10 Firefox Usage Situations Made Easier by Using Keyboard Shortcuts
Article by George Norman
On 15 Sep 2015
Instead of messing around the history library, you can bring back a closed tab with a keyboard shortcut. Instead of straining your eyes to find a bit of text, you can use a hotkey to bring up the find bar.

These and other situations that can be made easier by using a keyboard shortcut are listed below.


1. Where is that text I saw just a second ago?

You opened an article about tools that can restore your browser to greatness for example and you know that it mentioned the Chrome Cleanup Tool. You saw it in the article a moment ago. But now, no matter how hard you look, you can’t find the darn thing. No problem, that’s what the find function is for.

Press the Ctrl + F keyboard shortcut to bring up the find bar and type in Chrome Cleanup Tool; Firefox will automatically find the text within the webpage and highlight it. Press Enter or F3 to move along and find the next text match within the webpage. Press Shift + F3 to go to the previous text match. When you’re done, press Esc to close the find bar.

Alternatively, you can press / (slash) to bring up the quick find bar. Enter the text you’re looking for, press F3 to move to the next text match, press Esc to close the quick find bar.

2. No, no, I didn’t mean to close that tab!

This one happens to me a lot. I close a tab, thinking that I no longer need it. But mere moments later, I realize that I do need that tab. I could access the history to reopen the closed tab, but why would I when I can simply press the Ctrl + Shift + T keyboard shortcut?

Press Ctrl + Shift + T and the last closed tab will reappear. Press the keyboard shortcut again and the tab you closed before that will reappear. Keep pressing the keyboard shortcut to bring back as many tabs as you want.

About the history I mentioned above. You can bring it up by pressing Ctrl + Shift + H.

Please note that Ctrl + Shift + H will bring up the history library window. If you only need the history sidebar, you can bring it up by pressing Ctrl + H.

3. I’m really sure now and really I want to close the tab.

And now, the opposite situation: you no longer need a tab and you want to close it. You can do that by using Ctrl + W or Ctrl + F4.

Doing the opposite, opening a new tab I mean, is as easy as pressing Ctrl + T.

4. I went back, but now I want to go forward.

Everyone knows that the Backspace button will take you back, that it will take you to the previous webpage you visited. But what if you want to go forward? If you want to keep using the Backspace, you need to know that you can go forward by using Shift + Backspace.

But there’s an easier way of navigating back and forward, one that doesn’t involve using the Backspace, it involves using the arrow keys. You can navigate back with Alt + left arrow and you can navigate forward by using Alt + right arrow.

And in keeping with the navigate back and forward theme we’ve got going on, here are the keyboard shortcuts you can use to move from one tab to another.

Press Ctrl + Tab or Ctrl + Page Down to move to the next tab.

Press Ctrl + Shift + Tab or Ctrl + Page Up to go to the previous tab.

5. There’s no place like home, the home page that is.

Press Alt + Home to open whatever webpage you set as you home. No matter where you are on the web, no matter what webpage you’re browsing, you can easily return to your homepage by pressing Alt + Home.

6. Let’s do some private browsing for… personal reasons.

As you surf the web, Firefox keeps track of the sites you visit, the things you download, and so on. Now, if you don’t want the browser to remember where you’ve been, you can open a Private Browsing window. Firefox will remember your history for all your other windows, but it won’t remember any history for the private window.

Open a new Private Browsing window by pressing Ctrl + Shift + P.

Open a regular new window by pressing Ctrl + N.

If you forget to surf the web in a Private Browsing window, you can easily clear your tracks by using the Ctrl + Shift + Del shortcut to bring up the Clear Recent History window. From this window you can instruct Firefox to forget everything that happened for the past hour, the past two hours, and more.

7. I want to see that photo in all its glory.

Firefox can go full screen so you can watch photos for example in all their glory. To get Firefox to go full screen, press the F11 key. To return things to normal, press the F11 key again.

To take a closer look at the photo, you can zoom in and out with the Ctrl + plus sign and Ctrl + minus sign. Whe you’re done, use Ctrl + 0 (zero) to return to the default zoom level.

8. Bookmark this, that, and everything else.

Say you found an interesting webpage and you want to bookmark it so you can easily return to it later. The easiest way of doing that is by pressing Ctrl + D.

If you’ve found multiple interesting websites and you want to bookmark them, you need to know that you can bookmark all tabs by pressing Ctrl + Shift + D.

Access your bookmarks from the bookmarks toolbar or from the bookmarks sidebar. Press Ctrl + B to bring up the bookmarks sidebar.

Manage all your bookmarks from the bookmarks library. Bring it up by pressing Ctrl + Shift + B.

9. Open a webpage, refresh the webpage.

To open a webpage, you need to go to the address bar and type in its URL. Instead of clicking the address bar, you can use one of these keyboard shortcuts to select it: Alt + D or Ctrl + L of F6.

And while you’re entering the URL, you can use these keyboard shortcuts to make your life easier: Ctrl + Enter to complete .com addresses, Shift + Enter to complete .net addresses, Ctrl + Shift + Enter to complete .org addresses.

To refresh/reload a webpage, press F5 or Ctrl + R. To refresh a webpage and override the cache, press Ctrl + F5 or Ctrl + Shift + R.

10. How can I see what I downloaded?

Firefox will remember everything that you download from the web. You can see what you downloaded and you can manage the things you downloaded from the downloads library, which you can bring up by using the Ctrl + J keyboard shortcut.

Try some mouse tricks

Now that you're familiar with all these keyboard shortcuts, I invite you to check out some interesting mouse tricks. My best advice for you is to try and combine the keyboard shortcuts presented above with these mouse tricks.

You don't have Firefox? Go get it then!

If you don’t have Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, I invite you to get it. It’s a properly good browser and I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan. Click here to get the Windows version, and here to get the Mac version.

Please note that most of the keyboard shortcuts listed above also work with Google’s Chromeweb browser.

Tags: Mozilla, Firefox, browser, keyboard shortcuts, hotkeys
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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