6 Tips to Supercharge Mozilla Firefox with Middle Mouse Button

January 17, 2008 – 4:49 pm

A typical computer mouse has 3 buttons but only two buttons remains dominant in our daily computer usage. For those who don’t know, the middle mouse can become quite useful too, if one know how to use it properly.

In this post, I will show you 6 tips to supercharge your Mozilla Firefox with the middle mouse button , thus making your web browsing experience better than before.

middle-mouse-button-on-firefox-screenshot

 

1- Click on a link with the middle mouse button to quickly open a link in a new tab. No more right click -> “Open Link in new tab”!

2- Press the Control (Ctrl) button and scroll the mouse wheel backward to increase Firefox’s font size. Scroll it forward to decrease the font size.

3- Press the Shift button and scroll the mouse wheel forward to move a page forward and scroll backwards to go the previous page.

 

Below are Mozilla Firefox’s about:config hack to modify hidden preferences (mouse related). Check out here on how to modify about:config.

 

4- Change the value of middlemouse.paste to true. This will let you paste a clipboard content to any text field with the middle mouse button.

5- Change the value of middlemouse.scrollbarPosition to true and restart your Firefox. The next time you click on a scrollbar location with the middle mouse button, Firefox will center the screen to that position.

6- Change the value of mousewheel.withaltkey.action to 1. This will enable you to scroll document by one page while pressing the Alt button.

 

That was all that I can find on how to optimize the usage of a middle mouse button in Mozilla Firefox. Feel free to add more tips and tricks by leaving a comment below. Enjoy!

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  1. 47 Responses to “6 Tips to Supercharge Mozilla Firefox with Middle Mouse Button”

  2. Wow, great tips, I didnt know abt few of them. BTW some of them work with Opera also.
    Stumbled.

    By Nirmal on Jan 18, 2008

  3. @Nirmal: Thanks Nirmal for the Stumble.

    By Syahid A. on Jan 18, 2008

  4. You forgot the most important one! Middle click any tab to close it, instead of selecting the tab and clicking the X

    By Platinum1 on Jan 19, 2008

  5. Hey, another lesser known thing about the middle button in Firefox is that if you middle click a tab you have opened, it closes it, so you don’t have to aim for the little X.

    By Plaguis on Jan 19, 2008

  6. I use the first three very much. I’ll try the ones with the about:config soon. :)

    By Deeljehuiswerk on Jan 20, 2008

  7. If you get the mouse gestures add on there is far more you can do.

    By Tim W on Jan 20, 2008

  8. all this works in iexplorer too

    By pete on Jan 20, 2008

  9. “lesser known thing”?
    You don’t think much of the average Firefox user, do you…

    By David on Jan 20, 2008

  10. I always use middle click to scroll web pages, firefox does it smoothly. IE’s implementation is ridiculous, it starts off slow but once you reach a certain point it goes into overdrive.

    Stumbled

    By Andrew on Jan 20, 2008

  11. Waw! I really like the middle button for opening new tabs, I always used to go right click new tabs every time. Gee thanks.

    By Edward Turtle on Jan 20, 2008

  12. @All: Thanks for the comments!
    @Plaguis + Platinum: Thanks for the the tips on tab closing!
    @Tim W: Mouse gestures? I should try that later!

    By Syahid A. on Jan 20, 2008

  13. By using Firefox with mouse gestures I am able to enjoy the web from the comfort of my recliner.

    PC hooked up to LCD TV have wireless mouse and with mouse gestures right click and motion down to enlarge text.

    By Ryan on Jan 20, 2008

  14. Another one:

    Hold down the middle mouse button and left-click to change tabs to the left and right-click to change tabs to the right.

    By Pat on Jan 20, 2008

  15. Some nice tips, once I reassigned the function of my Logitech MX600 cordless mouse scroll wheel. This article forced me to get my bum into gear and learn how to do it as I am usually lazy. :-)
    Thanks!

    By rustyboy on Jan 20, 2008

  16. Setting clipboard.autocopy to true will cause selected text to be copied to the clipboard. Combine this with middlemouse.paste and you have both copy and paste using mouse only.

    By Neil on Feb 6, 2008

  17. @Neil: Nice tip Neil! Thanks for the heads up!

    By Syahid A. on Feb 7, 2008

  18. pretty neat tricks I had not considered these. I just use it for scrolling and text size changes.

    By Matt Ellsworth on Feb 8, 2008

  19. I hope you realize that all the tweaks are standard behaviour in Ubuntu Firefox installations. Just making sure.

    By What is Firefox? on Feb 11, 2008

  20. Nobody mentioned middle click the page and
    “slide scroll” up and down.

    By Chris on Feb 11, 2008

  21. @What: no. 4 is absolutely a standard feature in Linux. I am not sure no.6 is too.

    By Syahid A. on Feb 11, 2008

  22. I love using firefox to do daily work on the internet. I am in the business of repairing mercedes benz cars in los angeles. My rates are cheap by any standards.

    By Carlos Abner on Feb 12, 2008

  23. increase Firefox’s font size is the best – the rest is easily made with mouse gestures

    By Bloggero on Feb 12, 2008

  24. Is it just me? I don’t see any instructions for the first 3 tips.

    By b`rad on Feb 14, 2008

  25. @b’rad: It’s clearly stated there. Take a look again please.

    By Syahid A. on Feb 14, 2008

  26. Here is another one:

    If you have installed the extension Tab Mix Plus (available at https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/1122) you are able to middleclick on the empty space of the tab-bar to open the last closed tab. It’s also possible to completly change the behaviour of the mouse buttons (relating to tabs). I also recommend to use TMP’s session manager instead of the built-in of Firefox.

    By Alp on Feb 14, 2008

  27. Great tips…I only wish my laptop mouse had a built in scrolling button…

    By Erica DeWolf on Feb 16, 2008

  28. Great tips. I had a similar article which also focus about middle mouse button for Firefox.

    By techsnack on Feb 19, 2008

  29. Never knew you could middle click a link to open in a new tab. this is great! Thanks.

    By Kathy on Feb 23, 2008

  30. @”What is Firefox”…. Actually they’re not all available on Ubuntu – or if they are, they’ll be disabled soon due to bugs filed and fixed on Bugzilla. On Linux, middle clicking a tab in recent versions will paste the clipboard content into the tab as a url, not close it. I may be mistaken. Also by default (although nto covered here), clicking the middle mouse button doesn’t “autoscroll” in Linux, instead it pastes the clipboard contents (and tries to load it) which is a Linux convention of sorts, and quite confusing for migrating Windows users. The backspace key on Linux does NOTHING in Firefox. It used to take you back (like the “back” button) or holding the shift modifier made it take you forward instead, but someone thought this was a bad idea, and that it should behave more like GNU Emace, so that pressing backspace will have the same effect as “Page Up” – which is plain stupid in my humble opinion, I don’t need two “page up” keys four centimeters away from each other on my keyboard, especially not when one of them looks like it goes left (backwards) It’s bad enough having CTRL and ALT on the right hand side of the keyboard, which I never use – or scroll lock, which only works in terminals. But yeah, they couldn’t figure out whether to go with browser convention (Firefox on Linux is the only graphical browser I know of which doesn’t go “back” for backspace, even NCSA Mosaic did it) and therefore just disabled it – so backspace on Linux can only be used for…. deleting text on the left side of the cursor.
    All these differences can be “rectified” though, using settings in about:config …

    @Erica de Wolf: click the left and right mouse buttons simultaneously. Your laptop SHOULD respect this as a middle click, and even if it doesn’t, Firefox will.

    If your laptop has no right mouse button, you should replace it :-P

    By SneakyWho_am_i on Feb 28, 2008

  31. @Sneaky: Wow! Longest comment that I’ve seen so far in this blog. Thanks for the lengthy explanation man!

    By Syahid A. on Feb 28, 2008

  32. @SneakyWho_am_i :
    1) For me in Kubuntu, Backspace goes back a page.

    2) Macs don’t have right or middle mouse buttons.

    By What is Firefox? on May 6, 2008

  33. Woohoo..!!! Nice Tips.. I do Use Middle Mouse to Open New tab but rest of the Tips are new to me. Thanks

    By Sandip on Jun 6, 2008

  34. If you do not have a middle mouse button on Linux (such as on a laptop), you can simply click the left and right mouse buttons at the same time to get the same effect.

    By Jake on Jun 15, 2008

  35. @SneakyWho_am_i: Changing Firefox’s backspace key behavior is a simple matter of editing browser.backspace_action in about:config.

    Plenty of other web browsers do not use backspace for going back once in history; thinking otherwise is crazy. Midori, Amaya, and Konqueror do not. Also, many lightweight browsers (e.g. Dillo) do not either.

    By Jake on Jun 15, 2008

  36. Great! I have been using Avant browser which has the same similarity.I just switched to Firefox and find it a lot more user friendly and plugins are more supported.

    By techie on Aug 17, 2008

  37. On my new Dell XPS, none of these mouse wheel functions worked consistently until I gave up on the Control Panel and found the “Mouse Settings” folder in the Accessories start menu. There is a Dell program there that lets you set your mouse functions, well, setting the middle wheel function to “none” actually gives back all of these functions instead!

    By Noumenon on Nov 18, 2008

  38. wow wow..Thanks for the great TIPS !! Thanks, thanks. Useful to me..

    By nilai3 on Jan 20, 2009

  39. I didn’t know about a couple of them although I used Ctrl + middle mouse button for increasing or decreasing the font size!

    By Firefox on Mar 8, 2009

  40. hi ………….Guys

    On my new Dell XPS, none of these mouse wheel functions worked consistently until I gave up on the Control Panel and found the “Mouse Settings” folder in the Accessories start menu. There is a Dell program there that lets you set your mouse functions, well, setting the middle wheel function to “none” actually gives back all of these functions instead!

    @SneakyWho_am_i: Changing Firefox’s backspace key behavior is a simple matter of editing browser.backspace_action in about:config.

    Plenty of other web browsers do not use backspace for going back once in history; thinking otherwise is crazy. Midori, Amaya, and Konqueror do not. Also, many lightweight browsers (e.g. Dillo) do not either.

    By vcvc on Mar 16, 2009

  41. Some great tips here, thank you.

    By Business blogs on May 13, 2009

  42. Great! I have been using Avant browser which has the same similarity.I just switched to Firefox and find it a lot more user friendly and plugins are more supported.

    By توب عرب on Jan 26, 2010

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