Enable Multi-Touch and Hidden Features With Firefox 3.5

Enable Multi-Touch and Hidden Features With Firefox 3.5

Range Govindan
Jul 2, 2009

If you didn't know that Firefox released a major update this week, you should update your Firefox immediately. Why? There are a bunch of new features that are really interesting, including one that lets you enable multi-touch tab switching. There are other hidden features that can make your browsing life a lot easier.

1. Multi-Touch
In order for this to work, you need to have a multi-touch trackpad, like the ones that come with Mac computers. If you aren't sure if you have multi-touch on your trackpad, check with your laptop's manufacturer and the specs. Multi-touch is feature that has been popularized by iPhones and iPod Touches, and we know about a few different laptops that use this technology. So what is all of the hype about? Usually using a trackpad is a hassle, until multi-touch was developed. The reason was that multi-touch enabled shortcuts to be implanted onto the trackpad. The multi-touch trackpad can sense different types of movements and translate them into actions. This is kind of like a programmable button on your mouse. Anyone using a computer usually appreciates a shortcut or an easier way of doing something.

So, now you know that you can switch tabs in Firefox by making a twisting motion with your fingers on a multi-touch surface. We'll give you simple instructions on how to enable this feature in the latest version of Firefox, which was released just this week.

First, open a new browsing window in Firefox. Write "about:config" in the address bar without any quotes. Type "twist" into the Filter box, which is kind of like a search box. Double-click on twist right and put "Browser:NextTab" into the box without the quotes. In the twist left box, but "Browser:PrevTab" without the quotes once again. Now, you're done!

In order to master this gesture, you'll need to practice it. If you've played with your multi-touch trackpad before, this should be a cinch, but otherwise, here are some tips. Try putting one finger down and rotating another around it. If you think that the gesture is too slow to respond, you can change that too by setting of twist threshold to a smaller value. The default value is 25. 10 works well for some people. You can tweak it to find the best setting for you.

Are you finding this pretty cool? Then type in "gesture" into the filter box and try modifying a few of those settings. You can customize those multi-touch gestures to what fits best for you. These gestures are like shortcuts and make browsing a whole lot easier. Try using the three-fingered swipe or any other gesture that is available.

2. Forget This Site
Microsoft has been promoting private browsing for their latest edition of Internet Explorer. Firefox adds a similar feature, but it's just a bit better. You can now tell Firefox never to record the visit to a particular site,
In order to use this, you just open the history panel, right-click on any site you want Firefox to forget and choose "Forget This Site." This makes it easy for some of your browsing to remain completely private from anyone else.

3. Tear-Off Tabs
This feature allows users to break out tabs into separate windows by clicking, dragging, and dropping browser tabs into your desktop. Firefox, Chrome and Safari now support this. This comes in really handy when you have different browser open for different topics of browsing. You have one main window and it can spawn a number of others once you want to explore it. It's never productive to have too many tabs open in the same browsing window.

[via Crunchgear]

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