X

5 awesome Mozilla Firefox secrets (photos)

Firefox is packed with useful, built-in features you might have missed. Customize Firefox with these five helpful tips.

CNET Reviews staff

See full bio

FF_Slide1.png
1 of 5 Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

Customize search with Smart Keywords

A little-known Firefox feature lets you run searches within any given Web site from the browser's address bar. For example, to search for "TouchPad" within Amazon.com, all you'd have to do is type "amazon touchpad" in the Firefox bar.

To create a smart keyword, head to a Web site and locate the search field. Then, right-click the search field and select "Add Keyword for this search...". Create the bookmark, store it in a folder, and your smart keyword is now enabled. Try it with reference sites like Wikipedia and IMDB for quick access to answers.

FF_Slide2.png
2 of 5 Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

Open multiple Web sites at launch

Who says you can have only one home page? You can set Firefox to open all your favorite Web sites at launch. For example, I'd like CNET, Facebook, and Twitter to launch every time I open my browser.

In Firefox, go to Options > General. In the home page field, enter URLs separated by pipes. For example "http://www.cnet.com | http://www.facebook.com | http://...." and so on. Then, hit "OK" and relaunch your browser to see the magic happen.

FF_Slide3.png
3 of 5 Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

Bookmark an RSS feed

If you check certain Web sites frequently, especially news sites, you can create a bookmark that automatically updates with new stories from that feed. For example, Firefox stocks your toolbar with a "Latest Headlines" bookmark, but you can create your own.

Right-click the Firefox toolbar and select "Customize...". Then, drag and drop the RSS logo to the toolbar. Now, head to the site you want to subscribe to and click the RSS button in the toolbar. Then, enter the name of the bookmark and click "Add".

FF_Slide4.png
4 of 5 Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

Take your settings on the go

Instead of re-adjusting Firefox--bookmarks, passwords, etc.--every time you use a new computer, take all your accounts and settings on the go. This is done by simply installing Firefox on a portable USB drive, and inserting into any computer you use.

Follow this guide on using portable apps, and install Mozilla Firefox on your USB drive. A setup screen will help you transfer all your current browser settings.

FF_Slide5.png
5 of 5 Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET.

Master keyboard shortcuts and mouse gestures

Firefox has built-in shortcuts to help you browse a lot faster. For example, there are shortcuts for rotating through tabs, re-opening a closed tab, and toggling Private Browsing. View the full list here.

Try the mouse gestures, too. Although they're not as elegant as Mac OS X gestures, they'll become second-nature after some practice. For example, Shift + scroll down sends you back, and alt+scroll lets you scroll by line.

For advanced gestures--like reloading a page by drawing a circle with your mouse--check out the FireGestures add-on.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

93 Photos
The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

80 Photos
Rolls-Royce's Second Boat Tail Is Brown and Beautiful

More Galleries

Rolls-Royce's Second Boat Tail Is Brown and Beautiful

62 Photos
2023 Genesis GV60 Is a Futuristic EV

More Galleries

2023 Genesis GV60 Is a Futuristic EV

53 Photos
2023 Toyota Camry Nightshade is a Bronzeworthy Family Sedan

More Galleries

2023 Toyota Camry Nightshade is a Bronzeworthy Family Sedan

13 Photos
'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

More Galleries

'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

40 Photos