Second part in the Back To Basics series. The location bar is a central feature of the Firefox web browser as it is used to enter URLs, keywords or search terms.
While you may think there is not much to it, Firefox offers quite a few customization options and features that will improve how you work with the location bar in the browser.
You find the Firefox location bar near the top of the browser window, by default below the row of tabs that is displayed just above it.
It consists of several elements:
Page Verification/HTTPS Information
The page info section of the location bar has several designs that depend on the type of resource that is loaded.
For regular sites, only the (i) icon is displayed in the section which you can click on to display information about the page you are on.
It displays whether the connection to the site is secure, and permissions. Currently, as of Firefox 45.0.1, that is only whether the site is allowed to install add-ons.
A click on the right arrow icon displays additional information if a secure connection has been established.
It displays certificate verification information and an option to display even more certificate related information on an extra page (called page info).
You can open Page Info at any time with a right-click on the content pane of the open page and the selection of "view page info".
The location area
The location area may display the resource that is currently loaded in the active tab, or contain text that you have entered.
It accepts several different input:
Suggestions are displayed automatically when you start typing. These come from the browsing history, previously entered information, the bookmarks, open tabs, and if you enable it, from search engines as well.
Suggestions may change as you type, and you can select any with a click of the mouse or by using the cursor keys and the enter key.
Please note that this works only for history items but not for bookmarks or open tabs.
Searches, anything that you enter that is not interpreted as an URL, open the results page of the default web browser of Firefox.
Keywords finally work in conjunction with bookmarks. Basically, they allow you to associate a keyword, say wiki, with a site's search engine. To use it afterwards, all you need to do is enter wiki followed by your search term.
Show History icon
The show history icon is only displayed if you mouse the mouse cursor over the location bar area, or activate the location bar.
It lists the last web pages that you have opened in the browser allowing you to quickly open them again or jump to them if their are still open in the browser.
Here is a small selection of tips that you may find useful:
The Firefox options hold provide you with means to change the location bar behavior significantly.
Load about:preferences#search in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
You define the default search engine that Firefox uses when you type in the location bar.
In addition to selecting a different engine from the list, you may also define whether the search engine is allowed to provide search suggestions, and to display those suggestions in location bar results.
If you don't find your favorite search engine listed by the selection menu, use Mozilla AMO to find it.
Load about:preferences#privacy in the browser's address bar and hit enter.
Scroll down until the Location Bar section is displayed. You may use it to select which suggestions Firefox should display when you type in the location bar.
It will suggest history, bookmarks and open tabs by default, but you can uncheck any item here to block those suggestions.
The following preferences are only accessible via about:config and not the Firefox options. You can reset any of those you may have changed to their default value with a right-click and the selection of reset.
Type, or copy and paste, the following preferences to change their values.
The following add-ons are designed to change the functionality of the Firefox location bar.
All parts of the series up until now:
Now You: Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comment section below.
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