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Summary:

If you use Firefox all day, as I do, you may have mastered a few of the navigational tools it offers, but there are a lot of them under the hood. You can be faster and more efficient with the browser if you learn some easy […]

If you use Firefox all day, as I do, you may have mastered a few of the navigational tools it offers, but there are a lot of them under the hood. You can be faster and more efficient with the browser if you learn some easy ways to use your mouse and keyboard to navigate. In this post, I’ll round up 10 tips for more efficient surfing. Quite a few of these will work in other browsers as well.

Open a Link in New Tab. Firefox lets you open any link you see at a site in a new tab if you right click on the link and select Open Link in New Tab. If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse, it’s even faster to do this by clicking once on the scroll wheel while hovering over the link. If you don’t have a scroll wheel, you can hold down the Ctrl key and click your mouse to open a link in a new tab (or Command-click if you’re using a Mac).

Close a Tab with the Scroll Wheel. If your mouse has a scroll wheel click on any open tab with it to close the tab.


Open a Link in a New Window. To open a link in a whole new instance of Firefox, right click on the link and select Open Link in New Window. You can also hit Shift-click to open a link in a new window.

Increase/Decrease Text Size on any Page.
You can increase the size of text you are reading on a given page by holding down the Ctrl key and using the mouse scroll wheel to scroll down. Hold down Ctrl and use the scroll wheel to scroll up to decrease text size.

Scroll Slowly, One Line at a Time. To scroll up or down a page of text one line at a time, hold down the Alt key and move your scroll wheel.

Flip Pages with the Scroll Wheel. To avoid using the navigation arrows atop Firefox to flip pages, hold down the Shift key and move your scroll wheel down to go back a page, and up to go forward a page.

Quickly Select a Whole Line of Text. Within any word your mouse cursor is in, click your left mouse button three times rapidly to select the whole line.

Scroll Without a Scroll Wheel. If your mouse has no scroll wheel, hold the Tab key on your keyboard down until the page you’re on starts to rapidly scroll.

Scroll with Gestures. If your mouse does have a scroll wheel, click once within a body of text, and your cursor should change its form factor. Now just move the mouse up or down to scroll.

Use Navigational Extensions. There are several good, free extensions you can download to make navigating in Firefox easier and more flexible. Super DragandGo is a good one for dragging anything on a page, such as a link, to a blank spot in the page to open it in a new tab.

Do you have any good tips on navigating in Firefox?

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  1. It’s great articles like this that make me realise I don’t really know everything there is to know about Firefox! These scroll wheel tips are great!

  2. Welcome to Better Than Therapy – by Mark O’Neill Thursday, December 6, 2007

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  3. I’m so glad that Firefox is becoming more and more popular! Its time for a change!

  4. does anyone know how to quickly flip through tabs?

  5. Basic info, but using the “Mouse Gestures” Firefox add-on makes almost all of these actions much easier than described here. For example:

    new blank tab: hold right click and move up
    back: hold right click and move left
    forwards: hold right click and move right
    close tab: hold right click and move down and then right

  6. Awesome list. This article can be much awesome if you manage to list all the items with a shortcut to complement it.

  7. christianpf, Ctrl+Tab moves through tabs.

  8. Quickly flip through tabs by:

    1) Press CTRL and the # of the tab. If you have 4 tabs open, 1 will open the first tab, 2 will open the second, so on and so forth.

    2) Press CTRL and TAB. This will switch through the tabs in the order they were last accessed.

  9. If you close a tab by accident you can reopen it with CRTL + Shift + T. That is one of my favorites.

  10. If you add shift to the Crtl-Tab you can cycle backwards through the tabs as well, same as when you alt-tab on the desktop

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