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Improve Your Firefox Experience With These Awesome About:config Tweaks

Firefox Tweaks

Firefox might not garner the attention that browsers like Chrome and Safari now engender, but it is still an excellent browser that is known for its top-notch developer tools and customizability. The odds are that if you like to tinker and find ways to improve how things work, you appreciate Firefox’s about:config menu and the plethora of options it gives users to customize many aspects of their Firefox experience.

Here are some about:config entries that might help you fall back in love with the world’s favorite fox.

About:config

Before we dive in, a quick about:config primer is warranted. If you enter about:config in Firefox’s address bar, you will be greeted with many hidden settings that control aspects of how Firefox behaves. Some are representative of beta features, while others are simply the default settings that Firefox uses after a clean install.

You can change these values by double-clicking them, but make sure you understand what the setting does and how it will affect the browser before you make a change. For more information on a particular entry, you can consult Mozilla’s Knowledge Base.

Disable New Extension Install Delay

By default, Firefox makes you wait 5 seconds before you can proceed with installing a new extension. To speed up the process, you can disable the delay by setting the following entry to 0:

security.dialog_enable_delay

Adjust Bookmark Weight In Awesomebar Suggestions

Firefox’s Awesomebar determines its suggestions based on Frecency, i.e., how often and how recently you visited a URL. If you want to override this functionality and give certain types of URLs a higher or lower weight, you can with about:config tweaks.

For example, if you want bookmarks to receive a higher weight than competing entries, open about:config and search for:

places.frecency.unvisitedBookmarkBonus

Now, select a value that is higher than the entry’s default value of 140. The higher the value, the higher the weight bookmarks will receive in your Awesomebar results, and vice versa. To completely eliminate bookmarks from your Awesomebar results, set the value to 0.

Open Search Results In New Tab

I’ve trained myself to automatically run searches in new tabs that I open with the go-to keyboard shortcut Command+T. Yet, there is a way to address this issue when running searches from Firefox’s built-in search box.

Set the following entry to True:

browser.search.openintab

Now when you want to run a search, press Command+K to place the cursor in the search box, enter your term(s), and when you press Enter, your results will open in a new tab.

Enhance Firefox’s Spell Checker

An annoying restriction of Firefox’s built-in spell checker is that it is only utilized for multi-line text boxes. If you mis-spell a word in a single-line text box, you’re out of luck.

To enable spell checking for all text boxes, look for:

layout.spellcheckDefault

Now, set the entry’s value to 2.

Get Tab Previews In Tab Switcher

Just like when you Command+Tab to switch between applications on OS X, you can press Control+Tab to switch between tabs in Firefox. To make this feature a little more useful, change the following entry to True to add visual previews of your tabs:

browser.ctrlTab.previews

For even more great about:config tweaks, head on over to Lifehacker.

Source Lifehacker

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Details #

    I think there must have been a copy-paste error: In the section “Adjust Bookmark Weight In Awesomebar Suggestions“, it says I should use the same about:config hack as in the paragraph about “Disable New Extension Install Delay“.

    January 2, 2014
    • Thank you for pointing out the error. I have made the appropriate correction.

      January 2, 2014

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