Firefox 87: find on page highlights matches in scrollbar

Mozilla plans to introduce a new usability feature in Firefox 87 that improves the web browser's find on page functionality. Currently, when you use find on page, e.g. by invoking it with the shortcut Ctrl-F, you get a few options to customize the search and one visual option to highlight all matches.

Select "highlight all" in the interface at the bottom to highlight all matches on the page. Starting in Firefox 87, visual highlights are shown on the scrollbar as well to indicate the position of matches on the page; this is useful in large documents that may take a lot of scrolling.

The feature is not entirely new, extensions like the abandoned FindBar Tweaks add-on for Firefox, or the still compatible add-on Search Multi Tabs added the feature to Firefox when installed. Native integration on the other hand makes the feature available to all users of the browser. Chromium-based browsers like Google Chrome support similar functionality.

The screenshot below shows how the new scrollbar highlighting looks like in Firefox 87 Nightly.

firefox highlight search matches scrollbar

Not every "hit" is represented on the scrollbar as this could get too convoluted. Instead, the scrollbar highlights area of the document with hits if many are available.

Mozilla plans to include an option to change the color of the highlights. Firefox users who don't want to wait for this to happen can change an advanced parameter of the web browser to modify the color right away.

  1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
  2. Select "accept the risk and continue"
  3. Search for ui.textHighlightBackground. The preference does not exist by default.
  4. Select String and then the plus-icon to create it.
  5. Now use a color code, e.g. blue, firebrick, or PapayaWhip, to change the color of the on-page find highlight function.

Changes take effect immediately, a restart of the browser is not required. You can follow development of the feature on [email protected].

Firefox 87 is scheduled for a release on March 23, 2021. (via Sören Hentzschel)

Summary
Firefox 87: find on page highlights matches in scrollbar
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Firefox 87: find on page highlights matches in scrollbar
Description
Mozilla plans to introduce a new usability feature in Firefox 87 that improves the web browser's find on page functionality by adding highlights to the scrollbar.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Ayy said on February 14, 2021 at 9:16 am
    Reply

    no surprise, chromiums had this feature for a while now and its good that they implemented it.

  2. Jeff M.S. said on February 14, 2021 at 10:39 am
    Reply

    Now that’s something that’s useful. Google should adopt it too.

    1. Jeff M.S. said on February 14, 2021 at 2:29 pm
      Reply

      Oh wait Chrome already has it. I thought it was a bug in the scrollbar rendering.

  3. John said on February 14, 2021 at 10:59 am
    Reply

    It’s not a feature, rather a lack of it was a bug. Long-lasting, stupid bug. :(

    1. Allwynd said on February 14, 2021 at 7:25 pm
      Reply

      The way Firefox searches is very outdated and unintuitive, the same way they display bookmarks/history/downloads either in the sidebar or in a separate, floating window. These things should already be incorporated into separate tabs, like Chrome does. Firefox is still living in 2002 and their fanboys think that’s OK.

      As for searching, in Firefox the search bar remains and you have to click the [X] button to close it, in comparison, in Chrome it’s like a pop up and as soon as you hit ESC, it disappears, that doesn’t happen in Firefox.

      That’s why I agree with many other folks here – why should Firefox get a refreshed UI when some core elements never undergo improvement and as a whole the browser is one buggy, broken mess that is slow and barely works on many websites?

      1. Sol Shine said on February 15, 2021 at 2:35 pm
        Reply

        @Allwynd

        For me the find in page feature in Firefox is much better than the feature in Chrome.
        I added the ‘find in page’ button to the menu bar in Firefox so that I have a one click access to it. The find bar then opens automaticly at the bottom and has buttons for more options like ‘highlight all’, ‘match case’ and ‘match whole words’.
        The find bar remains open untill I close it and I like that for when I am often using searching for the same words in new pages in open.
        I was angry when Firefox removed the status bar which had the find feature in it, as I use it alot.

        In Chrome, I need 2 clicks to use the find in page feature.
        First I need to click the 3 dots, then the find button.
        Then the tiny ‘find’ popup window appears with only the options to go to the next or previous appearance of a word. The popup windows is in front of the bookmark bar and blocks some of my bookmarks. It can not be moved.
        So for me Firefox find in page feature is better.

      2. John said on February 17, 2021 at 3:21 pm
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        Escape works here perfectly for closing search. There is also a fast search shown by “/” key.

    2. Rick said on February 14, 2021 at 9:24 pm
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      I’d love to know how it happened. How did we go a decade, or whatever it’s been, with this feature staring them in the face but only getting to it some months into 2021?

      Was it extraordinarily difficult to do in Firefox? Did they really not think it worthwhile? Was there no one to do it?

      1. Iron Heart said on February 15, 2021 at 7:14 am
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        @Rick

        > Was there no one to do it?

        Layoffs!? I am just joking. On a more serious note: Take a look at the Firefox bug tracker if you feel like watching a solid horror flick.

      2. Allwynd said on February 15, 2021 at 9:05 am
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        @Iron Heart

        Good one. I know someone who is a Firefox fanboy and refuses to admit how bad it is, instead constantly tells me how they tried Chrome and it was slow and whatnot and they went back to Firefox, yada yada yada…

        Next time I will use that argument about the bug tracker to shut them up, except that I know it won’t work.

      3. Anonymous said on February 16, 2021 at 5:47 am
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        @Allwynd
        and when they’re out of argument, they will say Firefox respects your privacy..

      4. Iron Heart said on February 16, 2021 at 8:07 am
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        @Anonymous

        …when it actually doesn’t (defaults).

      5. Anonymous said on February 17, 2021 at 9:39 am
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        Where is this list of all the “sane” defaults you keep claiming brave or ungoogled chromium have over firefox. At last count it was about three things

      6. Iron Heart said on February 17, 2021 at 1:15 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        Are you the same “Anonymous” from the Brave article (if so, please pick a unique nick)? I listed various things and clearly refuted some of the stuff you said in response. Not doing it here again. You also seemingly don’t care about the privacy between user and browser developer (which is important, because the company behind the browser may collect data about you same like any tracker), only about website-related protections (and even there, Brave wins by default).

        Ungoogled Chromium in summary offers weaker privacy than Brave by default, I didn’t even mention it. It’s not terrible, though.

      7. Anonymous said on February 18, 2021 at 9:25 am
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        my name Anonymous, do not want unique name or you track and hunt me

        the list it now at four minor things brave does that firefox does not – you call them minor in your own words – why you not able to give more examples and of any big things

        why you not be fairs and also list firefox things that brave not have

      8. Iron Heart said on February 18, 2021 at 2:29 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        > you track and hunt me

        Huh? Don’t know where you get this idea from, you have a vivid imagination clearly. Also, even if I wanted to (lol), I could hardly do it based on you picking a pseudonym of all things.

        > you call them minor

        No, I didn’t. Stop lying about me.

        It’s more than four things, and I explicitly said that I would exclude the more minor stuff because I have no intention to write pages long comparisons about the more minor things. Anything else wouldn’t even make sense, my dude.

        > list firefox things that brave not have

        Such as? You mentioned isolation, this is a cross-browser development. Chromium is continually implementing this as well. Firefox is technologically behind Chromium in most aspects.

      9. Anonymous said on February 19, 2021 at 7:10 am
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        – Don’t know where you get this idea from – you very angry man, make me scardy cat. you supposed to be expert on internet. you tell others you can get real ip even on tor browser. i know you not run ghacks but you supposed to be super expert ninja internet warrior

        – Stop lying about me – me never lie. you very rude. you said they minor. but ok so imagine they not so minor. you just said all the rest is “more minor” so the four things are “less minor” but still “minor” and you still only at four things else you would have more “less minor” things or at least a big thing. where is all big differences that make brave best browser. you got none? you been telling stretchy lies with no proof. you say cookies in brave limited to 7 days but it really 60 days. you not even know brave. why i trust you? cookies not even have first party isolation in brave. brave not best privacy browser. why you keep telling fibbers?

        – this is a cross-browser development – no one care for silly argument on this or who invent. firefox does way more than any other browser for network partition and now dynamic first party isolation do same for cookies and web storage in next release in four days

      10. Iron Heart said on February 19, 2021 at 4:21 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        > you supposed to be expert on internet

        You can bestow whatever title on me (nothing I can do against that, really), but I am not claiming this for myself.

        > the four things

        The four things you chose to acknowledge, yeah. I listed a great many more things.

        > you said they minor

        Nope. I specifically said that I would exclude more minor points because I don’t have the time, in fact.

        > 7 days

        It’s 7 days for all cookies set via JS. Literally what I said. Don’t know what you want from here. You should also probably delete cookies upon closing the browser, by the way.

        > cookies not even have first party isolation in brave

        Brave blocks 3rd party cookies and 1st party cookies can be accessed by the same origin first party even under a partitioning scheme. Tired of repeating it.

        > silly argument

        Because you don’t like it, it has to be silly? Is that how it works?

        Can we please end the discussion, you are wasting my time in even more horrific ways than some other people do here.

      11. Anonymous said on February 20, 2021 at 3:51 am
        Reply

        – You can bestow whatever title on me – but you say you fingerprint expert. you say you can get real ip on tor browser. you say you can get all firefox exension ids. you say lot of things but no proof. all smoke and no mirrors then. so you not expert. good to know. call you “chief quantity non-expert talker” then. also, did you like my joke about you quantity and quality. it very funny

        – I listed a great many more things – you only list about ten things, not 4-5 pages. as you say the rest all MORE MINOR but I yet to see the rest because you not give list or any provings. why you keep twisty words. the other eight things not valid

        – Literally what I said – not what you say. you say “cookies”, not “cookies set via JS”. you always lie by omission. 7 days easily bypassed by spawning from http cookie. so dumb

        – 1st party cookies can be accessed by the same origin first party even under a partitioning scheme – why you repeat what it do as designed, why you repeat what I say as truth? brave NOT even partition cookie or local storage or idb or worker cache and more. that is point. brave not even clear that stuff by default. so no protection and not try to protect from repeat first party visits not even in new session which you claim. you not know brave well well. brave not very private to me. firefox have dynamic first party isolate

        – Because you don’t like it, it has to be silly – it silly because it really dumb argument. who invent and when just dumb. only matters what and who and how today. i start to think you biased and hate firefox

      12. Iron Heart said on February 20, 2021 at 6:59 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        > but you say you fingerprint expert.

        Nope. I am just a commenter who has sources to back up what he says. Contrary to you.

        I mean, you can call me whatever, I am NOT calling myself that.

        > you say you can get all firefox exension ids. you say lot of things but no proof.

        https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1405971

        When I first mentioned it, I posted exactly this. You seem to have forgotten about it.

        > the other eight things not valid

        …according to you. You dismissing them does not mean that they are invalid.

        > 7 days easily bypassed by spawning from http cookie. so dumb

        You know that there is a reason why they differentiate in that manner, right? Right?

        > why you repeat what it do as designed, why you repeat what I say as truth?

        Because you don’t seem to understand that partitioning does nothing when it comes to tracking your visits by first party. The first party has access to its own files always.

        > brave not even clear that stuff by default.

        Neither does Firefox.

        > so no protection and not try to protect from repeat first party visits not even in new session which you claim

        eTags and HTTP Alternative Services are being blocked. Cookies are allowed for web compat reasons. Tired of explaining it. They do as much as possible without making the experience for users horrible.

        > brave not very private to me. firefox have dynamic first party isolate

        Isolation is far from the only privacy feature, my dude. You make a very big deal out of it – OK, but inconsequential.

        > only matters what and who and how today

        I wish that you would keep that in mind when you mention beta and alpha features. Preaching water and drinking wine?

      13. Anonymous said on February 21, 2021 at 8:41 am
        Reply

        ah very good to see you again my friend chief quantity non-expert talker

        – Because you don’t seem to understand that partitioning does nothing when it comes to tracking your visits by first party. – THAT EXACTLY MY POINT I SAY when you claim brave protect against repeat first party visit. you telling whopper porkies about me big time now. why you repeat what I say as if I not say it.

        – They do as much as possible – they do nothing because first party repeat visits not protected which is THE POINT which you keep repeating and which I ALREADY SAY

        – You know that there is a reason why they differentiate in that manner – this no answer. 7 day cookie useless when there is 60 day cookie. i try to be mathamagician. let me see. 60 is more then 7. yes. see. so 7 day cookie useless

        – I wish that you would keep that in mind – those things are today not some future thing. you can test stable or use beta. two day for next stable not that far away

        – OK, but inconsequential – so dynamic first party isolation inconsequential? you try to be comedian like me. you not very good. it biggest thing since sliced sand witches and only firefox do it. why you hate dfpi? it do for cookies local storage etc just like network partition do and you think network partition very cool. you argument sound very silly

        – You dismissing them does not mean that they are invalid – they proven as silly like 7 day cookie

        still only at 4 things you say minor. where is 4-5 pages you promise. i staring to think you making things up

  4. Danny said on February 14, 2021 at 1:53 pm
    Reply

    What I want is for the Search Bar to be moveable to the UPPER Side.

    Anyone know how to work around this please?

  5. Anonymous said on February 14, 2021 at 6:52 pm
    Reply

    About time. What took them so long? Now all they need is translation built in.

  6. foromir said on February 14, 2021 at 8:02 pm
    Reply

    This doesn’t work for me on 85.0.2.

    1. Benjamin Herne said on February 15, 2021 at 12:58 am
      Reply

      Well of course not. It’s a feature in firefox 87

  7. Bobby Phoenix said on February 15, 2021 at 1:26 am
    Reply

    I don’t understand the hate for Firefox when they add new features. So what if they did it second. Would you rather not have it added at all? Geez people. If you don’t like what Firefox is doing go code your own browser, and stop ruining it for the rest of us who appreciate the work done with Firefox.

    1. Iron Heart said on February 15, 2021 at 7:12 am
      Reply

      Imagine shilling for Mozilla in 2021… They always come in second, it could be their motto as wannabes. And why should I code my own browser, I am already using the best one available.

      1. m3city said on February 15, 2021 at 12:58 pm
        Reply

        So why does it bother you they are second?

      2. Iron Heart said on February 15, 2021 at 5:05 pm
        Reply

        @m3city

        Why does it bother @Bobby Phoenix would be the better question. I am just stating what I am seeing.

      3. Rick said on February 15, 2021 at 6:47 pm
        Reply

        Second in a two-man race. And the first guy might have had it on Day 1 back in 2008 (if not, it wasn’t too long after, since it feels like this common-sense feature has been there forever.).

      4. Carl Gustav said on February 15, 2021 at 4:34 pm
        Reply

        @Iron Heart

        Imagine shilling for some chrome clone with marketshare less than margin of error…

      5. Iron Heart said on February 16, 2021 at 8:06 am
        Reply

        Hey Carl Gustav, how is the product you use doing these days?

        http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html

        I am satisfied with the market performance of mine.

        https://brave.com/25m-mau/

      6. m3city said on February 18, 2021 at 10:27 pm
        Reply

        I could say the same thing. 25mil of Brave vs 200mil of FF. Does it say anything about BESTNESS of a browser? Nope.

      7. Iron Heart said on February 20, 2021 at 6:49 pm
        Reply

        @m3city

        Trends are important. Brave is going up, Firefox is going down. Environment is also important. Firefox retains legacy users which it got back in the day when Internet Explorer was the only other choice, Brave grows in a fairly saturated market situation where its competitors are actually competent and evolving.

  8. mo said on February 15, 2021 at 1:32 am
    Reply

    FINALLY!

  9. owl said on February 15, 2021 at 5:46 am
    Reply

    I didn’t know the hotkey “Ctrl + F” in Firefox.
    I tried it with Firefox “78.7.1 esr” and found it successfully.
    Thanks to the article, I have updated recognition.

    About hotkey “Ctrl + F”,
    In Pale Moon and Basilisk, by adding the extension “Searchbar like Findbar”, It’s very convenient because can add a practical search box and it’s highly customizable.
    https://addons.basilisk-browser.org/addon/searchbarlikefindbar/
    Extended Statusbar
    https://addons.basilisk-browser.org/addon/extended-statusbar/
    Statusbar Organizer
    https://addons.basilisk-browser.org/addon/statusbar-organizer/

  10. tratatam said on February 15, 2021 at 8:48 am
    Reply

    Also there is an alternative extension “Find in Page with Preview” https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/find-in-page-with-preview/

  11. Anonymous said on February 15, 2021 at 9:08 am
    Reply

    I don’t understand why writing that this is a new feature. it was a build-in feature for ages. i used it for years in firefox.

    1. tratatam said on February 15, 2021 at 9:21 am
      Reply

      The same story was with picture-in-picture mode that firstly was made a long time ago when there was Firefox with XUL. And then the mode was removed until Google Chrome added the same mode. And then Mozilla decided to back-port it to the new Firefox version with Web Extension API.

      I don’t say that I am right, but here in ex-USSR counties such schemes are used to steal money by bosses from their companies and countries. Firstly they open some project and get extra money from company to develop it. Secondly they spend money to investigate an (in)efficiency of the developed project and get extra money for that. Thirdly they decide to close the “inefficient” project and get extra money for that too. Then they repeat such scheme endlessly, sometimes they repeat that with the same project few times.

    2. southwindcg said on February 15, 2021 at 9:37 am
      Reply

      I guess you didn’t read closely enough, because highlighting the location of search results on the scrollbar is indeed new to Firefox, unless you’re using an add-on, or posting from a parallel universe that has had this feature “for ages”… 😉

      1. Anonymous said on February 15, 2021 at 10:39 am
        Reply

        yeah sorry for that, didn’t read it well. now on desktop i can see also the lines on the scrollbar.

  12. pd said on February 15, 2021 at 3:55 pm
    Reply

    Saw this feature a long time ago, probably through an extension. Exceeding good idea.

  13. Anonymous said on February 15, 2021 at 7:32 pm
    Reply

    Firefox is so much better than any other browser out there. Especially Brave. Even with default settings.

    1. Iron Heart said on February 17, 2021 at 6:38 pm
      Reply

      @Anonymous

      Then why does almost nobody use it anymore?

      1. Anonymous said on February 18, 2021 at 7:41 pm
        Reply

        different anon here

        I wouldn’t call 220 million daily users “almost nobody” – https://data.firefox.com/dashboard/user-activity

        Arguments like yours are not productive, insightful or even entertaining – you have serious issues, and need to get over whatever the hell it is you think Mozilla did to you, and move on

      2. Iron Heart said on February 19, 2021 at 8:43 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        4% overall market share, down from 30%:

        http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html

        https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share

        The absolute numbers mean zilch. The relative numbers tell you that web devs will stop caring about Firefox at this stage. Firefox doesn’t even work with Microsoft services anymore, e.g. Microsoft Teams or Skype (you are getting an “unsupported browser” notice if you try). Whoever uses Microsoft services already has a hard time with FF, and that’s almost everybody in one capacity or another.

        > you have serious issues

        :D

        Yeah, I have issues for knowing the real market situation. I have issues for knowing about the Mozilla track record. In short, I have issues for being a realist. You guys crack me up, lol.

        It’s you who has issues if you choose to be blindly ignorant of reality in favor of fanboism.

      3. Anonymous said on February 19, 2021 at 12:50 pm
        Reply

        And immediately into childish name calling. Reach out to family and friends. It’s OK to ask for help.

        * [Editor: removed, please no personal attacks]

      4. Iron Heart said on February 20, 2021 at 7:41 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        * [Editor: removed, no personal attacks please]

      5. Iron Heart said on February 20, 2021 at 6:46 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous

        How about you no longer “reach out” to me? Nothing productive comes out of it anyway.

  14. Iron Heart said on February 21, 2021 at 1:23 pm
    Reply

    @Anonymous

    People diagnosing mental problems of others are oftentimes the ones who need help themselves. It’s called projection. Your posts nicely reflect that.

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