How to use Firefox's Browsing History effectively
The Firefox web browser keeps track of visited sites locally just like any other browser. The main idea behind the recording of visited sites is to provide users with suggestions based on past visits when they type in the address bar and also as an option to find previously visited sites to reopen them using the Library.
Accessing the browsing history is not really that straightforward, as you first need to know that it is found under Library in Firefox. Select Menu > Library > History to display it in the menu. While that may be sufficient for some, others may prefer to browse the history in an interface that is more comfortable to use.
You can either select "show all history" to display the history in a separate window, or use the Show History Sidebar option to display the browsing history in a sidebar in the browser. Both options provide better manageability thanks to the larger interface, built-in search functionality and sorting options.
The Browsing History Sidebar in Firefox
The browsing history sidebar takes up some space in the Firefox interface, but it is visible all the time next to the active site. You may launch it from the Menu but also with the shortcut Ctrl-H (to toggle it on or off).
The sidebar lists all visits chronologically by default; a click displays the list of visited sites, each with its page title and favicon. Click on an entry with the left mouse button to load it in a new tab in Firefox. You may also right-click to get additional options:
- Open the site in a new window or a new private window.
- Bookmark the page.
- Copy the page URL.
- Delete the page entry in the browsing history.
- Forget about the entire site.
The last option removes all traces of the site in the Firefox browsing history.
The view menu lists several sort options; the default sorts the records chronologically, but you may switch that the following sort orders instead: date and site, site, most visited, or last visited. These sort options can be very useful in finding history records quickly. The built-in search displays only matching records; one shortcoming of the search is that sorting is ignored in the search results.
The dedicated browsing history window of Firefox
The browsing history library window resembles the sidebar listing on first glance. Since it launches in a dedicated window, it comes with extra options such as changing the size of the window.
Tip: use Ctrl-Shift-H to display the window right away.
First thing you may notice is that the library that opens includes downloads, bookmarks and other records and not just the browsing history. The history is sorted chronologically just like the sidebar listing. You get the same sorting options when you activate the View menu on the page, and also some that the sidebar does not list.
- Last Modified
- A-Z or Z-A
Not all of these are of much use, e.g. tags only if you have added tags to history records and the same can be said for last modified or location (which means the URL in this context).
The View menu may be used to display more data including the visit count and the most recent visit date/time.
Individual entries provide more information though. When you left-click on an entry you see the page name, URL and description. You may add tags to history entries.
To open a record, double-click on an entry. You may also right-click to access the same options as the sidebar's context menu.
Using the Firefox Library for effective History management
Most Firefox users access the history when they try to find a site that they opened in the past, e.g. to reopen it or add it to the bookmarks of the browser for safe keeping.
The sidebar menu may offer the quickest way to find records. All you do is press Ctlr-H to display it, and either the search or manual browsing to find the history entry. Left-click on it to open it, or right-click and select bookmark to add it to the bookmarks.
Tags can be useful, but only if you keep the browsing history indefinitely and don't delete it at all (as tags are deleted with the records).
The library window offers additional data and sorting options. You may sort by most or least visited for example, something that you cannot do in the sidebar.
In short: memorize the keyboard shortcuts to display the history sidebar or dedicated library window directly. Make use of the sort options to sort the data based on your needs, or use the search to find entries quickly if you do remember page titles or URLs.
Now You: Do you use the browsing history of your browser regularly? Anything missing that you would like to see supported?Advertisement