10 Firefox Productivity Tips and Tools

This article describes some pretty cool/useful shortcuts and tricks for Firefox … most of which are new to me.

As a long time Firefox user I have come to love the options to customize the browser as well as the functionality that it offers and its add-on developers. While it’s fine to use Firefox as it comes by default, you will never reach the browser’s full potential. Little tweaks and add-ons can improve how you work with Firefox significantly so that you save time by optimizing workflows.

The following list of productivity tips for Firefox are my favorites. I think that they will be useful to a lot of Firefox users even though there are usually multiple ways to do something in the browser.

I’d like to invite you to share your best Firefox productivity tips in the comment section below.

1. Restart Firefox

You won’t find a menu option or icon to restart Firefox. While you may receive prompts to do so, for instance when installing or removing an add-on in the add-on manager or after an update, there is no option to restart the browser directly.

  1. Tap on Shift-F2.
  2. Type restart and hit enter.

2. Open the Firefox profile folder

firefox productivity tips

You have two options to open the profile folder of Firefox quickly. The profile folder holds all user data including bookmarks, most add-ons, the browsing history and customizations.

  1. Tap on Shift-F2
  2. Type folder openprofile and hit enter.

The second option is the following:

  1. Type about:support in Firefox’s address bar.
  2. Click on Show Folder.

3. Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a special state of the browser in which certain features such as add-ons are not available. This can be useful to troubleshoot issues quickly as you can check if the issue occurs when no add-ons are loaded. If it does not occur, you can then go ahead and find the add-on responsible for it.

  1. Hold down Shift before you launch Firefox to display a prompt to start the browser in Safe Mode.

If Firefox is already open, do the following instead:

  1. Tap on the Alt-key on the keyboard.
  2. Select Help > Start with add-ons disabled.

4. Shortcuts

Firefox supports a lot of shortcuts. The ones that I use the most are the following:

  1. Ctrl-t to open a new tab.
  2. Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to zoom in and out.
  3. Shift-F5 to reload the page bypassing the cache.
  4. F3 to open the on-page find (you can improve that further).
  5. Ctrl-j to open the downloads manager.
  6. F12 to open the Developer Tools.

5. Save File To add-on

save file to

If you download files regularly using Firefox you may have noticed that the save process is not really optimized. The Firefox add-on Save File to changes that as it adds options to the browser to quickly save files to custom directories. This makes it possible to save certain types of files, media, documents or archives into select directories with just two mouse button clicks.

6. Customize page permissions

page permissions

Firefox uses a set of default permissions by default when websites are visited. These permissions determine what websites may or may not do in regards to the browser.

Permissions exist for accessing your location, loading images, opening popup windows or using cookies.

It can be useful to customize the permissions for select websites. If you don’t want sites to look up your location but want Google Maps or another mapping service to do so, you can modify the permission for that site only so that you are not queried on it whenever access is required.

You can also do it the other way round, allow or ask as the default permission and block for specific sites that you don’t want to permit.

To open the permissions do the following:

  1. Tap on the Alt-key and select Tools > Page Info.
  2. Switch to permissions.

You can click on the icon in front of the url as well and there on More information to open the dialog as well.

7. Copy Plain Text

When you copy text into a rich text editor in Firefox the formatting is carried over. The easiest way to copy only the text and not the formatting is to hold down the Shift key before you paste the text into the editor.

8. Switch dictionaries automatically

If you write in multiple languages you may have noticed that Firefox does not switch the dictionary used to spell check what you type automatically.

Dictionary Switcher is an add-on for the browser that does that for you. It is still necessary to install dictionary files to the browser for the switching to work though.

The dictionary used for spell checking is switched automatically depending on the language encoding of the active website.

9. Remove unnecessary menu entries

Menus display lots of options in the Firefox browser. It is likely that you are not using some at all and others only occasionally.

The add-on Menu Wizard provides you with the means to remove menu entries that you don’t need so that they don’t show up anymore in the menu bar or right-click context menu.

10. Open multiple links at once

You can only open a single link at once in Firefox. If you are on a page with multiple links that you want to open, downloads, forum threads or image links, you can speed things up by using add-ons.

The add-on that I’m using is called Multi Links but there are others such as Snap Links Plus that are compatible with recent versions of Firefox by default.

All have in common that they let you draw a rectangle around the links that you want to open at once.

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