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7 Firefox shortcuts you should start using right away

Jump from novice to power user in seven easy steps. You'll be amazed how much time these shortcuts can save you.

Whether you've been using Firefox for years or you just switched from, say, Chrome or Internet Explorer, there are some shortcuts you should know.

Many involve using the keyboard to navigate faster; others put you a mouse-click away from useful features. And no list would be complete without at least one extension -- in this case, my favorite extension of all time.

Ready to shift your Firefox experience into overdrive? Here we go... (Note that in the case of any Ctrl-key shortcuts, Mac users will likely use the Cmd key instead. And Chrome users should check out the Chrome version of this list.)

1. Head for Home

home-key.jpg

You know the routine: You've read through to the bottom of a Web page (or well into the bowels of Facebook), and now you want to go back to the top. Do you furiously spin your mouse's scroll wheel or reach for the scroll bar on the right?

Both moves take way too long. Instead, just tap the Home button on your keyboard. Presto: instant jump to the top of whatever Web page you're viewing.

2. Where'd that download go?

Novice users often find themselves in the same pickle: unable to find the file they just downloaded. Instant fix: press Ctrl-J. That will immediately open Firefox's Library window, with the Downloads folder already selected.

For any given download, click the accompanying folder icon to open its "containing folder" (i.e. the place it's stored on your hard drive, which by default is the system Downloads folder).

3. A star is clicked

Of the many ways to instantly bookmark a Web page, it's hard to beat the simplicity of this: Click the star at the far right of the address bar. OK, if you prefer keyboard shortcuts, it's hard to beat the simplicity of pressing Ctrl-D. Both actions trigger the same result: a pop-up box for quickly adding the page to your favorites (with the name and folder of your choice).

firefox-bookmark-shortcut.jpg
Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

4. Tab-B-Gone

Everyone knows that when you want to close a tab, you click the little 'x.' Except it's so little, it can be easy to overshoot with your cursor. (What's more, if you have too many tabs open, you won't even see the 'x' unless it's the currently selected tab.)

Thank heaven for keyboard shortcuts! Just press Ctrl-W to send the current tab packing.

5. Become a space cowboy

The space bar: not just for spaces anymore. In Firefox, as long as your cursor hasn't landed in a text field (like when you're filling out a form), you can tap the space bar to scroll down an entire page at at a time -- great for mouse-free reading.

Want to scroll back up again? Just press Shift-space.

6. Lost and Find

You already know how to search the Web; Firefox makes it easy to search within a page. Just press Ctrl-F, then start typing your search word or phrase. This is a dynamic search, meaning highlighted results start to appear with the very first letter you type. The more characters you enter, the more focused the search becomes.

7. Make Firefox faster with just one click

How do you judge PC speed? By how many browser tabs you can open before things start to seriously bog down.

OneTab is a Firefox extension that instantly collapses all your open tabs into a single, nicely organized tab -- thus reducing the browser's performance impact while keeping important tabs at the ready.

This is without question the single most important extension on my PC. (What's yours?)

OK, Firefox users, go forth and work faster! Oh, but before you do, hit the comments and share your favorite time-saving tips.