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10 Firefox Shortcuts For Faster Navigation & Feature Access

Browser shortcuts are pretty standardized. Unless you’re working on different operating systems, it isn’t likely that you will have to learn new keyboard shortcuts when you decide to use a different browser for a while. Chrome and Firefox – two of the most popular web browsers – have very similar keyboard shortcuts, but if you were to compare the two, Firefox has quite a few extra ones, some of which you might just like in Chrome and a few other browsers. Apart from the normal keyboard shortcuts for navigating web pages, or just using the basic Firefox features, here is a list of ten other shortcuts that work in the latest version of Firefox (and probably will in all future versions to come).


Menu Bar Quick View (Alt)

One of the many things that are great about Chrome is that it practically eliminates unnecessary toolbars and menu bars. With Firefox, which is more rich on features, that’s a little hard to do, though the interface is still very neat and trim if you compare it to Internet Explorer or Safari  (and maybe even to Opera). The Menu Bar is still indispensible but you can hide it. The trouble that comes with this is that you have to hide/unhide it after each use. What you can do instead is keep it hidden and use the Alt key to unhide it momentarily. The Alt key is used alone (no other keys needed) and will unhide the Menu Bar temporarily; if you access one of the items in the menu bar, it will remain visible and disappear after use (no need to hit the Alt key again). Otherwise, you can simply hit Alt again, and it’ll go away.

View Add-ons page (Ctrl+Shift+a)

Firefox, quite possibly, has the most sophisticated browser add-ons you will ever find and to grab those, you might often need to visit the add-ons page. There’s a quick way to access that too – hitting Ctrl+Shift+A opens the add-on page or switches to it if it’s already open. This is one of my personal favorite shortcuts and as a regular Chrome user, I find it very inconvenient to dig my way to the Chrome extensions’ page or use an extension to make the path shorter. This shortcut can come quite handy for those too who need to frequently access the options of installed add-ons, or disable/enable them often.

Quick Find ( ` )

Quick Find is basically like the Find bar (find on page feature) available on all browsers. Where the Find bar looks for all occurrences of a particular word/phrase you have typed on the page, the Quick Find bar will find the very first time the word/phrase occurs and highlight it. To call the Quick Find bar, hit the back tick key ( ` ) or if it does not respond, hit the forward slash ( / ) and the bar will appear where the Find bar usually does. You can dismiss it by pressing the Esc key.

Access Bookmarks Menu (Alt+B)

As mentioned earlier, Firefox lets you hide the menu bar to conserve space. You can also hide the bookmarks bar if you’d like a little extra space, and still access your bookmarks quickly. Just hit Alt+B and the Menu Bar will reappear with Bookmarks selected and opened. From here, you can browse the bookmarks or open the Bookmarks manager. The Bookmarks Manager can also be called by hitting Ctrl+B, and works the same in Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. On Chrome, the shortcut is Ctrl+Shift+B to show/hide the Bookmarks bar, and Ctrl+Shift+O to show/hide the Bookmarks Manager.

Responsive Design Tool (Ctrl+Shift+M)

Firefox’s responsive design tool is probably something that web developers and a few designers dream of and unlike many other shortcuts featured here, it’s a Firefox-exclusive. The tool can be toggled for a page via the Ctrl+Shift+M shortcut, though there isn’t a keyboard shortcut for changing the size of the web page or rotating it, and you still have to use the mouse for that.

Developer Toolbar (Shift+F2)

The Developer Toolbar released in Firefox 16 is a command line tool that is probably best suited for developers, though a few commands are useful for advanced users as well. The toolbar can be called via the Shift+F2 keys. This is again a feature exclusive to Firefox with nothing comparable in other browsers. There are no shortcuts for closing the toolbar, so don’t recycle your mouse yet.

Toggle Private Browsing (Ctrl+Shift+P)

Many modern browsers have a private browsing mode that hides you from being tracked and also hides you online indiscretions.Unlike Chrome (and possibly others) you cannot have an ordinary browsing session and a private session at the same time in Firefox. What you can do however, is easily switch between the two using the Ctrl+Shift+P shortcut. When you switch to private browsing, your current tabs are saved and using this shortcut again restores all those saved tabs in a normal session.

Firefox Home Page (Alt+Home)

If you’ve set the new tab page to always open a blank page instead of the Firefox Home page, you might find there isn’t an easy way to visit it should you want quick access to one of the options there, or to access the Sync feature. Though fortunately, you can quickly open the Firefox Homepage in the current tab by pressing Alt+Home.

Start Download From A Selected Link (Alt+Enter)

If you use the Tab key to navigate links, you will notice you can select download links. In Firefox, if a download link is selected and you press Alt+Enter, the download will begin. It doesn’t work for download buttons though; just text-based download links so compared to the rest, this is somewhat limited. Still, it can save you the hassle of right-clicking the link and clicking ‘Save Link As…’.

Auto Complete Address In Awesome Bar (Ctrl+Enter)

The Firefox Awesome Bar suggests searches when you start typing, and using the up/down arrow keys, you can pick any one of them. An even neater trick you can do is to hit Ctrl+Enter and http:// will be added before, and .com after whatever you have typed. You can do this for just about anything you enter in the Awesome bar, though if it isn’t an actual web address, you will obviously get an error page. This isn’t a Firefox-only feature either and has been available in most browsers since the old Internet Explorer and Netscape days. While most of you will likely know about it already, we are including it here for those who don’t, as it can come really handy a lot of time.

These are just a handful of shortcuts that make it easier to use Firefox. We did find that many old shortcuts are no longer working in the latest Firefox version and that means some functionality has been lost. Let us know in the comments about any great Firefox shortcuts you regularly use, including the lost ones that you miss most.

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