Undocumented Firefox tweaks

While Microsoft's Internet Explorer remains the most popular browser, there's a reason many techies use Mozilla's Firefox browser: Control. Firefox simply offers more ways to customize the browsing experience, letting you get more work done in less time. Here are our favorite productivity tweaks for Firefox 2.0.

Keep tabs on your tabs

One of Firefox's most appreciated features is the browser's ability to display multiple pages that you view by clicking their tabs. But you don't have to click through menus to open a new tab; instead, just press -T to view a blank page on a new tab, with the cursor in the address bar.

To have a link open in a new tab, either right-click the link and select Open Link in New Tab, or highlight it and click the mouse wheel.

You can have links that would normally launch a new browser window open instead in a new tab: Select Tools, Options, click the Tabs icon, choose a new tab, and click OK.

To move between tabs with the keyboard, press - to open the tab to the right, or -- to go left. Or reorder your tabs by dragging them with your mouse.

To close all but one of your open tabs, right-click the one you want to keep open and select Close Other Tabs. If you accidentally close the wrong tab, press --T to bring it back.

Save time with keyboard shortcuts

A surefire way to improve your browsing speed is by leaving your mouse alone and controlling Firefox from the keyboard. Here are some useful (but not always obvious) keyboard shortcuts:

To enter a URL or search criterion into the address bar, press either -L or -D. If you just entered a domain name into the address bar, don't bother adding ".com"; instead, press - to insert that suffix and go to the page. For ".org," use --; for ".net," -.

To enter search criteria into the Search Bar, press -K. Next, press and the down arrow, or and the up arrow to cycle through the available search services. To search for text on the current page, press -F to open the Find toolbar, or just / (the slash key) to access the Quick Find toolbar. What's the difference? The former provides a couple of basic search options, the latter naught but a text box for entering your search term. To find the next instance of the text you just found, press .

Two Eyesight-Saving Shorcuts: To toggle full-screen view on and off, press . And to increase and decrease the Web page's font size, press -= and -- ( with the equal and minus signs, respectively).

Bring order to your bookmarks

If you create a lot of bookmarks but don't keep them organized, your bookmarked sites will be almost as difficult to find as unbookmarked pages.

Bookmarks are a lot easier to manage if you place them in folders that branch off the main Bookmarks menu. For instance, I place encyclopedias and other reference sites in a folder called Reference. And I keep dictionaries and thesauri in a folder of the Reference menu I named Language.

To organize your bookmarks, select Bookmarks, Organize Bookmarks to open the Bookmarks Manager. Here you can create new folders, drag bookmarks to new locations, and make other changes.

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