Firefox is often relegated to be a browser thought about after Chrome, thanks to the simplicity brought by the latter. However, as ever customisable it is, there are often forgotten features in Firefox that can take the browser to dizzy heights and can be incredibly useful in everyday browsing. We talk about five such underused features, that we see are often not used or even not know about in Mozilla Firefox.
Panorama / Tab Groups
Tab Management is one of the unarguable strong holds of Firefox. Not only does Firefox consume a lot less memory, (attested by our series of benchmarks) but the inbuilt tab management features (load on click, session restore, no shrinking of the tabs like Chrome) are down right awesome. If you find yourself opening more than 8 – 10 tabs while browsing, then you must look into Panorama.
Pressing Ctrl + Shift + E will directly take you to the panoramic view of your tabs. You can drag around tabs or resize them. But the main functionality lies in moving a tab out of the current group to create a new group. Just drag a tab out of its current group to create its own group.
When you select a tab in the current group, you will be able to see only the other tab titles of the group in the Tab Bar. This reduces a whole bunch of clutter. If you want to cycle between tab groups directly via keyboard, you can simply use Ctrl + ` to select the next group and Ctrl + Shift + ` to select the previous group
It is interesting to note that the tab group button is hidden by default in my Firefox installation in Windows 8.
Inbuilt Facebook Messenger
Again, a barely used feature. Facebook Messenger was introduced as a part of new Social API’s in Firefox. It is loaded with desktop notifications, in-browser messaging and even sidebar integration.
While many of you productivity junkies would be snaring at the very idea of Facebook Sidebar Integrated right into your browser , you can safely turn it off without missing out on messages or notifications by clicking on the Facebook icon and unchecking Show sidebar. Of course, you can also have only the Messenger without the ticker by sliding up the chat bar completely upwards.
To enable it, just head over to the Facebook Messenger for Firefox page and turn it on. To disable, it click on the Facebook icon and select Turn off Facebook Messenger.
If you are a web developer or just want to check out a website’s layout in 3D then Firefox eases the task for you. While definitely not the most productive of the lot, this feature is a provides good overview of various layers of any website.
Right click on the web page and select Inspect Element. Now select the tiny cube in the panel. You can then use your mouse to navigate around as well as zoom in or out using your mouse wheel.
Click To Play
Often, random websites start playing their flash content right off the bat, which is really annoying. Apart from that having Adobe Flash always enabled in Firefox can be a good battery hog as well not to mention the stability issues. While we heavily advocate using HTML5 against Flash, we all know that Flash still rules the roost in streaming video.
To enable Click to Play : in about:config set plugins.click_to_play to True
Firefox lets you create multiple profiles, each with its own set of bookmarks, addons, themes, user preferences and more.This is useful if you want to maintain completely different environments for different use cases. Extra Profiles also helps you keep a backup profile working in case of your original profile is in a mess and you don’t want to reset Firefox or start all over again.
Creating a profile is a real simple task.
Note that if you create multiple profiles, Firefox will ask you to select between them every time you launch Firefox. To prevent it you can turn on “Don’t ask at startup”. This will start Firefox every time with the selected profile in Profile Manager.
We hope you liked our selection of nifty Firefox features. Next in the series, we will be coming up with a unique set of resourceful addons that will further boost your productivity. Let us know in the comments about your thoughts on these Firefox features.