Hands On: 12 Quick Hacks for Firefox 3

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4. Use the Site Identification Button to Download All Graphics and Media

One of Firefox 3's niftiest new features is the site identification button, the button just to the left of the Address Bar that displays an icon representing the site that you're currently visiting. The button is far more than mere decoration -- it can tell you a great deal of information about the site you're visiting and lets you do some nice tricks as well.

If you click the button, then click More Information from the dialog box that appears; you'll come to a Page Info screen with multiple buttons on the top. Once you get there, there are plenty of tricks you can try. Here are two of them:

Before Firefox 3, one of the most popular extensions was DownloadThemAll, which, among other things, let you download all of a Web page's graphics and media simultaneously. With Firefox 3, you can throw that extension away, because a similar capability is built right into the browser.

Just click the Media button on the Page Info screen for a list of the page's various elements. You can scroll to any graphic to see a preview, then click Save As to save it. Download multiple files by holding down the Ctrl key and selecting them, and then clicking Save As. To download them all, press Ctrl-A, which will highlight all the files, and click Save As.

If for some reason you want to block images from a site from being displayed in Firefox, check the Block Images box, and the site won't display images.

5. Get Web Page Details

If you're in the Web business, there's plenty of information you may want to know about a given Web page. What metatags are your competitors using, for example? How "heavy" are the pages you create -- in other words, how large are they in kilobytes?

The General tab of the Page Info screen tells you that and more. Click the General tab, and you'll see page size, the date the page was modified, metatags and more.

6. Shrink the Back Button

Firefox 3's Back button looks like an arrow on steroids. If that bothers you, you can shrink it down to normal size. Right-click an empty spot on the toolbar, select Customize, and check the box next to Use Small Icons. Click Done. The Back button will now be smaller -- and the same size as the forward button. Keep in mind, though, that all the other icons on the toolbar will be smaller as well.

7. Find All Your Passwords

If you're like most people, you have plenty of passwords associated with Web sites. And most likely, you've forgotten most or all of them. Firefox remembers your passwords, so you'll be logged into your sites automatically. But what if you need to log into the sites on another PC? Or what if you'd like to keep a record of your passwords, in case they get wiped out?

Firefox 3 gives you an easy way to find all your passwords and user names associated with Web sites:

1. Select Tools -- Options and click the Security icon.

2. In the Passwords section, click Saved Passwords. A screen appears with a list of Web sites and usernames associated with each site.

3. Click Show Passwords. A warning screen will appear, asking if you want to show your passwords. Click Yes. You'll now see all your passwords, along with site URLs and usernames. Write them down or take a screen capture to print out, and put them in a safe place.

8. Change the Maximum Number of Awesome Bar Results

The address bar in Firefox has gotten such a makeover and has been given so many new capabilities that many people now refer to it as the Awesome Bar. (Mozilla refers to it as the Smart Location Bar.) No matter what you call it, though, it's eminently hackable.

First, a little background about the Awesome Bar's new features. In earlier versions of Firefox, when you typed text into the address bar, it showed you a drop-down list of URLs you'd recently visited and narrowed down the list as you typed in more text. So, for example, if you typed the letter "c" by itself, you'd get a long list of sites you'd recently visited that start with "c," and then as you typed additional letters, the list would shorten. You could scroll to any URL on the list and press Enter to visit there.

The Awesome Bar adds some oomph to that. First off, it not only lists recently visited sites as you type, but it grabs URLs from your bookmarks as well. And it doesn't just look for URLs that match the first letter -- it also looks at page titles and tags. What's more, it uses an algorithm to figure out what are the most likely sites you want to visit and puts those first on the list. And it shows you not just a list of URLs, but much more for each URL, including the site's favicon, its full title and whether you've bookmarked the page.

By default, the Awesome Bar returns a list with a maximum of 12 entries. You can change that maximum to another number:

1. Type about:config into the address bar and click "I'll be careful, I promise!" when you get the security warning.

2. Type (or paste) this text into the filter box: browser.urlbar.maxRichResults. You can also just type browser.urlbar and pick out browser.urlbar.maxRichResults from the resulting list.

3. Double-click the browser.urlbar.maxRichResults entry. In the "Enter integer value" pop-up, type the maximum number of results you want to appear and click OK. From now on, that will be the maximum number.

Note that even after you do this, you will only see the default six results as you type. To see more, scroll through the list.

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