Introduction to Mozilla Firefox 3    


Installing Firefox

Firefox is already installed on all public site classroom and lab computers.  To install it on your own computer, go to and click the "Download Firefox" link in the green box.  Save the file to your desktop, then run it to begin the installation.

Installation note:  Firefox can import your existing settings from Internet Explorer, Netscape and previous versions of Mozilla.  An import wizard will run when you first install Firefox (and is also available later via File > Import). It imports your Favorites, options, cookies, stored passwords, and a variety of other data.

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Navigating web pages

To open Firefox, either go to your Programs menu and choose the Mozilla folder, then Mozilla Firefox, or click the Firefox icon on the desktop or Quick Launch toolbar.

To follow a link, click on it.  Most links are colored and underlined, but any time you move your cursor over something and it becomes a pointing hand , it is a link.

The Location bar at the top of the window shows the URL (web page address) of the site you're looking at.

Tip: To change a URL, no need to highlight the entire previous address. Usually clicking once anywhere in the URL will auto-select it and you can begin typing in another address immediately.

If a web page did not load correctly or completely, or if the content of a page may have changed, you should click the Reload button to refresh the contents of that page.

To navigate backwards through visited web pages, click the green left arrow .  If you back up too far, click the green right arrow  to move forward.  To back up or go forward more than one step, click the drop-down arrow next to the forward button to get a list of sites to choose from.  You can also right-click either button to see a list of pages you've visited during the current browsing session.

To go to a particular site, you can type the site's URL in the Location bar and press Enter. Click the down-arrow on the far right of the Location bar to see a list of all URLs you have typed in (not sites you have visited, only the ones you have typed in yourself).

Many navigation tasks can be performed with shortcut keys on the keyboard, or by using your mouse.

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Finding text within a web page

Enable the search-for-text setting. Click Tools > Options > Advanced. Check the box "Search for text when I start typing" and click OK.

To find text within the page you are currently viewing, type the text string you want to find.

           1. Firefox automatically jumps to and highlights the string on the page.



2.  Choose from the following search choices:


Searching the web for words selected in a web page

Firefox allows you to search the web for words you select within a web page:

  1. Select (highlight) any words in a web page.
  2. Right-click and choose Search [Search Engine] for "[your selected words]" from the pop-up menu.

Firefox opens a new tab and uses the currently selected Search Engine to search for your selected words.


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Search engines

You can perform searches directly from any number of search engines available in the Search Bar, such as Google or

Click Manage Search Engines, then Get more search engines to add others, such as (Internet Movie Database). You can also add the Lehigh phone/email directory to your list. Go here and click on search plugin. The search engine appears in your list as Lehigh LDAP.

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Tabbed Browsing

When you visit more than one page at a time, you can use Tabbed Browsing to navigate the Web faster and easier.  Tabbed Browsing lets you open tabs, each displaying a web page, within a single Firefox window. You don't have to have several windows open to visit several different web pages. This frees up space on your Taskbar. You can open, close, and reload web pages conveniently in one place without having to switch to another window.

For example, if you are already viewing Lehigh's Help Desk web page and want to keep that page active while opening the Guide to Using Spybot, right-click that link and choose Open Link in New Tab or click the middle mouse button (scroll wheel).


Notice that both pages are within view in a single browser window, with each page accessible via its respective tab at the top of the window.


To toggle between pages, simply click on a tab (or press CTRL+TAB on the keyboard). To close one or more tabs, right-click on the tab and choose Close Tab or Close Other tabs.  Or, click the "X" at the right of the tab.


If you want to open a new tab without linking from a page already in view, right-click an empty area next to your existing tabs and choose New Tab, or press CTRL + T. You can also add a New Tab icon to the Toolbar. See Customizing the Toolbar.

The tab remains "Untitled" until you enter a URL in the Location bar and press Enter. Firefox loads that URL to the new tab.


If you close a tab accidentally, right-click anywhere along the tabs bar and choose Undo Close Tab.

You can change tab behavior by clicking Tools > Options > Tabs. Below are some typical choices.

Consider installing the ColorfulTabs extension. It colors your tabs to make them easier to differentiate, like this:


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General options

Clicking the Home button takes you back to the page you want Firefox to load when it starts up (the default option). To change this page or change the option, click Tools > Options > Main .  Type in a valid URL in the Home Page Location(s) field and click OK.


If you'd rather have Firefox reload all of the windows and tabs you had open when you last closed the browser, choose Show my windows and tabs from last time, and click OK.


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To bookmark a favorite web page, right-click on that page and choose Bookmark This Page.  Or click Bookmarks > Bookmark This Page from the Toolbar. You'll be prompted to either keep or change the bookmark name and choose its location.  By default, the page will be saved in the Bookmarks menu, and will appear in the drop-down menu when you click the Bookmarks from the Toolbar.

Firefox also offers a Bookmarks Toolbar that lets you drop web page links right into the bar next to the Search Bar at the top of the page. This makes frequently-used web pages accessible with a single button click.  To add websites to this bar, go to a web page you visit often.  Hold a left-click on the page icon and drag and drop it to an open location in the Toolbar.  Or right-click the page you want to add, rename the bookmark if you want, and choose Bookmarks Toolbar. If you just want the bookmarks to appear in your Bookmark drop-down menu, choose Bookmarks Menu.

In addition to setting a name and location for your bookmarks, you can tag them to make searching bookmarks faster and easier. When you give a bookmark one or more tags, you can use the Location Bar to search for sites by their tags instead of their URLs.

The Bookmark Star

The Bookmark Star is new with this version of Firefox. With it, you can create or remove a bookmark. Clicking the star once automatically places the bookmark in your Unsorted Bookmarks folder. The Unsorted Bookmarks folder contains bookmarks that are not shown in your menu or toolbar. To view and organize unsorted bookmarks, click Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks. This opens your Library, where you can drag and drop bookmarks into new or existing folders.

To create a new bookmark folder, select either Bookmarks Toolbar or Bookmarks Menu, then click Organize > New Folder. Click New Folder, name the folder and provide a description, if necessary. Click OK.

To add a web page to the new folder, click Bookmarks > Bookmark This Page. In the Edit This Bookmark box, rename the site if you want, then click Choose. Find the folder where you want to store the bookmark, click it, then click Done.


The page will appear in its own Folder in the Bookmarks menu

To change or rename bookmarks, click Bookmarks > Organize Bookmarks. Here you can rearrange and rename bookmarks, create folders, and alphabetize the Bookmark list.

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What are Live Bookmarks?

Live Bookmarks let you view RSS news and blog headlines in the bookmarks toolbar or bookmarks menu. With one glance, quickly see the latest headlines from your favorite sites. Go directly to the articles that interest you—saving you time.  A site is enabled for Live Bookmarks when you see this icon at the end of a URL. Clicking on the icon and selecting an RSS feed will display an Add Bookmark dialog. Select 'OK' and you will see Live Bookmarks with the rest of your bookmarks. Many people find it especially convenient to save Live Bookmarks in their Bookmarks Toolbar folder.

A Live Bookmark for looks like this.  Clicking on any headline opens directly to that story on the CNN website.


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Using the Sidebar

Firefox can be used with the Sidebar displayed.  It contains either your web page History list or your Bookmarks, or both. There are a number of ways to open the Sidebar.

To display the Sidebar, click View  > Sidebar > History (or Bookmarks). Or, on the keyboard use CTRL+H for History, and CTRL+B for your Bookmarks. Or more simply, click either the History or Bookmarks icon in the Toolbar . To add these icons, see Customizing the Toolbar

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Password Saving & Management

Firefox will ask you, when you go to a web page that requires a login, whether you want to save your password.  You can respond Remember, Never for This Site or Not Now..  To turn the prompt off, click Tools > Options > Security.  Under the Passwords section remove the checkmark from Remember Passwords for sites.  

If you saved a password, but later want to remove it, click Saved Passwords. Select the web page you want to stop saving a password.  Click Remove, then Close.  The next time you visit that web page, you'll be prompted again whether to save the password.


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Privacy settings

The Privacy panel contains options and preferences related to your privacy. As you browse the web, information on where you have been, what pages you have visited, etc. are stored here. To change privacy settings, click Tools > Options > Privacy.  You can configure Firefox to clear data for each type of saved information.  You can choose to have all your data cleared when you close Firefox, or only certain types of data (click Settings button to choose what to clear).


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Customizing the toolbar

You can customize the toolbars by choosing which buttons you want to show, by adding toolbars, or by resizing the buttons. To do so, click View > Toolbars > Customize.A new window will pop up, containing available toolbar items. Just drag and drop them to the toolbar where you want to add them. To remove some items from the toolbar, drag them from the toolbars and drop them at the Customize window.  Click Done when finished.

Firefox users commonly add the Print , New Tab and Bookmarks icons to the toolbar.

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Download Manager

The Download Manager is a feature of Firefox that allows you to track and manage your past and current file downloads. It is a convenient way to escape the clutter of multiple downloading windows while still preserving access to download statistics.  When you download a file from the Internet, Firefox will open the Downloads window to display the progress of the download. When it's finished, either click the Open link to open the file, or click Desktop to show the location of the download.  You can also click Tools > Downloads to view past downloaded files.  Click the Clean Up button if you want to remove accumulated downloads after you are finished with the files. 

To change the default location for downloads or to be asked where to save files when downloaded, click Tools > Options > Main. You can also opt to close the Download Manager window when your downloads are complete.

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Themes and extensions


Themes are small files that are installed in Firefox that change the look and feel of the browser.  To change the default theme, choose Tools > Add-ons, select the Get Add-ons button, then click the Browse all add-ons link.  Click the Themes category on the left margin. When you find a theme you like, click on its name and make sure it's supported up to Firefox v3, then click Add to Firefox.

At the confirmation box, click Install now to begin installation.  A Themes box will open to show the download progress. When it's finished, click the Restart Firefox button. .



Extensions are small add-ons to Firefox that change existing browser functionality or add new functionality. Installing an extension involves a very similar process to installing themes. To add extensions, click Tools > Add-ons, then click the Get Extensions link.

Some popular extensions are Adblock Plus (to block ads within a webpage), ColorfulTabs (distinguishes tabs by color), and Xmarks Bookmark Synchronizer (syncs your bookmarks between multiple computers; for example, between home and office).   When you find an extension you like, click Add to Firefox. If you're prompted to accept a license agreement, do so and then click Install now. As with themes, you must restart Firefox for the new extension to take effect.

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kmm3, Last updated September 14, 2010

Last updated: Friday, 17-Sep-2010 08:04:34 EDT