Posts Tagged ‘Firefox’

firefox logo

Tabbed browsing is one of the most(if not the most) important features of modern browsers, and when the browser is Firefox you can expect some extra customizations. Here is a complete (I tried to make it) guide to a better tabbed browsing experience:


Tab Related Shortcuts:

Open a new tab Ctrl + T
Close current tab Ctrl + W
Cycle through open tabs Ctrl + Tab (right), Shift + Ctrl + Tab (left)
Switch to a tab Ctrl + [1-9] ,where 1-9 is the number of the tab
Middle Click on link Opens in new tab
Middle Click on open tab Closes the tab
Ctrl + Click on a link Opens in new tab
Open Closed Tab Ctrl + Shift + T

Tabs Related Preferences

Type about:config in the address/location bar to access the following preferences.

  • browser. link. open_external :
    • Modifies where to open external link sent by other applications like IM client, AV etc, Values: 3: open link in new tab in current window, 2: Open link in new window, 1: Open link in current tab
  • browser. tabs. autoHide:
    • Behavior for the tab bar when only one tab exists
      True (default): Hide the tab bar
      False: Always show the tab bar
      Can also be changed via – Tools > Options > Tabs
  • browser. tabs.closeButtons:
    • This preference controls how close buttons can be displayed on tabs.
      0: Display a close button on the active tab only
      1: (default) Display a close button on each tab
      2: Don’t display any close buttons
      3: Display a single close button at the end of the tab bar
  • browser. tabs. loadInBackground
    • Determine whether new tabs get the focus or open in background
      True (default): Do not focus new tabs opened from links (load in background)
      False: Opposite of above
      This can also be changed via "Tools → Options → Tabs → When I open a link in a new tab, switch to it immediately"
  • browser.tabs.tabClipWidth
    • Determines the min width of any background tab on which FF will show a close button, in other words if the width of tab is less than this value and the tab is a background tab, close button will not be shown on that particular tab. Browser.tabs.closeButtons has a effect on this.

      Value: Any positive integer value
  • browser.tabs.tabMinWidth, browser.tabs.tabMaxWidth
    • Controls the minimum and maximum widths of the tabs
      Value: Any positive integer value

Useful Tab Addons

Colorful Tabs : Colors every tab in a different color and makes them easy to distinguish while beautifying the overall appearance of the interface

colorful tabs
Colorful tabs

Tab Scope : Allows you to preview and navigate tab contents through a popup.

tab scope
Tab Scope

Undo Closed Tabs Button : This extension allows you to undo closed tabs via a toolbar and/or tab bar button or the right-click context menu.

Tab Sidebar : Displays previews of your tabs in your sidebar.

tab sidebar
Tab Sidebar

You can view other tab related addons here


  • You can drag and drop tabs on the tab bar to re-arrange them the way you want.
  • If you happen to find text like varunkashyap.wordpress.com which is not clickable but you want to open it, simple select the text and then drag and drop it onto the tab bar!

If I missed something or you have a favorite addon that I didn’t mention do let me know in the comments. Would You ?



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The thing with Firefox is that its our Loved Browser. IE may have the largest share, Opera may have some nice features, Maxthon may be hugely under rated but in a bunch of Internet/Computer enthusiasts its inevitable that Firefox makes its way into the conversation! One of the main reasons for this is the vast amount of customizations and productivity enhancements that Firefox has to offer.

Smart Keywords is one of them. Smart Keywords are an easy way to access, search and do more with your favorite websites right from the Location bar. Here is how to use them:

For Quick Searches

Say you want to Google (everybody does!), now the most obvious way would be to go to the search box, select Google as the search engine if its not already selected and then type in your query and press enter.

Now have a look at the "Smart Keyword Way" to search. Go to the location bar, write "g <space> <your query>" press enter and you have the search results. Which one is better? The thing is that you would have to associate "g" with Google once and then you can search right from the location bar. Not only this you can create search for any site that you want to search. Just right click on the search box and choose Add a Keyword for this Search… , type the keyword you want to associate with the site and that’s it, from now on you can search the site using that keyword. So if you Google a lot you can create a "g" smart keyword to Google.

add search
How to add a search

For Quick Access

Not only search you can easily associate keywords with any of your bookmark, so anything that you can bookmark you can access it easily through the location bar through a keyword. To add keywords to the search click Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks

organize bookmarks
Click on Organize Bookmarks

Click on the bookmark you want to associate a keyword with and then Click on the More button, now you can enter and customize the keywords.

Add a smart keyword

Bonus Tips

  • While using smart keywords you can get rid of the search box and thus have more space for location bar or toolbar buttons
  • Pressing Alt-Enter instead of Enter when you search or type in a URL opens the search or the site in a new tab, you can use this to open search results and bookmarks in a new tab while using smart keywords




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The official numbers for Firefox download day are out. We talked about Firefox Download Day here and here. Here is the official wording:

From 18:16 UTC on June 17, 2008 to 18:16 UTC on June 18, 2008, 8,002,530 people downloaded Firefox 3 and are now enjoying a safer, smarter and better Web.

firefox certificateThe download since then have reached 28,445,504 when I wrote this article. So what’s the big deal in setting a record that never existed? Its good publicity I say. People have been publicizing Firefox 3 for a long time and this campaign proved the straw on the camel’s back. As they mention on the site "Lets, See what people come up with next to help spread Firefox". If you have not already downloaded Firefox 3, do it now its fast and worth it. Head on here to find out more details about the record. You can also get the Download Day Certificate, although with no validation of any sort it doesn’t have the same appeal, you can get it even if you didn’t download Firefox 3!

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As if the browser war was not frantic enough, what we have now is that the final releases within five days of each other. While Opera 9.5 is already out as I write this, Mozilla have decided on 17th June as the day to roll out Firefox 3. Remember you can help Firefox set a Guinness World Record of most number of software downloads in a day, which by the way is there’s for sure as its the first of its kind, only the actual number remains to be seen.

Here are the links:

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There has been lot of hype and publicity for Firefox 3. Working silently on the other hand is the Norwegian company Opera on their flagship product Opera Web Browser. Like Firefox Opera is also nearing release of version 9.5. The 9.5 b 2 is already out and you can give it a try. I have been using 9.5b1 for quite some time so let me take you on a tour on what 9.5 has to offer. Here are some of the features that are improvements over the 9.2x versions and would be pitted directly against FF3’s new features by many.

opera coming soon
Opera 9.5 is also nearing release


  • Challenging the Awesome Bar of FF3 (the address bar, as it is called) is the Quick Find feature of Opera. FF3 searches what you are typing in the url bar within your history pages’ urls and titles. Quick Find of opera on the other hand searches what you are typing in the entire content of the pages you have visited. Like eg after visiting this page if you type Awesome Bar in the url bar then it will list this site as an option too. How cool is that? One up on FF?
  • The next cool feature is Opera Link which syncs your browser bookmarks and speed dial between your mobile and computer browsers.
  • Speed Dial which I mentioned above lets you access a thumbnail view of your most visited sites on one page(which can be updated ofcourse) you can than click on the thumbnail to view the full page.
  • You can choose to have an individual set of preferences for individual sites.
  • Opera has built in mouse gestures and bittorrent client.
  • It has an inbuilt mail and chat client(you require opera accounts for them).
  • Opera gives you thumbnail preview of the tabs when you hover over them.
  • Opera can also be controlled using your voice. This is one feature I really like.
  • Then there are not so revolutionary features like fraud protection, skinning, download manager, password manager etc

So should you give Opera a try (if you already haven’t)? My answer is Yes. Its definitely worth it. Although the Quick Find feature is slightly but noticeably slow sometimes( it has to be, it searches full text of pages) but still I would say it does a pretty good job considering what its actually doing.

Another downside I would like to mention is incompatibility with some sites of which the incompatibility issues with Google services hit you the most. All of them will actually work but you will not be able to experience them in their entirety, plus the lack of addons for Opera unlike FF which has loads of them(frankly speaking just too many of them). Opera however compensates to some extent in this department by offering many features(mouse gestures, speed dial, tab preview etc)out of the box for which FF requires extensions.

Just take it for a ride and let me know what you feel? How does it compare with FF?

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fox day badgeHow to set a Guinness World Record? Well do something amazing and different to the extreme i guess. Can’t do it? May be you can. You can help Firefox set a Guinness World Record for the most number of software downloads in 24 hours! All you have to do is pledge here.

Thats it. Rest will be done by Mozilla. On the D – Day ( I mean the download day) you will get a link in your inbox to download Firefox. Just click on the link and do your bit in setting a world record and spreading a better browser of course.

Still not interested? Why would you want to download Firefox? Here are a few reasons that the site qoutes:

  • New Features :
    • Firefox 3 sets the innovation bar very high with exciting new features, including one-click bookmarking, the smart location bar and lightning fast performance.
  • Security:

    • Keeping you and your personal information safe is our top priority. Firefox 3 includes phishing and malware protection, plus our new instant site ID info.
  • Productivity:

    • With features like built-in spell checking, session restore and full zoom, Firefox 3 makes it possible to work faster and more efficiently on the Web.
  • Customization:

    • Your taste and needs set you apart from the rest. With Firefox 3 you can choose from over 5,000 add-ons that help you customize your browsing experience.

There is also a country wise break up of the pledges. At this moment US is leading. India is trailing. Come on fellow Indians!

pledge map
Download pledge map


What will you get? Check out the FAQ for more information. An excellent idea by Mozilla to make FF3 popular. Gosh.. When will my brain cook one of these ideas? 🙂

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Get (Prerequisites)

  • Firefox Web Browser
  • Text Editor
  • Zeal for experimentation
  • Photo editor

Set (Final Result)

  • One fine, nasty, sexy looking Firefox window, with your own branding! Here is what I mean :
Profile directory
Custom Branding
Profile directory
Our Mission!


Go (Procedure)

Step 1: Navigate to your Firefox profile directory. Yes you have a Firefox profile too incase you didnt know. All Firefox users have it. Its stored in a special folder on your hard disk.You will have to enable show hidden files and folders. For complete steps here is how to find the profile folder if you don’t know how to. The following screenshot shows the location on windows xp. For other operating systems follow the link mentioned in previous line.

Profile directory
The profile and chrome directory on Windows XP


Step 2: The profile on my machine reads as "l0gyrqu5.default", you will have a similar random string if you didnt create a profile yourself. We will refer to this profile string as xxxxxxxx.default from now on (to avoid confusion coz yours is going to be different, just substitute xxxxxxxx with the random string for your profile).

We need to find the chrome directory and a userChrome.css file within the chrome directory so that we can start with the real work. As it turns out that there is a dir named chrome within dir named xxxxxxxx.default which is within the dir Profiles(refer to screenshot above)

Step 3: Within the chrome directory there are generally some example files (if you have not tweaked with FF yet). We are interested in the file userChrome-example.css. If you don’t have the file here is the sample one. (Caution: Before downloading the sample file please double check you are looking in the right place.)

Profile directory
We found it at last!

Step 4: Open up userChrome-example.css with your favorite text editor (no Microsoft Word or word processors please). Whatever you do don’t delete or change the following line (which is there initially):

@namespace url("http://www.mozilla.org/keymaster/gatekeeper/there.is.only.xul&quot;);

All the changes that are to be made have to be added after the above mentioned line. Now just copy and paste the following piece of CSS:

menubar, toolbox {<br />
-moz-appearance: none !important;<br />
background-image: url( &quot;myImage.png&quot; ) !important;<br />
background-color: none !important;<br />

Step 5: Save the file as userChrome.css in the chrome directory. (Please note the filename "userChrome.css" , it should be exactly same). To explain the CSS we are actually doing nothing much but saying to Firefox that

  • "Change the appearance of the menubar and the toolbox as I tell you to" ( menubar, toolbox { )
  • "Don’t use the default appearance"(-moz-appearance: none !important;)
  • "Use a background image I tell you to use and that is myImage.png in the chrome dir" (background-image: url( "myImage.png" ) !important;)
  • "Don’t use any background color" ( background-color: none !important;)
  • "I am done you can relax now!" ( } )

Step 6: Remember just above we told Firefox to use myImage.png as the background image? Well now its time to create one and place it in the chrome directory (that we hunted in Step 2). You can use your own image, logos etc and thus have custom branding. Here are few tips to keep in mind when you design your own images:

If you want to position your logo at a specific position rather than tiling it all over then find out what your screen resolution is, this will have an effect on the dimensions of the image we use. Lets take the most common 1024 x 768 as our reference. So now the dimensions of our image should be 1024 x 100. The idea is to visualize a rectangle over your Firefox window’s toolbar and see what dimensions will cover the area you want to cover. A good idea is to take screenshot of the window and then draw a rectangle over the toolbar using your image editing software. You will have the dimensions, no need to get too precise we just need a rough estimate. Download the sample image I created with I Love FireFox logo to be used as myImage.png .

Step 7: Name the image myImage.png and place it in the chrome directory. Restart Firefox and if you did all things as mentioned you will be greeted by your personalized Firefox edition.


Step By Step Tutorial Details:

  • Time to complete: 15 – 20 mins
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Karma, Satisfaction or Joy you gain: 10/10

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Quite often trying to add a search engine to Firefox I end up dissatisfied not able to find the particular search engine or service I am looking for. Compare this to Opera which allows you to create your own search in a snap by just right clicking on the search box that you want to add and clicking create search. There is a workaround for this with Firefox also, however its just a bit more daunting. So I decided to create a Step by Step tutorial on how to do one.


  • Firefox web browser
  • A little bit of XML knowledge (Don’t worry if you dont, this tutorial will help you out)


  • A Search plugin added to the search box on the upper right corner of Firefox


Step 1: Identify the search website or the search service for which you want to create the plugin. In this tutorial we will create a search plugin to search torrentz.com a site useful for searching Bittorrent files.

Step 2: Open torrentz.com and just search for a random term. Lets say we search for "abczyz". Type "abcxyz" in the search bar and press enter. Ofcourse this won’t return many results but what we want is the URL(Uniform or Universal Resource Locator or the thing in the address bar of the browser)

The URL we get is http://www.torrentz.com/search?q=abcxyz

Needless to mention that this can change with time and will be different for different sites.

Step 3: Open notepad or any editor you like but not a word processor like Microsoft Word. Copy and paste the following code into the file:

<SearchPlugin xmlns="http://www.mozilla.org/2006/browser/search/" xmlns:os="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/">
<os:Image width="16" height="16">data:image/x-icon;base64,data</os:Image>
<os:Contact>email of whom to contact<os:Contact>
<os:Url type="text/html" method="GET" template="webAddress={searchTerms}">

Step 4: We will be changing the text that is in bold in the above code to suit our needs. Leave the first two lines as it is. They tell the type of the document and the name space description.

  • The text included between the <Shortname> and </Shortname> is the name you want to give to your search plugin. We will put "Torrentz" here.
  • The text between the <Description> and </Description> gives a little information about the plugin. We will put "Search torrents on Torrentz.com" in this area.
  • Replace encoding with the type of input encoding you will use, if you dont know what is this, then you will most probably be using UTF-8 so put in "UTF-8" there.
  • The image part is just a bit tricky so if you don’t get this you can skip this tag (you just won’t get an icon, thats it no big deal).What you have to do is go to the URI Kitchen, then choose and upload the image that you want to use as the icon for the plugin and click generate. Just copy everything that it gives and place it between <os: Image width="16" height="16"></os:Image>
  • <Contact> and <Contact> enclose the email address of the mantainer of the plugin. We put "sendinfofiles@gmail.com" here.
  • <Url> is to contain what we had discovered and taken note of in Step 2. Replace the word webAddress with the url we found in Step 2.
    So the <Url> line should read <Url type="application/rss+xml" template="http://www.torrentz.com/search?q={searchTerms}"/>
  • Click here to view the final file. Feel free to download and make changes.

Step 5: Thats it. Thats your very own Firefox search plugin. Did I miss something? If you were thinking "So how you use it or test it?" then pat yourself on the back, it seems you understood the tutorial! For the others please have another look at Step 4.
Coming to the point, to test it you have to place it in special directory where the Firefox plugins are placed. This differs for different operating systems. So have a look at the following table:

  • Windows 2000/XP –
    C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\string\searchplugins
  • Windows Vista
    C:\Users\user name\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\string\searchplugins
  • Windows 98/ME –
    C:\Windows\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\
  • Macintosh (OS X) –
    ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/
  • Linux/Unix –
    ~/Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles/

Please note that you will have to enable "Show Hidden Files", user name refers your Windows username, string is a random string generated for each firefox profile. Just open up these folders it will start making sense.

Step 6: You are now ready to go, Restart Firefox if it was already running and then choose your newly created plugin from the Search Box and test it. It works I know. You are a genuis!

Step By Step Tutorial Details:

  • Time for completion: 5 – 10 minutes.
  • Difficulty level: Moderate – Difficult
  • Karma, Satisfaction or Joy you gain: 8/10 )

Bonus: Did I mention this plugin can work with Internet Explorer 7 also? Yes it can. IE7 supports Open Search Plugins and thats what we just created incase you didn’t notice!

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