Advanced Firefox Configuration Tips

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 11, 2007
Updated • Dec 7, 2012

I'm still using Firefox and I thought it would be nice to share some advanced configuration tips that helped me a lot with you. This article was inspired by Lifehackers Top Firefox 2 config tweaks but adds advanced tips to the mix. Rest assured that the configuration tweaks will not list the same tips that you see on every other site nowadays, I promise new unseen tips.

I should probably start with some basic information on how you edit the Firefox configuration at all. This is actually pretty simple: Enter about:config in the address bar and hit enter. A large preferences list should appear. Every option has a preference name, a status, a type and a value.We are using the name to find the option in the large list. Status defines if it is still the default value or has been edited by the user, type defines which values are accepted in the value field. For boolean it would be true or false, integer a number and so on. To filter the list enter part of the name into the Filter text field, the results get updated on the fly. On to the tweaks..

Change location of bookmarks file

  • key: browser.bookmarks.file
  • default: not existing, create new String by right-clicking and entering the above key
  • value: path to bookmark.html, for instance e:\bookmark.html

You might want to change this if you want to use a removable drive to store your bookmarks for instance.

Middlemouse Paste

  • key: middlemouse.paste
  • default: false
  • change to: true

Setting this option to true makes it possible to paste text into any text field in Firefox.

Hide Go Button

  • key:browser.urlbar.hideGoButton
  • default:false
  • change to:true

If you set this value to true the Go button will be removed giving you more space in that bar. No one uses the go button anyway, just hit enter, this has the same effect.

Click Selects all in url bar

  • key:browser.urlbar.clickSelectsAll
  • default:true
  • change to:false

This is useful if you often copy only part of the url. The default behavior selects the complete url first if you click into the url bar and you have to click and select again to copy part of the url only.

Open Search Results in a new Tab

  • default:false
  • change to: true

Opens the search results always in a new tab instead of the currently active tab.

Spellcheck for textareas

  • key:layout.spellcheckDefault
  • default:1
  • change to: 2

This activates the spell check for textareas and input fields as well.

Autofill in url bar

  • key:browser.urlbar.autoFill
  • default:false
  • change to:true

Known urls are automatically completed while entering them.

Disable extension compatibility check

  • key:extensions.checkCompatibility
  • default: not existing, create new Boolean with the above name
  • value: false

Setting this value to false means that Firefox will not check installed extensions for compatibility. Great during updates, could lead to problems with incompatible extensions though.


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  1. fredden said on May 11, 2007 at 5:21 am

    Well done for the new/unseen prefs. The defaults you mentioned aren’t the same defaults that I see in my browser, but then again, I am using Firefox on Linux, not Windows.

  2. johntash said on April 11, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    You’re right. I hadn’t seen most of these before. Awesome :)

  3. Martin said on April 11, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks archer, corrected it ;) I’m so grateful for every tip that improves my language skill ;)

  4. archer said on April 11, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    didn’t know about 1 & 2. thanks.

    ghacks is a daily must-read, love it.

    here’s a little tip for the tipster: “anyway” never ends with an “s”.

  5. Marius van Witzenburg said on April 11, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Click Selects all in url bar
    Autofill in url bar

    Both quite useful for me :)

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