8.5. Customizing Firefox

Firefox can be customized extensively. You can install extensions, change themes, and add smart keywords for your online searches.

8.5.1. Extensions

Mozilla Firefox is a multifunctional application, which means that you can download and install add-ons, known as extensions. For example, add a new download manager and mouse gestures. This has the advantage that Firefox itself stays small and unbloated.

To add an extension, click Tools+Extensions. In the bottom-right corner, click Get More Extensions to open the Mozilla extensions update Web page where you can choose from a variety of available extensions. Click the extension to install then click the install link to download and install it. When you restart Firefox, the new extension is functional. You can also look at the various extensions at http://addons.mozilla.org/.

Figure 8.3. Installing Firefox Extensions

Installing Firefox Extensions

8.5.2. Changing Themes

If you do not like the standard look and feel of Firefox, install a new theme. Themes do not change the functionality, only the appearance of the browser. When installing a theme, Firefox asks for confirmation first. Allow the installation or cancel it. After a successful installation, you can enable the new theme.

  1. Click Tools+Themes.

  2. In the new dialog that appears, click Get More Themes. If you already installed a theme, find it in the list, as in Figure 8.4, “Installing Firefox Themes” (↑Applications).

    Figure 8.4. Installing Firefox Themes

    Installing Firefox Themes
  3. A new window appears with the Web site https://addons.mozilla.org.

  4. Choose a theme and click Install Now.

  5. Confirm the download and installation.

  6. After downloading the theme, a dialog appears and informs you about your list of themes. Activate the new theme with Use Theme.

  7. Close the window and restart Firefox.

If a theme is installed, you can always switch to a different theme without restarting by clicking Tools+Themes then Use Theme. If you do not use a theme anymore, you can delete it in the same dialog with Uninstall.

8.5.3. Adding Smart Keywords to Your Online Searches

Searching the Internet is one of the main tasks a browser can perform for you. Firefox lets you define your own smart keywords: abbreviations to use as a “command” for searching the Web. For example, if you use Wikipedia often, use a smart keyword to simplify this task:

  1. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org.

  2. After Firefox displays the Web page, see the search text field. Right-click it then choose Add a Keyword for this Search from the menu that opens.

  3. The Add Bookmark dialog appears. In Name, name this Web page, for example, Wikipedia (en).

  4. For Keyword, enter your abbreviation of this Web page, for example, wiki.

  5. With Create in, choose the location of the entry in your bookmarks section. You can put it into Quick Searches, but any other level is also appropriate.

  6. Finalize with Add.

You have successfully generated a new keyword. Whenever you need to look into Wikipedia, you do not have to use the entire URL. Just type wiki Linux to view an entry about Linux.