Suggested Tab Settings for Firefox + Google Toolbar

There are good reasons why Mozilla Firefox has become such a popular alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. We switched recently from Internet Explorer to Firefox because of the ability to make the following tab settings, which, as far as we know, can not be made in IE.

As we have discovered, certain tab settings under Mozilla Firefox work efficiently with the Google Toolbar for Firefox for multiple pages opened in that browser. Multiple opened website pages are standard fare for us, so that the settings below are tried and true for efficient surfing, at least for us. Other users will have to make their own experiences with them – we make no guarantees or warranties.

One main advantage of the settings below – for us – is that one can be working on a piece of written work, making an e-mail posting and/or filling out a form but still do separate Google searches while busy on that letter, posting or form without losing any work by opening another website page or window (as has happened to us under IE).

Using the settings below, the search will automatically open a new tab and a new window without disturbing what the user is otherwise doing online. One can always go back to any work page online simply by clicking the appropriate tab.

The Google Toolbar for Firefox Tab Setting

First, under options in the menu of the Google Toolbar for Firefox:
check the option under “search”
– “Open search results in a new tab”
and under that
check the box
– “Automatically switch to new search results tab”.
That’s all you need for Google.

Mozilla Firefox Tab Settings

Second, go to your Mozilla Firefox Tab Settings. The tab settings in Mozilla Firefox are found under “Tools” in the menu bar. The tab settings that we have found to work for us in Firefox are:

Open links from other applications in: (choose the option) – “a new window”

Then place a check in the box: “Force links that open new windows to open in”:
and (choose the option) – “a new tab”

Then chose the option – “select new tabs opened from links”
and also choose – “warn when closing multiple tabs”

That latter setting is important so that you do not inadvertently close several or all tabs at once, thus losing your work, even though you only wish to close some particular tab or tabs. You will be warned before you can close multiple tabs.

In our experience, those tab settings allow one to work very efficiently with many open website pages in Mozilla Firefox, while at the same time doing searches using the Google Toolbar.

Try that combination of the Google Toolbar and Mozilla Firefox for a day of serious searching and then go back to using Internet Explorer and the Google Toolbar and we predict you will want to go back to Firefox immediately.

Two additional options that one should know about in this regard for Firefox are:
1) Tabs can be moved around by drag and drop as of Firefox 1.5
2) By pressing the shift button and then clicking the desired URL link in the search engine results (this can be Google or Yahoo or some other engine), a new window will open in Firefox showing the clicked URL.

There are also many “extensions” for tabbed browsing which can be added. Firefox extensions are:
small add-ons that add new functionality to Firefox. They can add anything from a toolbar button to a completely new feature. They allow the application to be customized to fit the personal needs of each user if they need additional features, while keeping Firefox small to download“.

Numerous extensions for Firefox are currently offered in the following categories, although many of them raise quality concerns, so you have to pick and choose carefully:

  • Blogging
  • Bookmarks
  • Bookmarks
  • Developer Tools
  • Download Tools
  • Editing and Forms
  • Entertainment
  • Humor
  • Image Browsing
  • Kiosk Browsing
  • Languages
  • Miscellaneous
  • Navigation
  • News Reading
  • Privacy and Security
  • Search Tools
  • Tabbed Browsing
  • Web Annoyances
  • Website Integration
  • XUL Applications

See e.g. David Needle’s Feb. 9, 2006 article “A Word-Wise Firefox Extension: Hyperwords Company Launches Free Firefox Add-on” – download Hyperwords. [Our comment to the developers: This is a fine potential application but all options should appear AT ONCE and should not require senseless time-wasting clicking of drop-down boxes of various levels. Basically, this is not much different than right-clicking an object to open another menu. Anything beyond ONE LEVEL more than the opening menu is too much and will not be used. Google Buttons etc. are winning this battle because ONE BUTTON = ONE IMMEDIATE FUNCTION and that’s what many users want.]

Some good reviews of the Firefox extensions available are found at:

Quick Online Tips
Tom Kyte Blog
Roger Johansson
Opera equivalents to Firefox extensions