Web Browser Wednesday

There are all kinds of Firefox tips and tricks available on the Web, and when I come across some of the cool ones (many in forums) I jot them down real quick. That way I don’t have to post about just one of the tricks, and instead I can show you a whole compilation of them. Previously I put together lengthy Firefox 2 tweak guide, and none of the tips that I am about to mention below are in that guide.

For starters, I want to mention that a lot of the tweaks below use custom CSS scripts that need to be integrated with Firefox. You can follow these directions on installing those scripts, or you can also use the Stylish extension which makes it a lot easier. When using the extension you just have to open the extension options and select “Write” to create a new script that you want to use:


Now let’s move on to the tips…

—Removing Menu Items—

Sometimes the menu items (File, Edit, etc…) just seem to get in the way and you never seem to use them. I’m sure many people, for instance, never use the Help menu. Or, if you have an extension managing your bookmarks, you might never use the Bookmarks menu. It is really simple to hide certain menu items using the Stylish extension mentioned above. Just create a new script and insert the following code:

#file-menu, #edit-menu, #view-menu, #bookmarks-menu, #go-menu, #tools-menu, #helpMenu{
display: none !important;}

That code will actually remove all of the menu items, so you should take out the items in that list that you still want to display.

Firefox Menus 


—Change the Search Box size—

For some people the Search Box in the upper-right corner of Firefox is just a little too big. Shrinking it down is very simple to do with Stylish:

#search-container, #searchbar {
max-width: 50px !important;
width: 50px !important; }

The “50px” in both lines represents the width (in pixels) that you want the Search Box to be. I would probably use around 200px because 50px is pretty small.

Firefox Search Bar


—Block Blinking Text—

It is a sad day when you come across a site that still uses blinking text to try and get the reader’s attention. I still see them from time to time, but with a simple about:config trick we can prevent it from happening. If you’re not familiar with the about:config screen please see this quick tutorial I put together

All you have to do is open the about:config screen, find the option browser.blink_allowed and double-click on it so that the value will change to false.

Firefox Blink


—Make JavaScript HyperLinks Noticeable—

I like to be conscious about the links that I am clicking on for a site, and I’m a even more careful when I see a JavaScript link on a site that I’m not familiar with. For that reason you should think about making the JavaScript links more noticeable, and an easy way to do that is altering the cursor when you hover over them. In this example the cursor will change to a crosshair whenever you hover over a hyperlink that actually contains JavaScript:

a[href^="javascript:"]{ cursor: crosshair; }

The result when hovering over a JavaScript hyperlink would look like this:

Firefox Crosshair Javascript

There are a ton of different cursors that you can use in place of “crosshair”, and a good listing of them can be found here.


—Find As You Type Tricks—

Find As You Type is one of my favorite features in Firefox. This feature will start searching a page for text as you type it, which makes finding something specific on a page a lot easier.

I like having the Find As You Type automatically begin as soon as I start typing so on every Firefox installation I always go in and change the setting to enable this:

Firefox Find

Some of you may not like having it work like that, so there is a way that you can use the “Find As You Type” without setting that option. If you want to initiate a Find As You Type just press the forward slash key (“/”) on the keyboard and begin typing your query. You should see a box popup on the bottom of the browser window that displays the characters that are currently being searched for:

Firefox Find

That Quick Find will search all of the text on the page, but what if you’re looking for a link? No problem, instead of typing a forward slash press the apostrophe (‘) key and that will initiate a Quick Find that will only search links. When would this be useful? Sometimes I use it if I have a hard time finding a download link on a site, in which case I’ll do the Quick Find (just searching links) for the word “download.”



Those are the tweaks that I have accumulated over the past few weeks, so I hope that you enjoyed them. One of the things that makes Firefox so great is the customizability that it includes. The deeper you dig, the more tricks you’ll find. Even with everything that I have found up to now, I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface.

In time I’m sure I’ll find more, but if you have any of your own tweaks that you use, make sure you let us know in the comments below!