Two great time-saving tips for Firefox 3

You have likely heard it a million times already, Firefox 3 is a very nice improvement over version 2, especially in the performance department. And while many still prefer to stick to their own improved versions of Opera and Safari (sorry IE, you are a disgrace right now), Firefox is by far the most used alternative browser. I believe that comes in part thanks to its flexibility for customization and the myriad of useful add-ons you can get for it.

I can’t stress enough the add-on part. From webmaster tools, to simple functionality tweaks and social networking integration. My following tips, however, lay on the side of about:config tweaks (that is, you have to manually apply these yourself in the settings registry by running the about:config command on the address bar). So here we go:

Search from the address bar
Firefox brought wide support for the secondary search field that will directly Google anything you type, however I found asking myself, why two text fields? Why not re-use the address bar, so it will go to full URLs directly or will Google any other keywords I type in there (by default Firefox uses Google’s I’m feeling lucky option = going to the first search result directly, which I don’t think is ideal most of the time).

You can change this behavior by entering the about:config command in the address bar, then filter the preference list by typing keyword. The option called keyword.URL should appear. Change its value from the default to:

That should do the trick. Now Google directly from the main address bar.

Make zoom settings tab independent
Firefox 3 upgrades zoom functionality present in previous versions by replacing font-only zoom to full page zoom which scales images and all other page properties. This may work to your advantage most of the time, but if you have many tabs opened for the same site, Firefox will think you want to zoom-in in all those tabs under the same domain. Personally I find this annoying.

So, enter the config zone and look up for the entry called browser.zoom.siteSpecific, then set it to False. This will prevent the browser from automatically zooming in all tabs from the same website.

Bonus tip
Did you know that you don’t have to type “www” or “.com” every time you enter an address? For example, just type “google” in the address bar, then use Ctrl + Enter to make it a full .com URL.