Firefox, the lightweight browser based on Mozilla, has been garnering quite a bit of attention lately. I’ve been a Mozilla user since 0.5, but only use the browser component, so I thought I’d give Firefox a try. It works great, and is very similar to IE (by design, no doubt). But browsing is a habit of mine, and, like anybody else, I don’t like to change my habits. Luckily, it was easy to change Firefox to fit my needs.

1. Have the search bar respond to my shortcuts (i for google images, g for google search, q for qwestdex search). This was no different than setting it up for Mozilla.

2. Firefox by default saves form entries. I don’t like that–it’s the paranoid in me. Easily changed: go to Tools / Options / Privacy / Saved Form Information and deselect the “Save information…” checkbox.

3. Firefox blithely closes a window when there’s more than one tab open. Wow! I don’t like that at all–Mozilla gives me a warning and 99% of the time, I was aiming at the wrong window or had forgotten that I had multiple tabs open. Feedster handed me this post so I knew I wasn’t alone; a bit of searching on MozDev turned up this handy extension: tab warning. Installing this was a snap, and now my browsing experience is back to what I expected.

One problem I haven’t figured out how to fix: in Mozilla, when you open a link in a new tab, the new tab gains focus. In Firefox, the old tab remains in front.

9 thoughts on “Firefox customization

  1. nushibaby says:

    mate, you just go options -> advanced -> browsing

    and then check/uncheck the ‘open links in background’ option

  2. heteronym says:

    In Firefox 0.9, the pref is still in Tools->Options->Advanced->Browsing, but the wording has been changed to “Select new tabs opened from links”.

    Seems to me that switching focus to the new tab should be the default behavior, but that’s just one guy’s opinion.

  3. John says:

    Shift+Ctrl+Link opens new tab and gains focus, Ctrl+Link opnes new tab and focus remains with original tab

  4. Dan Moore says:


    I have to say that I’m now using Mozilla 1.7, and I’m actually quite annoyed at times that it doesn’t mimic Firefox’s behavior! I think what you want to happen depends on what you’re doing. When I’m browsing my RSS feed, I want to open links in new tabs and keep browsing. When I’m looking at a mail message with a link, when I open it in a tab, I want to be taken to the tab.

    I haven’t tried John’s suggestions, but if those work, that certainly is the best of both worlds.

  5. bob vance says:

    To be totally precise ;>) , ctrl+link (as well as right-click-link/open-new-tab) opens/focuses new tab based on the “Select new tabs opened from links” setting. SHIFT+ctrl+link simply reverses the behavior. (v1.7 / 0.9.1)

    I seem to mostly want focus, so I currrently have the above setting checked. When I *do* want to “save” the new tab and keep browsing, then SHIFT+ctrl+link (or SHIFT+link for open-link-in-new-window) does it.

  6. rrgw says:

    How can I customize Firefox so that whenever I click a link, a new tab is opened by default instead of a new window?

    Thanks a lot!!


  7. marius says:

    @ rrgw:

    look for the “single-window” extension.

    tools->extensions->get more extensions
    category “tabbed browsing”, there it is at the bottom…. single window 1.4, just click install and ready!

  8. Jono says:

    Safari, for Mac OS X, does this natively, without additional software, using the following settings:

    Preferences< General:
    Open links from applications: in the current window
    (This applies to links from Mail, iChat, etc.)


    Preferences< Tabs:
    [•] Enable Tabbed Browsing
    [•] Select new tabs as they are created

    Easy! I have switched my default borwser to Firefox 0.9.3 (for OS X) (for web developement purposes) but I hate that Firefox cannot handle tabs as well as Safari. Maybe in future versions it will be easier.

    I tried tinkering with the about:config settings with no luck. It seems like one of the following would control the tab settings:

  9. eltonic40 says:

    I’ve been doing a little search… but nothing has shown up. Is there a way to get firefox act like Opera by saving tab (urls) when closing the entire application, so that when i can RESUME browsing?

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