2010 m. balandžio 22 d., ketvirtadienis

How to improve Firefox

Firefox is a great browser, but it's defaults may seem to have few disadvantages:

  • Page rendering not fast enaugh (not fastest browser),

  • Toolbars take to much space (less is left for page content),

  • All dowloads go to desktop.

Simple improvements:

View -> Toolbars -> Adress bar

When unchecked, adress bar is hidden. If you rarely use adress bar, it is not necessairy, and is occupying space. Adress bar can always be accessed via menu 'Adress' or just typing its item names to adress bar.

Edit -> Preferences (On Windows: Tools -> Options)

  • First tab

  • In download section chose 'Ask where to save every...'. When you do this, firefox will ask you every time where to save the downloaded file.
  • Tab 'Tabs'

  • Checkbox 'Always show tabs' specifies, whether tabs are shown when there is only one tab. New tab can always be openned by pressing Ctrl+T or by selecting File -> New tab. The only disadvantage of hiding tabs is moving tabs between windows, available since Firefox 3.6 (when there is no tabs bar, you can't drag tab).
  • Tab 'Other', inside it tab 'General'

  • Check the 'Browse with cursor'. With it enabled, you will see keyboard position indicator blinking in websites, which you can control using arrow keys. This makes it easy to select text (by holding Shift key), even when you want to select a link or part of it, but not click on it. You can also use arrow keys to move the cursor and press links (enter key).

Customize toolbars

Right click on toolbar ant select 'customize'. A new window will open aditional buttons for toolbars, and any button can be moved using mouse. To remove button from toolbar, drag & drop it on this new window.

Use addons to extend posibilities

Firefox is a very extensible browser. You can install a lot of various addons, that give you extra features. Here are some addons, worth your attention:

  • Adblock Plus

  • An addon to block ads on websites. Since there are a lot of sites on the web, that have a clear bloat of ads (which is a cost for us, as we need to download more data and use more CPU power), we need to fight back.
    This addon detects and removes ads from web pages. In context menu (obtained via right click) you'll see an item 'block image...', wich will add a filter, when selected. Use '*' (means any text) to set a filter for all ads from one origin. This addon also has a predefined collection of filters.
  • Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper

  • An additional addon to use with Adblock Plus. This one allows to select an element with a mouse and creates a filter for it.
  • Flashblock

  • Replaces all Adobe Flash object with an image, wich, when clicked, is replaced back with a real object. A nice way to remove all unwanted heavyweight animations.
  • NoScript

  • A script blocker for advanced users. This addon may cause some issues, but it increases browsing security. With this addon you can define a white list of sites, allowed to execute scripts. All other scripts are blocked, so all sites are greatly limited to what they can do on your machine.

Advanced improvements

Before trying the tweaks below, backup your firefox settings. Just make a backup of your prefs.js file. This file can be found in:

GNU/Linux: ~/.mozilla/firefox/<profile>/prefs.js

Windows: <Application Data>\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\<profile>\prefs.js

Replace <profile> with profile name. Usually there is only one profile, hence only one directory for a choice.

Type about:config into address bar. Firefox will give you a warning about possible dangers. Agree and you'll see a full list of settings.

  • Open search results in new tab

  • browser.search.openintab=true

    When this setting is set, typing into search bar and pressing enter will open new tab with results. When set to false, search results are openned in current tab.
  • Faster page rendering

  • These settings may be not present in the list (in this case add them):



    The first one is necessairy for the second to work. The second defines the amount of time between screen refreshes equal to half a second. Increasing it the screen is less often refreshed while downloading page. With less refreshes, the overall time need to display a page becomes smaller.

Nice browsing!

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