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Summary:

Like many of us, you’re probably getting used to the much-improved version 3.5 of Mozilla’s Firefox browser. Of course, one of the primary reasons that many people use Firefox is the large ecosystem of useful extensions available for it. The speed of version 3.5 will automatically […]

Like many of us, you’re probably getting used to the much-improved version 3.5 of Mozilla’s Firefox browser. Of course, one of the primary reasons that many people use Firefox is the large ecosystem of useful extensions available for it. The speed of version 3.5 will automatically give you an efficiency boost if you’ve been using previous versions, but there is one Firefox extension that I highly recommend to speed many kinds of tasks up even more: Mouse Gestures. This is one of the few extensions that causes an eye-popping response in many new users. It’s compatible with 3.5 and easy to get started with, too.
Once you’ve installed the extension and restarted the browser, just hold down Ctrl-Shift-O (that’s the letter O, not zero) to display a Mouse Gestures sidebar in your browser. This is a list of shapes you can draw with your mouse and use to execute many kinds of browser- and desktop-specific tasks with a flick of your hand. For example, the screenshot above shows the Window Management set of gestures.

The shapes for the gestures include a black dot that represents the starting point for a gesture, and then a line showing the trajectory of the shape you want to draw to execute a task, such as minimizing a window.

Important note: You hold down your right mouse button as you draw the shape, and let go of the button just before the gesture is done. That’s because you wouldn’t want random gestures executing tasks anytime you move your mouse.

There are many browser-specific gestures you can execute with Mouse Gestures, including the ones seen below, such as Load Home Page, and Reload Page:

You may have to practice gestures a little bit before they work cleanly. If a task doesn’t execute, it’s usually because you didn’t let go of the mouse button before finishing the gesture. You can also make your own gestures, with instructions on doing so, and other tips, found here.

Give this extension a try. It makes many common tasks in Firefox much faster to execute, and it’s actually fun to use as well. For many more tips on getting more out of your mouse, see my previous post.

Do you use Mouse Gestures in Firefox?

  1. I don’t understand why no one has noticed EasyGestures. Mouse gestures are great, but having to learn the proper gestures is an obstacle. Easy Gestures allows for the use of gestures, but with the aid of pie-shaped menus that show you what the gesture will do. After a while, you don’t need to look at the menus, you just make the gesture. No learning curve. Great. Why doesn’t everyone know about Easy Gestures, or the general concept of pie menus? Well, now you do.

    Until such time as multi-touch pads become ubiquitous and the gestures are standardized, Easy Gestures is the best way to mouse around Firefox.

  2. Great find. The previous gestures addon I was using was incompatible with Firefox 3.5 so I’m glad to find this great replacement.

  3. Getting Used to Firefox 3.5? Try These Resources | google android os blog Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    [...] Use Gestures. The Mouse Gestures Firefox extension is one of the easiest and fastest ways to become much faster and more efficient with the browser. It works with version 3.5, lets you perform common browser tasks with a quick flick of your mouse hand, and I reviewed it here.  [...]

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