Our ten-part series on the Firefox browser gets in-depth, up close and personal with Mozilla's browser. This browser is available
on Windows and Mac platforms as well as Linux and has gained significant market share in the past couple of years. It's time to figure out what the fuss is about!
Tags:The Basics of Firefox,butterscotch,Butterscotch.com,download manager,firefox,Firefox 101,firefox add-ons,Firefox basics,firefox tips,firefox tutorials,Firefox web browser,geolocation,incremental find,live bookmarking,mozilla,Mozilla Corporation,Mozilla Firefox,open source web browser,private browsing,spell checking,tabbed browsing,tech tips,tech tutorials,using Firefox,web browser,Learn the Basics of Firefox
Grab video code:
Welcome to the Firefox 101.
Firefox is a web browser that’s free for anyone to use. A web browser is the program you use which allows you to surf the internet. In order to do things like perform web searches or even to visit a website you must use a web browser. Firefox is a software specifically designed for this purpose.
The first thing you need to do is install Firefox. Select your language and then your operating system such as Windows, Mac OS X or Linux and click on download. This may take a few minutes and then you'll need to run the set up, click on next, check the box to agree with the license agreement, choose next again, select which version you’d like to install. I'll choose standard, click install. Again, this may take a few minutes.
Check this box to run Firefox now and then finish. Now you’ve install your web browser Firefox. Now that you’ve installed Firefox you want to get used to what is called the smart location bar. The smart location bar which is also sometime referred too as the address bar is where you type in the URL of the website you want to visit.
For example, if I want to go to the Google homepage I type in Google.com here into the smart location bar. Now the reason it is so smart is because besides understanding what your typing in here it will also start suggesting websites you’ve save in your bookmarks or that you frequent a lot that match what your typing. So since I frequent Google a lot I can just type a G and it comes up. Let's try that again.
I have YouTube bookmark so I can just type in a Y and YouTube comes up. Besides a location bar you'll also notice this search box. This allows you to perform web searches without having to visit site like Google or Yahoo. You can add more search engines like Amazon or eBay by clicking on manage search engines and clicking on get more search engines.
You can then rearrange them by selecting them and clicking on move up or down. You can also easily remove them. If you check the box show search suggestions then when you're typing in the search box terms that match what you’re searching for will be suggested to you to help you search quicker.
You'll also see three buttons in your bookmarks toolbar. This is called a bookmarks toolbar because you can add sites you visit frequently to the toolbar. Right now there's a button from my most visited sites. You can click this button to visit a health page or Firefox and then there's also a button that shows you the latest news stories online. You can remove any of these buttons by right mouse clicking and then selecting delete.
If you constantly visit the same websites over and over or if you want to save the websites so you can come back to it later then you may want to use bookmarks in Firefox. There are few ways you can bookmark a website and I'll show you two of them.
In your location bar you'll always see the star. This is one way you can bookmark a site. You can click on it once and the site will automatically be stored in your bookmarks. You'll know you’ve bookmarked a site because the star will turn yellow. Anytime you visit a site you bookmark the star will turn yellow.
If you click on the star twice you'll be able to edit the bookmark. You can give it your own name and place it into a folder. Folders allow you to organize your bookmarks so if you bookmark a lot of cooking website and you could create a folder for recipes. Click on this arrow and then new folder, name it and now this bookmark would go into your technology folder. You can also add tags which are descriptive words and will help you find your bookmarks easier.
You can also bookmark any webpage by right mouse clicking and selecting bookmark this page. This will allow you to bookmark the page as I just showed you. Click on bookmarks to access your bookmarks. These are all of my bookmarks. You can rearrange them by dragging and dropping them into place.
You'll also see you recently bookmark sites and recent tags or descriptive words that you’ve added. Hovering over each of these tags will show you the website that you’ve bookmark using that tag. Organized bookmark allows you to view all of your tags and you can edit your bookmarks. You can search through them and choose different ways to view you bookmarks and how they are sorted. Everyone likes to organize things differently so make sure you organize your bookmarks so they work best for you.
Firefox works fine as a web browser on its own but you can enhance your experience by installing add-ons which extends the functionality of Firefox. There are many different types of add-ons to choose from and more added to the Firefox add-on directory everyday. There are add-ons to give you alerts and updates, change the appearance of Firefox and help you manage your bookmarks just to name a few.
You can browse through Firefox adds-ons by category or do a search. Once you find one you like select it and then you can read more about it and read reviews that other users have written about the add-ons. To install it click on add to Firefox then install now. It just takes a minute and then you need to restart Firefox.
Now that Firefox has restarted I'll show you how you can manage all the add-ons you use. Click on tools and then add-ons. This is your add-on manager. Anytime you want to change the setting and the Firefox add-on or remove it this is where you'll do that. These are all of my Firefox add-ons. You can also look for new add-ons by doing a search right from here then you can also add them from here.
Browsing more than one website at a time can be a real pain especially if you need to open up a new window in order to do so. Firefox has a feature called top the browsing that can really make visiting more than one website a lot more enjoyable. Right now I'm on the homepage for Firefox but let say I want to check my email but I don’t want to live this page.
You can just go to file and click on open new tab and now I have a new area ready to go I can just type in the URL and then click back and forth between the tabs to get where I need to go. You can also open a new tab with the right mouse click a new tab. If you like keyboard shortcuts you can hit control and the letter T or if you use a Mac command and the letter T and that will open a new tab as well. You can rearrange your tabs by clicking and dragging them wherever you see the purple arrow. To close a tab just click on the X. If you mistakenly close the tab you can just go to your history and choose to reopen.
Sometimes in browsing a website you may want to find a particular word or phrase. A really simple way to do this in Firefox is to use the find feature. One way you can open find is to go to edit and then select find. You can also hit control or command if you use a Mac and the letter F on your keyboard. Now start typing the words or phrase that you're looking for.
As you type Firefox will begin searching the page for words that match what you’re typing. You'll see the word highlighted. You can click next to find that word again on the page and then previous to go back. You can also choose to highlight the word that match your search and you can choose to match the case as well.
Privacy is important and you want to make sure you have your Firefox settings work for you. First go to tools and then options. The security section allows you to choose to be alerted if the site tries to install an add-on on your computer without your permission. It will tell you if the site you're on is a suspect to the attack site and if it suspected a forgery.
If you want to check of all these options and then choose websites to make exceptions for you can do that as well. You can also choose to have password remembered for sites and again choose to make exceptions if needed. You can also choose a master password which will protect your sensitive passwords even more.
Here you can choose to receive a warning when visiting specific types of websites. In the privacy section you can choose to have Firefox store your browsing history for specific amount of days, remember information you type in to forms on websites and in to the search bar and remember what you’ve downloaded. Uncheck any of these boxes if you don’t want Firefox to remember your history.
You can also choose to have Firefox accept cookies and third party cookies from sites. Storing a cookie allows a website to store a small unique text file on your computer so that when you return to the site a few weeks later it will recognize your computer. You can choose to allow or block cookies from specific websites by entering in the URL here, and choose how long Firefox should store the cookies.
You can also remove cookies from certain sites or remove all cookies stored on your computer. You can also have Firefox clear all of your private data whenever you close Firefox which is a good idea if you're using a shared computer or you can have Firefox ask every time if it just clear your private data.
You can control the default program that Firefox uses to operate certain applications and how content is displayed when you’re viewing certain websites. First go to tools and then options. The application section is where you can choose what actions you want programs to take when opening up specific content. For example, if you want to open an MP3 file you can choose whether or not Firefox should first save the file or open it with the specific program installed on your computer.
The content section allows you to choose to have Firefox block pop-up windows to load images automatically, enable Java Script and Java. Just check the boxes you want to be enabled. You can also select the default font and font size, the colors and choose your preferred language for displaying pages.
The tab section allows you to choose to have new web pages open in a new window or tab by default and choose to have Firefox display warnings when closing multiple tabs or if your tabs are slowing down the performance of Firefox. If you choose to always show the tab bar and you'll see this, and you can select to switch to a new tab immediately when opening a link.
The main section is where you can site your homepage. First decide if when you start Firefox your homepage will be displayed up link webpage or you can show your previous windows and tabs from the last time you're in Firefox. To set a homepage just enter in URL here, choose to use current pages if you want to set aside your currently on as your homepage or you can choose to use one of your bookmarks.
Here you can choose your download options. You can have the download window always show when you're downloading something or you can select to have that window automatically close. You can pick a location on your computer to always save the files to or choose to have Firefox always ask where to save your downloads. This last section allows you to access your add-on manager which I covered in the fifth episode in this series.
If you’re downloading something whether it’s a large file or just a photo Firefox allows you to control your download. For example, if I was downloading a large file but remembered I had to do something else and shutdown my computer I could simply hit the pause button and then resume it when I had the time. This also works if your computer suddenly crashes. Your download manager will simply resume your download. Clicking on the X will allow you to cancel the download.
Firefox also allows you to zoom in or out of any webpage you're viewing. Go to view, zoom and then select in or out. You can also use the control or command button and then the plus or minus key to zoom in and out. To reset the page either go back to view zoom and select reset or use the control or command in zero key. Zooming affects the entire page including images but you can choose to just zoom in or out on the text as well.
Firefox also has a built-in spell checker so if you’re writing an email or document in the web based program you'll see a little red line under any misspelled words. Just right mouse click over the word and you'll see spelling suggestions to choose from. You can also choose to add it to your Firefox dictionary if you feel the word is spelled properly.
When you're visiting websites being sure that this site you're on is safe is important especially if you're doing something like online banking or purchasing items from the site like Amazon. In the location bar you'll see an image next to the URL. This is called a Favicon. A Favicon is a small image usually with the company’s logo on it, click on it. This tells me that I'm connected to WellsFargo.com and it says it verifies the site and if it’s encrypted meaning it’s difficult for unauthorized people to view the information on the page. This shows the sites validity and you'll also see if you visited the site previously on the stay if it’s storing cookies and if you save your password on the site.
You can also choose to allow or block images on the site from loading as well as pop-up windows allow them to store cookies on your computer and select to allow or block themes. Media will allow you to see every image on the website and you can choose to block certain images and you can view general information like the URL. Firefox also gives you the option of saving your password to your computer so you don’t need to enter them in later.
The first time you enter password into a site this menu will appear asking if you’d like Firefox to remember your password. It’s completely up to you but not recommended if you use a shared computer.