11 Firefox Hotkeys To Speed Up Web Browsing - gHacks Tech News

11 Firefox Hotkeys To Speed Up Web Browsing

Firefox users have dozens of hotkeys at their disposal to use some of the browser's functionality. Instead of having to use the mouse to click on elements, or navigate through menu structures to get there, pressing the hotkey is all that is needed to do that.

When you open menus in the browser, you will see that some hotkeys are displayed next to the menu entries. While that's a great start into getting to know your keyboard shortcuts, it is limited to those that are displayed. If you are comparing the Firefox menu button with the old menu toolbar, you will also notice that the new menu is displaying only a handful of shortcuts, while the old toolbar displayed many more.

firefox logos

When it comes to hotkeys, some are more useful than others. The print hotkey for instance is not really that helpful if you never print web pages or documents in the browser, while the new tab hotkey can surely be useful if you open new tabs regularly in the browser.

11 Firefox Hotkeys

  • Selecting a tab - You can select tabs in Firefox by clicking with the left-mouse button on them. You can alternatively click on the list all tabs button, or use the Panorama feature to display all tabs that are currently open. The hotkeys Ctrl-Tab, and Ctrl-Shift-Tab let you navigate to the next or previous tab in the browser's tabbar (Ctrl-PageUp and Ctrl-PageDown offer the same functionality). You can furthermore use Ctrl-[1-9] to activate the first nine tabs in the browser window directly.
  • Selecting the location bar - If you do not want to click in the location bar to enter a new web address, edit the existing one or use other functionality that it provides, you can alternatively use the Ctrl-L or F6 hotkey to activate it instead. This puts the cursor into the address bar so that you can start to write or edit right away.
  • Stop - Stop basically tells Firefox to stop loading all contents of a web page that have not been loaded fully yet. This can be very helpful on pages that display fine but still display a loading symbol, or pages that load media contents that you do not really need or want loaded. To stop a web page from continuing to load page elements, hit the ESC key.
  • Find - On page find is useful if you need to search a page for textual contents. You launch the find bar with F3, and this is also the key to jump to occurrences of the term on the web page. You can use Shift-F3 to jump in the opposite direction.
  • Copy and Paste - Probably the most used keyboard shortcut when it comes to browsing. You can copy selected elements to the clipboard with Ctrl-c, and paste it again with Ctrl-v. The hotkey Ctrl-a to select everything on a page or a frame can be useful in this regard as well.
  • Undo and Redo - Undo removes the last action, usually (part of) text that you have entered on a page, while Redo restores it again. To undo contents, use Ctrl-Z, to redo Ctrl-Shfit-Z. You can use the hotkeys multiple times to undo or redo multiple steps.
  • Website hotkeys - This works slightly different from other hotkeys in the browser. You can assign hotkeys to bookmarks to load those websites by entering the hotkeys - that are called keywords actually - in the address bar. Check out Search And Access Sites Faster With Keywords
  • Increase or Decrease Text Size - Some websites display their contents in a font that is too small, or to large. The hotkeys Ctrl+ and Ctrl- increase or decrease the font size on the selected website.
  • Full Screen - The full screen shortcut can be helpful if you need more space to display a website correctly in the browser. Just press F11 on the keyboard to do that. Firefox switches to a minimal interface mode, and changes the browser window size to fullscreen. A tap on the same key exits full screen mode.
  • Reload - You can reload a website with the F5 key, which can be helpful if you want it to display updated contents. This can be an auction at eBay that is running out, a confirmation email that you are waiting for, or  a message on a social networking site like Facebook. F5 loads contents from the cache if available. If you want to reload all contents from the web server the site is hosted on, use Ctrl-F5 instead.
  • New Tab - One of the quickest ways to load a website in a new tab is the new tab hotkey. Use Ctrl-t to open a blank tab in Firefox.

Did I miss a useful shortcut that you use regularly? Then post it in the comment section below. Would you like to see similar articles for other browsers?

  • We need your help

    Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

    We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.

    If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:


    1. SuilAmhain said on May 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      CTRL + shift + t – undo close tab
      Shift+w – close tab
      CTRL + R – reload page
      Shift + Click – Open link in background tab.

    2. DJ Larkin said on May 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

      Control + 0 will reset any text sizing done with control +/-

      Also, @SuilAmhain Control + W closes a tab, not Shift + W

      1. SuilAmhain said on May 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm

        Doh!! I was typing from my phone :-S

    3. Sebastian said on May 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      ctrl+k moves cursor into search bar
      ctrl+b opens bookmarks
      ctrl+h opens history
      ctrl+f also opens find, ctrl+g moves forward
      middle-click opens links in background too

    4. Scott said on May 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      When no input field is focused, why do web browsers still require the control key to issue commands? Why not use single-key commands? So many more actions could be mapped that way.

      1. Doc said on May 1, 2012 at 7:04 pm

        If no input field is focused, the webpage may still have Javascript hotkeys set up; for example, in Yahoo! Mail, the “k” key is mapped to “mark currently selected emails as read” (or “mark the email being viewed as read,” if you’re not browsing a folder.

        To make a long story short, single-key commands may conflict with the page’s key captures.

    5. Doc said on May 1, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      ALT+D selects the address bar (works in one of my two copies of Firefox, and exists for IE compatibility; anyone hazard a guess as to why it *doesn’t* work in my other Firefox install?)

      1. Firefox Fan said on May 10, 2012 at 10:25 am

        Try F6 function key to select the “Address Bar”

    6. Gary said on May 1, 2012 at 8:59 pm

      My new fav shortcut key is Ctrl+F6 (used to be just F6 before Fx12).

      Ctrl+F6 puts focus onto the Tabs (the Tab Bar itself). From here you can use the arrow keys to move among the tabs but also (very kool) you can use the context-menu-key (or alternatively shift+F10) to activate the right-click menu capability of a tab. Press F6 and focus returns to the page’s content.

      I use Ctrl+F6 all the time when needing to access the context menu of a Tab or wanting to use the arrow keys to move among the tabs.

      1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm

        Ctrl-F6 is focusing the address bar in my version of Firefox. Are you sure that is the right key?

        1. Gary said on May 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm

          Yes. I’m sure.

          I tried four different computers at my office to check if it’s just my computer. Computers of my colleagues. Both Shift+F6 and Ctrl+F6 put focus onto the Tab Bar in Fx12 and Fx13. But only Ctrl+F6 works to do this in Fx14.

          Perhaps an add-on is messing it up for you? I don’t use add-ons except for Noscript.

    7. pd said on May 2, 2012 at 10:54 am

      Alt + D selects the location even in the most freaky weirdarse crApple browsers like Safari.

    8. Dr Efficiency said on May 5, 2012 at 5:58 am

      Great shortcuts.
      Here are some other super useful shortcuts in this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d2yqlaZyiE

    9. Mikel said on May 7, 2012 at 3:00 am

      Ctrl+Y is like the Ctrl-Shfit-Z for the Undo function.

    Leave a Reply