Favorite FireFox feature

This has to be my favorite feature (I don't really use FireFox, but just started to play around with it). I am always looking for specific text in a web page, and I hate doing the Control-F, rinse, repeat mechanism to find something. FireFox has this nice feature where you can just start typing the text and it will automatically find it in the page.

I do this A LOT when clicking on results from a search query, and looking for the string I searched for in the page. Love it.


FireFox is pretty slick. It has lots of nice small usability and productivity enhancements.

Comments (15)

  1. Steven says:

    I really like having the search window at the bottom not obscuring the webpage itself.

  2. Rick says:

    Agreed. They added this to source view and it can be a godsend. One of many small features that make it hard to go back to using (vanilla) IE.

  3. DC says:

    I hate that the find feature in IE, when it gets to the end of the document, puts up a modal dialog that says "Reached the end of the document". It won’t wrap around and start at the beginning, even if I want to search for another string.

  4. G. Man says:

    The problem with the IE Ctrl+F find is that 99% of the time it "finds" something, I have no idea where on the page it was found. It needs to do more than just reverse-highlight the text… stuff like this is just killing IE…

  5. Andrei P. says:

    In IE you can use the Google toolbar for searching the page and highlighting the search terms.

  6. After using the Find as You Type feature of Firefox for a while, you will find yourself doing it in other applications. I can’t count the times I was working with a friend on a project and we looked up something on the Web on IE and I "just started typing" to find a particular piece of information.

  7. treego14 says:

    If you think Firefox has usability enhancements, wait until you try Opera. Opera blows away Firefox in this respect.

  8. froz says:

    It also supports F3 for find again.

    I’m a big fan of Firefox, but it’s pretty interesting the improvements and tweaks that products like Maxthon have done to Firefox’s features.

    I love it when you stumble over a feature that you never realized needed improvement but when the alternative presents itself it just shines.

    Hooray for competition.

  9. Ron McMahon says:

    You comment: "I don’t really use FireFox, but just started to play around with it" is a hoot! I suppose it is a career-limiting move to admit that you use a non-Microsoft product. Why not just admit that Microsoft has failed to innovate in the web browser space? IE6 should be an embarassment to all who work at Microsoft, with its status as a slow, security risk-laden tool that is derided by both Gartner and millions of web users. Microsoft’s abandonment of innovation and upkeep of IE for the last 5 years is the best proof of the dangers of a market monopoly. The world is voting against Microsoft with the stampede to Firefox (and to a lesser extent Opera), now the walls are beginning to even show strain from within the Microsoft fort itself. I hope your ‘friend’ has fun using Firefox…we know that you’d never want to give up IE *wink*

  10. Omar Shahine says:

    It’s never a career limitng move to admit you use competition’s software. I worked on Mac Software at Microsoft for 5 years, so you’d think I would know that more than anyone :-).

  11. Bearded Geek says:

    TabBrowser Extensions rock! (Not for your granny, but for power users…) Highlights:

    – You can scroll quickly through tabs just by using the mousewheel over the tab-bar, click the mousewheel to reopen last closed tab, and general mouse gestures etc

    – You can group tabs really powerfully, have powerful BOOKMARK GROUPS.

    – You can have progress bars in each tab.

    – You can lock tabs so you can’t close them

    – Auto reloading of tabs at set intervals

    – You can lock tabs so any links you click in them open in new, adjoining tabs and become a TabGroup.

    – Excellent tab sessioning

    – Excellent management of closed tabs

    – Multiline tabs (although this is very beta, and not to all tastes)

    Another feature I love about Firefox is Smart Keywords. I have a penchant for limericks, and I frequently make use of rhymezone.com to find rhyming words. Instead of actually going to the site, all I do is type ‘rhyme <word>’ into the address bar. It automates the search, and saves a lot of time. More to the point, setting it up even passes the ‘n00b’ test! Similarly for all frequently searched sites.

    I disagree that Opera is more usable than Firefox. For a start, there is no way to manage RSS feeds directorywise – the Firefox Live Bookmarks are excellent for this.

    Also, when moving between tabs you waste time with the splashscreen – it might be a good usability improvement between APPLICATIONS but not between WEBPAGES (or at least, I think so).

    Firefox also has more screen space available, even if you buy the full version of Opera without the annoying ads. The default Opera tabs themselves are kludgy and babyish, with low contrast. (No, I can’t be bothered to change themes). As far as I know can’t be grouped or coloured.

    Firefox also seems better for developers – if you Ctrl+Click any particular area of a page you can view the source for just that part. The Javascript console and DOM inspector are fantastic. The web-developer toolbar is an excellent extension…

    I think overall Opera probably JUST has the edge regarding CSS compliance, but it’s not much. One great developer feature from Opera is automatic validation.

    Firefox also works better with Javascript heavy sites than Opera (GMail is an example) although Gmail itself has been fixed in the latest Opera beta.

    This is very subjective, but Firefox seems to load pages more incrementally, which is a big plus, even though it is slightly slower than Opera overall. Opera scrolls through webpages far too fast – I prefer Firefox’s accelerating scrolling.

    I also find the default keyboard shortcuts in Opera annoying. Anyone switching from IE will want ‘Ctrl+D’ to get to the address bar, why force me to learn new combinations… (Yes, I know I can change the shortcuts).

    Another area where Firefox wins is with it extends the ‘Ctrl+Enter autofills the http://www and“>http://www and“>http://www and“>http://www and .com’ in an address, with Shift+Enter gives ‘http://www and“>http://www and“>http://www and“>http://www and .net’ and Alt+Enter gives ‘http://www and“>http://www and“>http://www and“>http://www and .org’ (possibly the other way round ;-))

    Opera wins with its fast forward and rewind buttons, however. It also has far better DEFAULT mouse gesturing and tab sessioning. It also has voice control, but I haven’t ever used it – does anyone here have any feedback?

    Both Opera and Firefox allow you to seperate out frames, etc, quite nicely. One excellent idea in Opera is you can eliminate the horizontal scrollbar through clever zooming and resizing of various bits. Of course, this is by far and away the biggest usability concern for mobile phones and other things with small screens…

    about:config is an excellent idea too. One bug (which I have submitted) – I realise it’s for advanced users only, but even there it could be made friendlier if instead of just integers for various configuration options, we had a description of the option too… Opera, of course, is just as configurable.

    Firefox also has excellent security measures (I don’t really know about Opera, I’m sure it’s excellent too). When visiting a secure site the address bar very visibly turns yellow, and the TRUE DOMAIN is listed on the right hand side of the status bar, helping prevent phishing. I don’t like the idea of a ‘master password’ to unlock all others which are remembered, but then I suppose better that than Gator or other spyware…

    Opera could well be better as an ‘integrated internet suite’ than Mozilla – I haven’t really tried out the mail/IRC elements of either. However, as a standalone browser, I much prefer the Fox.

    <RANT>IE sucks.</RANT>

  12. Bearded Geek says:

    Some stuff I forgot to discuss:


    Firefox is a bit kludgy here. I like the fact that you can just specify a directory (Desktop by default) and it just autodownloads without the clicking. The actual manager itself is a bit hamfisted though. Opera wins. However, I don’t know much about servers: can anyone help as to why it is that neither supports ‘resume interrupted downloads’ out of the box?


    Opera is a much smaller download than Firefox and has a smaller memory footprint.


    I dislike the way both Opera and Firefox automatically load a page when you click on the history entry. It makes (for example)deleting many entries at a time inconvenient.


    We browse nonlinearly, why should our histories be linear? It would be straightforward to store a maximum of (say) the ten most recent ‘branches’, with the back and forward buttons working as they are now, but with advanced ability to browse treewise. This has been a feature request for many years!


    Firefox toolbars are very rigid. We’ve had the idea of customisable toolbars for ages, this is annoying.


    THIS EXTENSION IS AMAZING. Eat that doubleclick! And what’s more, you can whitelist sites you want to see ads for. A great bandwidth saver too.


    I’ve just discovered this in Opera, it is an absolute gem. Not only is it instant, but the switching between print preview mode and normal display is flawless. Firefox needs this badly.

    I’m sure people have lots more things they like/features they want, I’m sure I do…

  13. Bala says:

    Mouse gestures was mentioned in passing in the above comment. This is a real cool feature in Firefox. Check out more on the same at http://optimoz.mozdev.org/gestures/

    The ability to define site-specific skins is another nice feature. Here is one example: http://persistent.info/archives/2004/10/05/gmail-skinning

    And I have quite a few keyword searches set up. "g <phrase>" in the address bar gets me google results for the phrase; "i <name>" gets me images from google for the defined name, "mw <word>" gets me webster dictionary for the word, "mwt <word>" gets me the theseraus and so on…

    In short, Firefox rocks! 🙂

  14. Ron McMahon says:

    I STILL experience this one failure with FireFox and Mozilla…the mouse-over text ‘bubble’ is formatted wonderfully in IE, but is an ugly mess in FireFox and Mozilla…

    Check out a good sample here: http://www.quickdrive.com/Borders/BorderCrossings.asp

  15. This has to be my favorite feature (I don’t really use FireFox, but just started to play around with it). I am always looking for specific text in a web page, and I hate doing the Control-F, rinse, repeat mechanism to find something. FireFox has this

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