Customize Your Menus in Firefox

The Firefox web browser is a very powerful and popular open source browser that is managed and developed by the Mozilla Corporation. It is the second most popular web browser after Microsoft’s Internet Explorer based on worldwide usage. The latest version, Firefox 3.5 has a variety of features that include tabbed browsing, one-click bookmarking, private browsing, geolocation, integrated search, spell-checking, incremental find, session restore, and easy customization.

One of the easy customization features of the Firefox web browser is the ability to customize menus. The menus include several toolbars that help to make the Firefox web browser very powerful and useful. They include the Navigation Toolbar and the Bookmarks Toolbar. To customize your menus, you can follow the steps shown below.

1 Click on the View menu.
2. Then click Toolbars
3. Then click Customize…

This will open up the customize toolbar dialog box which contains the icons representing the different toolbar items that can be used to perform different functions. The default set of menu icons are already found on the menu bar and they include the Back, Forward, Reload, Stop, and Home icons. Additional icons that are available include items such as Print, Copy, Cut, Paste, Bookmarks, New Window, New Tab, and History. These icons can be dragged and dropped onto the toolbar to supplement the default set or to replace some of those existing icons. Other icons available to help customize the Firefox menus are the Separator icon, the Space icon, and the Flexible Space icon.

The Separator Icon, which is just a vertical line, is used to mark the boundary between groups of icons. For example, if you want to group the copy, cut, and paste icons together on your menu, you can use two separators between those icons and the other icons on your menu bar. The Space and Flexible Space icons can be used to do the same thing. The Space icon has a pre-determined size whereas the flexible space can be adjusted to provide the desired amount of space between icons.

The customized menu on the Firefox browser also allows you to add custom toolbars. While in the customize toolbar dialog box, you can click on Add Toolbar and give it a customized name. It will then create another toolbar below, the existing toolbar. You can then drag and drop the desired icons on that toolbar.

If you decide that you don’t like the newly customized toolbar, you can always go back to the customize toolbar dialog box and restore the default set for the menu. To do that:

1. Click on the View menu.
2. Then click Toolbars
3. Then click Customize…
4. Click the Restore Default Set button at bottom right.

If you want to hide the toolbars on the Firefox browser, use the following steps:

1 Click on the View menu.
2. Then click Toolbars
3. Uncheck the toolbar you wish to hide by clicking on the name.

To unhide the toolbar, follow the same steps to recheck the desired toolbar name.

The Bookmarks Toolbar can be customized by dragging and dropping the icon that appears inside the navigation window next to the URL of the website that you wish to bookmark. Most websites has a logo that appears in the left side of the URL window in the browser. Users can drag that to the Bookmarks Toolbar which is the menu bar usually just below the navigation toolbar. If a website does not have a logo, there will be a logo that looks like a sheet of paper that users can drag onto the toolbar.

Another method of customizing Firefox menus is to use Firefox Add-ons and Extensions. Firefox Add-ons and Extensions are third-party software designed to provide additional capabilities, features, and functionality to the browser. Some of the extensions and add-ons are developed in conjunction with Mozilla to provide tighter functionality with the browser. There are several menu add-ons that allow even more customization of the menus that can’t be achieved within Firefox itself. Several of these add-ons and extensions provide context menu items, allow menu editing, user-defined scripts, or offer thematic menus.

To locate an add-on or extension, follow the steps below:

1. Click Tools on the menu bar.
2. Click Add-ons. This will open the Add-ons dialog box.
3. Click Get Add-ons. In the Search box, you type “menu” to search for all add-ons related to menus.
4. Once a desired add-on is found, click on the add-on and it will expand to show more information about the add-on.
5. Click the Add to Firefox… button to install the Add-on to your Firefox browser.

An alternate to step 3, is to Click Add-ons, then click the link, Browse All Add-ons, to browse and locate the desired add-on.

The ability to customize menus in the Firefox web browser offers beginners and intermediate users a wealth of features that will make the browsing experience more productive and enjoyable.