Customizing Firefox

Extensions

Extensions are plug-ins that add new functionality to Firefox. I recommend the following extensions:

  • Google Toolbar - Google's official toolbar that can translate web pages, highlight search terms on the page, spell check, and set mailto: links to open in Gmail.
  • Flashblock - Flash ads can sometimes be ugly, distracting, or cover up useful information. Web pages can also have Flash movies that automatically start playing even when you don't want them to. Flashblock stops Flash files from loading until you click on them.
  • BetterPrivacy - Deletes "super cookies" - Flash cookies that do not normally get deleted. BetterPrivacy helps you maintain your privacy and avoid being tracked on the Internet. It will silently and automatically delete these cookies so you will can just install this addon and forget it.
  • Ghostery - Protects your privacy by preventing "web bugs" from tracking you online. Web bugs are bits of code or objects that function much like cookies, allowing advertisers to track you from one website to the next as you browse the internet.
  • Xmarks Sync - Keeps your bookmarks and passwords synchronized between Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari.
  • Redirect Remover - This removes redirects from links. Redirects are links that do not take you directly to the site you want to visit, but instead route you through one or more intermediary sites. This is usually only to keep track of how many people click the link, but can be used for evil like installing spyware or viruses.
  • Web Developer - This handy tool helps you work on your website by doing things like allowing you to edit HTML and CSS on the fly right within Firefox.

Miscellaneous Tweaks

These settings are for things like the user interface, etc.

Activate spell-checker in all fields

This will have spell-checking in single line textboxes as well as multi-line textareas.

    Type about:config in the address bar.
    Type spellcheckDefault in the filter bar.
    Double-click on layout.spellcheckDefault.
    Change the value to 2.

Customize double-click to select

These are just two settings that control what happens when you double click on a word to select it. These are probably not useful to anyone else, but I like to have control over things such as this.

    Type about:config in the address bar.
    Type layout.word_select.eat_space_to_next_word in the filter bar.
    Double click on layout.word_select.eat_space_to_next_word and change it to false.
    Type layout.word_select.stop_at_punctuation in the filter bar.
    Double click on layout.word_select.stop_at_punctuation and change it to true.

Cut and paste more than one line

Allow input boxes to accept multiple lines instead of just a single line when using cut and paste.

    Type about:config in the address bar.
    Type singleline in the filter bar.
    Double-click on editor.singleLine.pasteNewlines.
    Change the value to 2.

Stop Firefox from automatically resizing images

I hate it when Firefox automatically makes an image smaller so it fits into the window without scrolling.

    Type about:config in the address bar.
    Type browser.enable_automatic_image_resizing into the filter bar.
    Double click on browser.enable_automatic_image_resizing to change the value to false.

Disable link prefetching

Link Prefetching is where Firefox will try to pull down the next logical page you will visit as instructed by the web server. Servers can specify <link rel="next" href="Page2.html"> and Firefox will download that page in the background while you are on Page1.html in anticipation of you going there. While this will shorten the time you have to wait when you click on the Page2.html link, it eats up bandwidth on pages you may never visit.

    Type about:config in the address bar.
    Type network.prefetch-next in the filter bar.
    Double click on network.prefetch-next and change it to false.

 

Want more tips? Check out some from the Firefox team.