Tips and tricks for Firefox guidebook

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Firefox
Posts: 198
Joined: November 4th, 2002, 4:12 pm
Location: Mountain View, CA

Post Posted August 12th, 2004, 11:39 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm currently working on writing the Firefox 1.0 guidebook. One of my primary goals with this guidebook is to ensure that it's, well, actually <i>useful</i>. I don't want it to be a collection of obvious stuff that everyone already knows (like the Netscape 7.0 guidebook). While I want to ensure that I cover all the basics, I also want it to populate it with the little known tips and tricks that really make Firefox stand out.

To that end, I'm soliciting the community's help in building a giant list of things that we shouldn't leave out of the book. I'm mainly looking for two kinds of things:

<ul><li><b>Cool tips</b> - This is the little stuff that few people know about, like a hidden keyboard shortcut or something cool advanced users can do to their userContent.css.
<li><b>Solutions to common problems</b> - I want to make sure that the book has the answers (or workarounds) to at least the 50 most common problems users currently experience.</ul>

Any help you all could give me would be great. Just respond to this thread.




User avatar
Posts: 310
Joined: February 7th, 2004, 4:15 am
Location: Berlin,GER

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 12:11 am

I found this on and for me it´s very useful:
/* Change cursor for links that open in new window */
:link[target="_blank"], :visited[target="_blank"], :link[target="_new"], :visited[target="_new"] {cursor: crosshair;}

Posts: 1026
Joined: April 27th, 2004, 5:43 pm

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 12:27 am

Hiding context menu items:

Code: Select all
/*Hiding context menu items*/
display: none;

An imagewith all hide-able items (mirror)


User avatar
Posts: 238
Joined: October 17th, 2003, 11:04 am
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 1:42 am

All the tips that can be found at Texturizer :D


User avatar
Posts: 524
Joined: May 10th, 2003, 3:17 pm
Location: Munich

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 1:46 am

Delete an autocomplete entry by selecting it and pressing Shift+Del.

Useful cookie settings: Keep Cookies "until I close Firefox". This removes all cookies at the end of the session. Whitelist sites you want to be able to store permanent cookies in the Exceptions dialog.


User avatar
Posts: 921
Joined: March 2nd, 2004, 4:50 am
Location: InBoard & OffShore

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 2:03 am

A very brief guide to the "Essential to Have Extensions" (max of 3-5) plus a short summary of each.
I think most new FF users must be bewildered by what they're confronted with on
The Classy One.
Settling Scores. Nicely.
The Extensions Mirror


User avatar
Posts: 35
Joined: June 25th, 2004, 3:19 am

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 2:09 am

Hi, Blake.

This is an excellent and much needed project. There's a lot of great Firefox information to be had in this forum and on other sites, but it can be very daunting to find and synthesize.

Chances are that you are already aware of the following sites that I've found extremely useful:

I'd like to see the guidebook include the various Tips & Tricks found at David Tesner's site, That's where I first learned about editing configuration files, and it's full of useful info.

Results of the oft-quoted "Firefox Tuning" thread here,, would be another good addition. One attempt to synthesize that thread into a series of recommendations for different setups (as well as other tips) can be found here: ... eak/4.html.

A well-known figure in the anti-spyware movement has made a site discussing Firefox privacy and security options that would be useful for the new user: ... x-opts.htm.

It would also be useful to include installation tips from the stickies here as well as from PluginDoc to help users migrate as easliy as possible. And a section on using the options dialog to customize the toolbars.

I'd hope that some information about common extensions could be included, such as a small guide about Adblock filters, mouse gestures, and different ways to customize tabbed browsing, etc. This could help make extensions seem less complex to the new user.

On a closing note, it would be interesting to hear what people what people think the 50 most common problems are (maybe in another thread?) Migration (including "default browser" issues), options, plugins, speed tweaks, extensions, and how to use configuration files ...these seem the biggies to me but I'm sure that list isn't exclusive.



User avatar
Posts: 13671
Joined: February 13th, 2004, 5:49 am
Location: London, UK

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 3:35 am

We need as much info as possible on getting common plugins installed. If we're not bundling Flash (I assume we won't be bundling Java) then we need instructions for whatever we're "missing".

Lost User 15175
Posts: 0
Joined: December 31st, 1969, 5:00 pm

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 7:16 am

Cusser wrote:We need as much info as possible on getting common plugins installed. If we're not bundling Flash (I assume we won't be bundling Java) then we need instructions for whatever we're "missing".

The only two plugins that Fx doesn't auto find for me is Shockwave and Flash. Every other plugin I may use Firefox finds them itself; RealOne, Java, QuickTime, MediaPlayer, and Acrobat Reader.


User avatar
Posts: 228
Joined: December 17th, 2003, 2:24 pm
Location: PA, USA

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 7:42 am

Want an Auto-Install of...
SVG v6 (beta 1)
MNG v1.0.6
Authorware v2004,0,0,73
Shockwave v10
Flash v7
Try Firefox SmASF. Available at (downloads>fierfox smasf) or at my mirror, (NOTE: My mirror won't be up-to-date for about an hour- I'm uploading the new version).
"Truth is nothing but a point of view"
-Steal This Computer Book 3


User avatar
Posts: 5799
Joined: January 25th, 2003, 2:06 pm
Location: St. Paul, Minnes°ta

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 8:47 am

Tabs better explained (and perhaps more SWM checkboxes). New people say, "If tabs are so great, why doesn't it do that all the time?" Somewhere it should be written 'middle-click to open link in tab or on tab bar to close tab' in big 50 pt. blinking marquee letters. They also often want the search box to be bigger. And a toolbar castration section would be good, too (incl. remove menus with extensions/.css hacks).

Posts: 95
Joined: August 4th, 2004, 1:37 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 11:04 am


I don't know if this is an issue that other's have had or not but when my sister came to Firefox, she was using Netscape, she had a problem with her user.js file as Netscape creates as profile folder with it's download. Once we figured out that she had a conflict with the Netscape profile folder and this also included deleting her XUL.mfl file as this file contained cached files left over from Netscape, she was then able to create a new user.js file and upon re-boot her XUL.mfl file was re-created without anything in it. Which is how mine read from the beginning of my Firefox download.

Again I don't know if this is/was an issue for anyone else, but it seems to me that there are alot of people out there having trouble with a migration from Netscape to Firefox, and if people delete Netscape through there add/remove programs, it seems to leave a few things lurking under Windows Explorer that conflict with a Firefox download. I strongly suggest that people who delete Netscape through add/remove programs also to a search for anything left behind for Netscape. I'm not certain of all the names for Netscape files and folders, but this would be another interesting thing to add to a migration list somewhere.
It's tricky because you don't want anyone to delete the Mozilla plug-in's generated from Netscape, but you do need to delete anything that would be a profile, of a ...stl (I think thats what it's called) related to Netscape.

Just my humble opinion for migration factors.

Posts: 85
Joined: August 10th, 2004, 5:49 am

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 12:04 pm

Spewey wrote:Tabs better explained (and perhaps more SWM checkboxes). New people say, "If tabs are so great, why doesn't it do that all the time?" Somewhere it should be written 'middle-click to open link in tab or on tab bar to close tab' in big 50 pt. blinking marquee letters.

But, there is no middle click when you are on a laptop using a touchpad.


User avatar
Posts: 91
Joined: December 25th, 2002, 5:50 pm
Location: Virginia

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 12:09 pm

One thing that would help a lot is to automate moving across machines.

For example, two PCs play leapfrog on my desk: One stayed on RH8 as a backup while the other ran RH9; then the old RH8 machine went to FC1, and the RH9 machine backed that up; when FC3 comes out, I'll install FC2 on the RH9 machine; and so on, for as long as I can keep old cheap hardware running.

Other people simply buy new (or newER) machines when they graduate, or move, or otherwise can afford to.

It would be nice to have a GUI button saying something like Prepare To Migrate, which would create a file and send it to a floppy or CD with all the bookmarks, installed extensions, and other tweaks & configurations; and another button saying Migrate Everything, which would find such a file on a floppy or CD on the new machine, and install it.
adelphia address is a spamtrap; use karhunhammas (at)


User avatar
Posts: 6743
Joined: November 17th, 2002, 12:33 pm
Location: Princeton, NJ, USA

Post Posted August 13th, 2004, 8:40 pm

Many fixed size windows are too small. My workaround is to make sure that all popup windows come resizable, with all toolbars present. I use the following im my user.js:
Code: Select all
user_pref("dom.disable_window_flip", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_move_resize", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.close", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.directories", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.location", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.menubar", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.minimizable", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.personalbar", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.resizable", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.scrollbars", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.status", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.titlebar", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_open_feature.toolbar", true);
user_pref("dom.disable_window_status_change", true);

The Firefox Help (Texturizer) website recommends making a user.js file for prefs. You can also save extension prefs. Just do this: after you have set your prefs for an extension, shut down the browser and go into prefs.js. Find the prefs for the extension and copy them into user.js. This is especially helpful, for example, with the All-in-One Gestures extension.
Firefox: Sic transit gloria mundi.

Return to Firefox General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests