Did you Know These Firefox Hidden Features?

Did you Know These Firefox Hidden Features?

Andy Holland

There’s far more to Mozilla Firefox than you first thought. It’s one of the most used browsers, rivalled only by Google Chrome. Despite the huge number of users, many are still in the dark as to some of the useful features. It’s a well-kept secret amongst those in the know, but we’re here to demystify these hidden options.

Stop sites auto-refreshing

It’s frustrating when certain web pages feature a refresh HTTP header which constantly refreshes. Thankfully, you can block this by going to your preferences followed by advanced settings. After clicking on the subtitle ‘Accessibility’ you’ll be given the option to check the box labelled ‘Warn me when websites try to redirect or reload the page’.

Do an in-house DNS lookup

Did you know that you can search for an IP address of a domain in Firefox? Simply type ‘about:networking’ into the URL and hit ‘Enter’. The next page will show a tab for ‘DNS Lookup’. Type the domain name into the search bar, click ‘Resolve’ and voila, you’ll be shown the IP address.

Reconfigure the backspace key

Want to avoid someone hitting the backspace key and ending up in your browser history? The backspace action can be reconfigured by entering ‘about:config’ in the URL followed by ‘browser.backspace_action’. After clicking on it, you’ll have the option to change the default browser setting value. Change to ‘1’ and the backspace will scroll up to the top of the page instead of going to browser history, while ‘2’ should stop it from giving any action at all.

Type and search

We’re all familiar with the Ctrl + F command which enables us to search for a word or phrase on a web page. For those who like to streamline, why bother with the command and enable the search as soon as you start typing? It’s possible via the ‘Accessibility’ settings on the advanced section of your preferences. Simply check the box which says ‘Search for text when I start typing’.

Navigate with cursor keys

This is especially helpful for those that have to read and digest large chunks of content online. To give greater control, the cursor can be used for in-text navigation. Once again, this feature is under ‘Accessibility’ which can be found in advanced settings. Simply check the option ‘Always use the cursor keys to navigate within pages’.

Use middle click for paste

You can use the middle button of your mouse to paste text into web pages or text fields. Type in ‘about:config’ in the URL bar followed by ‘middlemouse.past’. The default value should show ‘false’. By changing to ‘true’ you’ll now be able to make use of that often neglected middle button.

Get creative

For those who like to impart some creativity, Firefox offers the chance to change colours including text, links and backgrounds. On the preferences menu, click ‘Content’ followed by the subheading ‘Colours’ found in the ‘Fonts & Colours’ section. Now choose from a kaleidoscope of shades and tailor the browser to your liking.