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14 Firefox Hacks You Should Master

14 Firefox Hacks You Should Master

Firefox is one of the top three browsers and if you’re one of the many who has chosen to use Firefox then it’s vital that you get the best out of it by starting to surf like a hacker.

There are plenty of straightforward Firefox hacks that you can quickly put into place and here are 14 of the best. If you don’t read them, you’ll never know how straightforward they really are.

1. Use simple keyboard shortcuts for common actions only

You can go faster without changing a setting by learning a few frequently used keyboard shortcuts. But don’t try and remember them all- just use the most common (remember the Pareto Principle!). Through remembering simple shortcuts, you can dramatically reduce the time you take to execute frequent commands by keeping your fingers on the keyboard.

  • Spacebar – Page down
  • ctrl + F – Find
  • ctrl + T – New tab
  • F5 – Refresh
  • F11- Full screen

You can review the full list on the Mozilla support site.

2. Switch to reader mode

reader

    As well as using F11 to get a full screen view – handy if you’re using a small laptop – you can use reader mode.

    To get really focused, enter the reader mode with a simple click to the book symbol in the address bar, when the option is available. I find this really useful for reading longer articles. Click on it again to return to normal mode. Unfortunately, there’s no keyboard shortcut yet.

    3. Understand cache

    The most simple way to make visiting websites quicker is through good use of cache. If you visit a lot of sites that allow browser caching frequently (the good ones do, and it can be set up on the most simple WordPress site), then the content that never changes (header images for example) won’t need to be downloaded again.

    Cache settings are found under the advanced section of ‘Preferences’. But rather than go through menus, using the mouse, just type about:preferences#advanced into the address bar to get there more directly.

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    cache

      Firefox will set an automatic amount of cache which you can override depending on the disk space you have and the performance of the disk. Slow old disks might mean its best to keep it small (<250Mb). But faster disks will be fine with the automatic setting.

      You can also clear the cache (using the ‘clear now’ button) from from this page. This is worth doing occasionally as failing to clear the cache can lead to some sites not loading correctly.

      4. Find Add-ons

      Firefox has an amazing and unrivalled ability to be personalised through add-ons. Use Cntrl-Shift-A, the address about:addons, or the far right menu button to get there.

      add-ons

        There are two main types of add-ons:

        • Themes – these change the presentation of the browser.
        • Functions – these range from adding a button to clear your cache to automatically removing a site’s cookies when you leave it.

        It’s worth a browse; you can liven up the look and feel of the browser, as well as completing a common task like clearing the cache. Using this as an example, I typed cache button into the search and selected the add-on I preferred:

        cache-button

          Once installed, Firefox needed to be restarted. After this, the new button was on the toolbar:

          cache-button2

            5. Switch between search engines

            You can chose the search engine used in the search box by clicking drop down on the magnifying glass in the search box. One interesting option for those who dislike the idea of the likes of Google collecting your search data is to use Ixquick (via an add-on).

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            Access ‘Preferences’ to select your default search engine (address bar), as well as the ones that appear in the drop down menu:

            search

              6. Enter the dragons’ den

              Now lets get really technical and start to play with the dragons! The following hacks change the settings via about:config. As Firefox says: be careful. My tip is to always leave the check box ticked as this will act as a reminder each time you go there.

              about

                7. Spell check all text boxes

                This first about:config Firefox hack is very simple and a good one to start with. Remember to only change one thing at a time, as that way if anything goes wrong you’ll know what caused it.

                So, after typing about.config hit ‘enter’ and then type “spell” in the search box.

                spell

                  Double click the line layout.spellcheckDefault and enter 2 in the pop-up box.

                  spell2

                    This means that spell checking will work on all text boxes not just those with multiple lines.

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                    8. Get search results in a new tab

                    If you don’t want to have to create a new tab before searching for something new then change the browser.search.openintab setting to automatically create one from search results. Just double-click on the line to toggle the boolean value from false to true.

                    searchtab

                      9. Go quick with pipelining

                      Pipeling allows Firefox to send multiple requests to servers for data all at once, rather than the default setting of one at a time. It relies on the sites supporting this, so it’s one to experiment with and return to the default values if it doesn’t make any improvements. Personally, I’ve found it makes a real difference to some big media sites and my own WordPress blogs.

                      The definitive and up-to-date settings to try are as follows (just double click a line to change the false/true values).

                      pipe

                        10. Use the new cache back end

                        This quick Firefox hack smooths out some browser issues by providing a quicker and more reliable experience. The setting is browser.cahce.use_new_backend and should be set to 1.

                        11. Clear memory

                        Firefox can provide lots of detailed reports about memory usage and is very clever in how it uses memory- Firefox isn’t the memory devouring beast of myth. One trick within this is to immediately get back memory that has been freed up, from closing tabs, for example.

                        memory

                          To do this, type in the address about:memory and in the free memory box click on ‘minimize memory usage’. This does a memory clean up and will give an instant boost to your browsing.

                          12. Diagnose with Safe Mode

                          If Firefox isn’t working – you’ve added something and it’s ground to a halt – one thing you can use is safe mode. Safe mode starts with a number of items switched off, in particular add-ons. So, this will pinpoint add-ons, if this is the area that’s problematic. If it is, then switch off ad-ons one by one to find the culprit.

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                          You can get into safe mode either by starting Firefox with the shift key held down or via the three bar menu. Click on the help question mark and select the Restart with add-ons disabled.

                          The hack within this Firefox hack is that there’s a better way; that’s the button found on the troubleshooting information page (below) accessed by typing about:support in the address bar.

                          14. If all else fails refresh Firefox

                          In about:support there’s also a button called ‘Refresh Firefox’. This is a bit of a last resort as it will disable add-ons and return all your settings back to default. This is fine if you know what you’ve changed and want to clean things up and reapply changes carefully one by one, (as you should). Add-ons installed are listed further down in troubleshooting information.

                          troubleshoot

                            14. Back-up and restore your settings

                            The best strategy for getting back to a good state in Firefox – that is before you messed it up! – is to back-up your profile folder. The simplest way to do this is to click on the show folder button on the above troubleshooting information page. Once the folder is open, close Firefox.

                            Next navigate up to the folder level above, and copy the whole folder to a safe location, e.g. a USB drive. The folder will have a complicated name with default in the middle, within a folder called profiles.

                            If you need to restore this backup, simple copy the entire folder back, overwriting the corrupted folder.

                            I hope these Firefox hacks will enhance your browsing experience, making it quicker, more reliable, and more fun.

                            Featured photo credit: Lego Firefox/Johnathan Nightingale via flickr.com

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                            Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                            10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                            10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

                            Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

                            Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

                            As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

                            In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

                            Projects and Tasks Management

                            1. Monday dot com

                              Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

                              The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

                              The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

                              The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

                              Check out the software here!

                              2. Asana

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                                The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

                                The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

                                Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

                                Check out the software here!

                                3. Trello

                                  Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                                  Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                                  Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                                  Check out the software here!

                                  4. Jira

                                    The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                                    The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                                    The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                                    Check out the software here!

                                    5. Evernote Business

                                      Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                                      The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                                      Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                                      Check out the software here!

                                      Communication

                                      6. Slack

                                        Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                                        Check out the software here!

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                                        7. Spike

                                          Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                                          Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                                          Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                                          Check out the software here!

                                          Creation

                                          8. Office 365

                                            Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                                            Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                                            You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                                            Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                                            Check out the software here!

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                                            9. Grammarly

                                              Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                                              Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                                              Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                                              Check out the software here!

                                              Team Analytics

                                              10. ActivTrak

                                                ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                                                The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                                                Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                                                Check out the software here!

                                                The Bottom Line

                                                Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                                                More Productivity Tools

                                                Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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