox with DownThemAll
- Quick Tip: Change Firefox Download File Location
Searching the web is something most of us do daily. Below are some links to articles about Firefox features and extensions that improve and enhance the search capabilities of Firefox. You can easily choose to open the results of searches in a new tab, organize your search engines into folders, search directly from Firefox’s address bar, and add search forms from websites to the Firefox search bar.
- Quick Tip: Open Firefox Searches in New Tab
- Organize Your Firefox Search Engines Into Folders
- Search Directly from Firefox’s Address Bar using Quick Search Shortcuts
- Add Search Forms to the Firefox Search Bar
Other Useful Extensions
There are many extensions available to enhance the functionality of Firefox, too many to name here. We have listed below some of the extensions we have covered on How-To Geek that can improve and enhance your web browsing experience with Firefox.
NOTE: The ReloadEvery extension talked about in the “Set Up Automatic Timed Page Reloading on Your Webpages in Firefox” article below is also integrated into the Tab Mix Plus extension mentioned in the Tabs section at the beginning of this article.
- Add Submenus to the History Menu
- View HTML Tags and Webpage Combined in Firefox
- Save Links for Later Reading in Firefox
- Create Notes Inside (and Outside) of Firefox
- Access Offline or Overloaded Webpages in Firefox
- ScrollyFox Provides Automated Page Scrolling in Firefox
- Shift Between Preset Window Sizes in Firefox with ResizeIT
- Simplify Text Copying & Pasting in Firefox with AutoCopy
- Set Up Automatic Timed Page Reloading on Your Webpages in Firefox
We have also covered a Firefox extension that allows you to keep tabs on whether your extensions will work with upcoming versions of Firefox. There is also an extension that allows you to report problems with extensions back to the developer directly from within the Add-ons Manager.
- Check Extension Compatibility for Upcoming Firefox Releases
- Test and Report Add-on Compatibility in Firefox
We wish you safe and happy web browsing in Firefox!
Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.
- Published 04/21/12