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Firefox 1.0 Tutorial, Part Three of Three

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by , January 5th, 2005 at 03:20 AM (935 Views)

Firefox 1.0 Tutorial
Part Three

This (last) part, of the tutorial will deal with some of the more advanced features and tricks of FF. That doesn't mean that they are more complicated, i

just put them here, so that the first-time users aren't too confused, and get used to FF a bit, before trying out stuff from here :)

Live Bookmarks

Last time, you heard about adding Bookmarks, managing them, and also about adding keywords to a bookmark.

No we will get to know the Live Bookmarks. Maybe you already heard about "RSS" or Atom. Those are useful protocols, to stay up to date e.g. with news-sites or weblogs. Firefox can handle RSS-feeds with his Live Bookmarks feature.
Whenever a RSS-feed is available for the website, FF displays you a little icon in the lower right statusbar:

For example, I am use the website Click that little icon, and select "Subscribe to ..", and you'll get a Bookmark-Dialogue.

You should be familiar with that one now. Simply select a folder for the bookmark, and click ok. When you open your bookmarks menu now, you see that the BBC website has a different icon, and an arrow to the right, just like a bookmarks folder. And it behaves like a bookmark folder, too.

When you open the folder, FF gives you the most recent headlines. Just click on a headline to read the full article. FF automagically updates the list of headlines! It gets even a bit more user-friendly when you open your bookmarks in the bookmarks sidebar (View -> Sidebar -> Bookmarks / or press ctrl+b ).

Advanced Java Script Settings

One of the main annoyances of Javascript is, of course all the Popup-Windows. FF has a nice Popup-blocker against these. But there are other annoyances too. E.g., websites changing your statusbar, and scrolling some stupid text in it. Or suddenly focusing themselves when they should be in the background. Or resizing their own window. Or what you all probably know: disabling the right-click context menu. [-X
With Firefox, you can stop websites from doing crap like that!
Go to Tools -> Options -> Web Features:

Click on "Advanced" in the java-script row.

You get a dialogue window, where you can disable all those annoyances :)

But be careful, some sites functionality might be limited by changing those options, especially when you disable the "change images" and "move or resize windows" options. Just remember *that* you disabled those, so in case of trouble, you can re-enable them again.

Working more efficiently with keyboard shortcuts

Some people (like me) barely use the mouse, because in good programs, you can do almost everything with a few keystrokes, and often even faster than with the mouse. But also for those who are not power-users, knowing some keyboard shortcuts can saveyou a lot of time!
During this tutorial, most of the time, I wrote down the keyboard shortcut too. But often I left some things out, because I didn't want to confuse the FF newbies ;)

  • F7 - Switch to caret-mode browsing, this places a cursor inside the document. Usefulfor people with disabilities, or people not skilled at using the mouse with a lot of accuracy - for example when you have to select (highlight) an area of text.
  • ctrl+f, F3 - Starts a new search (the same as Edit -> Find in this page)
  • ctrl+g, shift+F3 - repeats the last search and jumps to the next occurrence of the previous search term
  • / - starts a new search, but only searches in the documents text
  • ' - starts a new search, but only searches the text in links
  • F6, ctrl+L - focuses the Location Bar. You don't need to touch the mouse when you want to type in an URL :)
  • ctrl+j - opens the Download Manager
  • ctrl+w - close the current tab (alternative: middleclick the tab)
  • ctrl + t - open a new tab (alternative: double click the tab bar)
  • ctrl+tab, ctrl+pagedown - switch to the next tab
  • ctrl+shift+tab, ctrl+pageup - switch to the previous tab
  • shift+delete - delete an entry from an autocompletion selection box (e.g. if you have a typo in it)
  • ctrl+m - create a new e-mail in your default mail program (hint: FF can show you how many new mails you have in the tools menu. but that doesn't work with every mail program)
  • F11 - go to fullscreen mode (usefull e.g. for presentations)
  • ctrl+r, f5 - reload the current website.
  • ctrl+shift+r, ctrl+f5 - reload the current website, but download everything again, don't use cached files.
  • ctrl+z - undo, usefull e.g. when you accidently deleted many lines while writing a long post.
  • ctrl+k - focus the search bar
  • backspace, alt+left - back. hint: if you use a mouse with scrollwheel: shift+scroll down works, too
  • shift+backspace, alt+right - forward hint: if you use a mouse with scrollwheel: shift+scroll up works, too

or: advanced Bookmark tricks

Only a small percentage of FF users even knows about those nifty little thing, but soon you will belong to the "knowing" :D

As an example, I will use the JUB free porn directory searchpage. Go there, and enter a search term.

After clicking on "Search" you will be taken to a result webpage, for the search query "amateur". Now we want to bookmark that results-webpage. Go to Bookmarks -> Bookmark this page or simply press ctrl+d.

You should know how to do that now ;) The folder where you bookmark it is not relevant.

Go to the Bookmarks menu, and mark yourfreshly created bookmark, rightclick it, and select "Properties" (or click Properties in the Bookmarks manager). Enter a keyword, just like we did in the second Tutorial. I chose the keyword “porn” here :twisted:

Now for the interesting part. Search for the word "amateur" in the location field. That's the term that we entered at the search form. Replace "amateur" with %s. Click OK to save your changes.
Close all Firefox windows, and start Firefox again.

Click in the location bar, or press F6, or ctrl+l and type in "porn military" (or replace porn with whatever you chose as keyword).

Press Enter.

And note that automagically, FF did a search for "military" in the JUB free pornsites directory :)

Ain't it cool :) ? I love stuff like that :)

Customizing your browser, almost without limits

Extensions are some kind of little plugins that change things in FF, or add extended/new functionality. E.g., there exist extensions for: filtering ads, showing the weather, help you with timing your breakfast egg, display the homeland security threatlevel :roll:, enhancing the download manager, controlling winamp/itunes from firefox and many more.
As an example I will use an extension that adds a quick to use bbCode to your posts.
Later on, i will try to show you some notworthy, funny and/or interesting or remarkable extensions here, too (but not in this tutorial).

Important Note: Extensions are usually programmed by 3rd party users, and are not controlled by members of Mozilla themselves. Extensions *can* make your Browser unstable, or conflict with other extensions. In case that you have troubles after installing extensions, try disabling/uninstalling them first.

The best place to get extensions is (click on Firefox/extensions). There are other sites from where you can install extensions, but be suspicious, they could be harmful. To prevent this, FF by default doesn't allow other sites to install extensions, rather you get an info bar, allowing you to allow the other site to install the extension if you permit it to do so.But please think before doing so ;).

The bbCode extension also can be found at

Click on the (Install Now) link, and you will get this window

wait 3 seconds, and click "Install now". You will see a progress bar, and when it's completed, the extension is installed.

But you need to restart Firefox to try it out! Restart FF, and surf to some website where there is a text input field, e.g. the JUB forums. Rightclick in that field, and you will see a new entry in the context-menu:

From here you can easily add, and apply bbCode, or insert smileys. Note the very handy "clipboard" functions for quickly adding things like the bbCode image tags for posting .. well .. images ;).

Frequently you might need to configure extensions, which would be done in the Extensions Manager. To get to the extensions manager go to Tools -> Extensions. You can also uninstall extensions from there.

w00t, you have completed the tutorial. I hope you liked it, it was understandable, and you now love Firefox as much as I do :love: