Web Browser Wednesday

Did you know that both Firefox and Opera come with shortcuts to make downloading files a quick and painless process? It’s true, but few people know about the shortcuts that can save oodles of time. Lets take a look at how we can trim some time off of downloading files in Firefox and Opera.


In the Firefox Options there is a setting where you can designate a default location for files to be downloaded. Once enabled it will automatically download all of the files to this location without ever prompting you. Some people like this because it requires far less work since it bypasses all prompts, but you also don’t get to choose the designated name for the file from within Firefox.

Firefox Downloads Options

It’s okay if you’re not one of those users who have it setup to automatically save files to one specific location, because we’ve got some tricks for you. Here are two ways that you can bypass being prompted for a location and file name on a per-download basis:

  1. Drag and drop a download link onto the download icon in the toolbar. This icon is not visible by default, but can be added by right-clicking on the navigation bar and dragging the icon where you would like it.
    Firefox Download Icon
  2. When you come across a file that you want just Alt+Click on the link.

Personally I prefer the Alt+Click method of doing thing because it seems faster than dragging a link to the toolbar, but it’s all a personal preference.


Opera also has some great tricks up its sleeve for making downloading both files and images just a little bit easier. If you head on over to the Preferences -> Advanced -> Downloads you’ll be able to specify a default download folder. This is the location used when you try to do some of the things we’re about to show you.

Opera Download Default

So how can you avoid some of the hassles with downloads in Opera? Here’s what you want to know:

  1. Right-click on any link and select the Save to Download Folder option to have the download start immediately without any prompts.
    Opera Save to Folder
  2. In the Transfers window (Ctrl+Alt+T) there is a box labeled Quick Download. Whatever address you paste into that box will be downloaded to your default location. You can also add this download box to any toolbar by right-clicking on a toolbar and selecting Customize. Then go to Buttons -> Panels, and drag the Quick Download box wherever you would like it.
    Opera Quick Download
  3. If you Ctrl+Click on an image you will immediately be prompted with the Save As dialog where you can specify the file name of the image. This is an alternative method to right-clicking on an image and selecting the save option.

It’s pretty incredible how many time-saving techniques have been implanted into the browsers, but very few people know about them. If you know of other great ways for quick downloads in Firefox or Opera be sure to leave a comment below.