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PC Tips - Firefox

There's nothing much to installing Firefox. Download to your "Downloaded Software" folder (whatever you've called it on your machine) ... then double-click on it to install. The first time you start Firefox you'll get something like:

Firefox Import

Most of you are using Internet Explorer, you can just import everything and be on your way. One slight problem is that in addition to your Bookmarks (IE calls them Favorites) it will also bring in your cookies, history and preferences (which may not be the best for Firefox). An alternative is to choose "Don't Import Anything", and then later on the File Menu, choose Import and this time after you specify your browser it will give you a choice of what to import and you can choose just your Bookmarks (Favorites). Note: if you use AOL or Juno, try choosing IE ... it probably has your bookmarks.

When Firefox starts it looks like this (assuming you let it use it's start page) ...

Firefox

That's not my first choice in start pages (especially since there's a Google search on the toolbar). If you want a start page (I use a blank one when I'm on a dial-up line) go to a website like this one ...

Firefox

Then under tools options click on the General tab (top left) and then click on "Use Current Page" ... that will fill in the URL to the current page (as you see here) ...

Firefox

The reason I choose (click on) "Use Blank Page" with a dial-up line is that I don't want wait for a page like this (one with lots of information) to load every time I go onto the internet. Other pages that people choose are MSN, CNN, Yahoo, etc.

If you do use a home page, I recommend one you can fully customize. I know there are others, but this is one I've been using recently ... (Compare the screen below with the one a couple of screens up ... you can see some of the kinds of things you can include and how different you can make the page look ... I especially like being able to customize the TV listings.)

Firefox

Another nice feature of Firefox is the inclusion of a Search Engine on the mail Toolbar. I use Google ... I just type my search next to the G (top right) ... here I searched for my name ... (and as you see if you click on the G pull-down you can choose other search engines, or add you own choices)

Firefox

As with everything on your computer, it's important to organize your Bookmarks (Favorites) into folders. I have relatively few folders, but each folder has other folders with Bookmarks inside ...

Firefox

If your screen is wide enough, you might want to turn on the Bookmark sidebar by ...

Firefox

With the Bookmark sidebar on, it will look like this ...

Firefox

If the text on a page is too small ...

Firefox

Just hit CNTL and the Plus Sign together (or look under View / Text Size) ...

Firefox

(CNLT and the Minus Sign will reduce the text size ... you can use the + and - signs on either the number keypad or the main keyboard.)

At some point you should review the Firefox options you can set, click to see sample Option Screens.

Tabbed Browsing

There are at least a couple of big advantages to using Tabbed Browsing. First it allows you to open all the Bookmarks (Favorites) in a folder. In the example below you see a Folder named "AM - ME" which contains a list of websites I like to look at in the morning when in Maine ...

Firefox

You'll notice that several tabs appeared under the tool bar ... the pages (websites) associated with each of these tabs can load in the background while you continue to read the current page. Given the way I have my options set, I had to click on the tab labeled "NY Times" get to the screen below ...

Firefox

Another way to use Tabbed Browsing is to either middle click on a link (if your pointing device has extra buttons, or to hold down both Shift and Ctrl while left clicking ... if your options are set correctly the pages you click on will load in other tabs, in the background, allowing you to continue reading the current page while they are loading.

I really love Tabbed Browsing, but the basic features Firefox comes with aren't very good. Instead you need to install an extension. (Actually there are several extensions you might want to install.) Under Tools, choose Extensions. That will bring up a box showing the extensions currently installed. Chick on Get More Extensions which will bring up a page like:

Firefox Extensions

If you click on one of the extensions, you'll get a page describing the extension like this one for Tabbed Browsing:

Firefox Extensions

Once you click on Install Now, it will download the extension and give you a box like:

Firefox Extensions

You then have to click on that Install Now, and you'll probably have to exit and re-start Firefox for the installation to be complete. In this case it adds another group of options which look like:

Firefox

I think Tabbed Browsing started in Opera. Personally I can't bear to browse the Internet without it. So far I like using Firefox's Tabbed Browsing with the settings shown above (but so far my experience is limited, check back) ... for example, I am currently I'm trying out the "Select tab when mouse is moved onto it" option ... the verdict is still out.

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