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How to highlight all matches in the Firefox Find bar

Firefox has a ‘Find bar’ that you can use to search a web page, or a PDF, or any other text based file. Firefox offers live search; as you type a letter, it updates the matches it has found. Once you’ve written a complete word or phrase, you can tap the Enter key and it will highlight the first instance of the word that it has found. If you continue to tap the Enter key, it will highlight the next word that matches. If you want to highlight all matches at once, there’s a keyboard shortcut that can do the job.

Highlight Find Bar matches

Open Firefox and navigate to the page you want to search. Use the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut to open the Find Bar. Type in what you want to search for. The Find Bar will show you how many matches it has found.

To highlight all the matches on the page, use the Alt+A keyboard shortcut. Once highlighted, you can use the Enter key to go through them all. The words are highlighted in pink, and the word you’re currently on is highlighted in green. If you want to turn off the highlight for all matches, tap the Alt+A keyboard shortcut again.

Chrome does this by default i.e., when you search for a word or phrase in the Find Bar, it highlights all matches instead of just the one you’ve selected. Firefox needs to be forced to do this via the keyboard shortcut mentioned before.

There’s some logic behind why Firefox does things this way. If you’re dealing with a particularly large/long page, or a page that loads as you scroll further down, it may slow the search feature or the page. Since the search is live i.e., it updates as you type, it will have to scan the entire page after each letter you enter.

If you prefer that all matches are highlighted by default, you can change its behavior. To do so, open a new tab in Firefox and enter the following in the URL bar.

about:config

Accept the on-screen warning to go to the Firefox preferences page. Look for the following preference, double-click it and change its value to ‘True’.

findbar.highlightAll

When you search a web page after changing this preference, all matches will be highlighted by default. You can still use the Alt+A keyboard shortcut to disable the highlights. The preference simply changes the default behavior of the Find Bar.

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