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Maintain Browser Consistency: Firefox

Having at least one extra browser installed provides a fallback position in case of a glitch with your primary browser. Also, different browsers are more adept at handling different types of web work (or play). These abilities may either be built-in to the browser or they may be designed into extensions or add-ons (many of which are browser specific). This article–the third in a series–demonstrates how to create and maintain a consistent overall appearance and functionality between Firefox [1] and other installed browsers. For a look at the first two articles, click here [2] for Opera and here [3] for Internet Explorer.


First, I like to display the classic menus (File, Edit, View, etc.). In Firefox, tap the Alt key to temporarily display the menus and, in the View menu, under Toolbars, check Menu Bar.


Home Page

To learn how to set a home page in Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome, click here [4].

Default Search Engine

Setting the default search engine in Firefox is a breeze. Simply click the icon in the search field and select any from the list and the selection will be remembered. However, adding search engines to that list is slightly more complicated. To do this, click the Manage Search Engines button.


Then, in the Manage Search Engine List, click the Get more search engines link.


The link takes you to the Add-ons [5] page, but doesn’t automatically narrow the focus to search engines. I found it easiest to just type a choice (in this case, dogpile) in the search field and click the Add to Firefox button. For a little help, a list of search engines can be found here [6].


In the Add Search Engine dialog box, click Add. Check the Start using it right away box to instantly make this selection the default search engine.


Otherwise, it will appear in the list and can be accessed at any time.



The keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+D will open the dialog shown below, where a bookmark can be created, named and placed.


To add the bookmarks toolbar, click View and, in the Toolbars menu, check Bookmarks Toolbar.


To edit, backup, or organize bookmarks, select Show All Bookmarks from the Bookmarks menu (or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+B) to bring up the Library.


In the top row, select Organize or Import and Backup.


There are a couple ways to import bookmarks (see below).


If you choose Import Data from Another Browser, select an installed browser from the list (although, even if Chrome is installed, it won’t appear on the list).


Then, select options for the import.


Another import method is to select Import Bookmarks from HTML. This requires a previously exported bookmarks file (click here [7] to learn how to export IE favorites). To export Firefox bookmarks, click Export Bookmarks to HTML.


Then choose and name and location for the file.


To import bookmarks, click Import Bookmarks from HTML, find the exported file and click Open.


All browsers have their weaknesses, and all are susceptible to failure. Fortunately, there are several options for quality replacements. Firefox has remained popular and, by most accounts, is secure, flexible, and reliable. So, if it’s not your default browser, it’s a good choice for a backup and–if consistent settings are in place–the transition from your default to Firefox should be quick and painless.