How to easily search for text on a page in Firefox

The later releases of Firefox have a lot of really handy, but somewhat hidden, features. One such feature allows you to search for a string of text on a web page, simply by typing. In other words, you no longer have to hit the Control-F key combination. Although that may not sound like a huge time saver, if you find yourself constantly searching through web pages during your busy day, cutting out seconds per page can add up. Besides, skipping that key combination could be a real boon to those who aren’t quite as adept on a keyboard.

However, this new feature isn’t enabled by default, and it doesn’t work on pages that require input (so if you’re typing on Google Docs, you still need to use Control-F. But on non-input pages, all you need to do is start typing.

Let’s enable the feature and see how it works.

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Enabling the feature

In order to enable the feature, click on the Menu button in the upper right corner of the Firefox window and click on Preferences. In the Preferences window, scroll down to the Browsing section and then click to enable the Search for text when you start typing feature. That’s all there is to it.

In other words, close out the Preferences window and visit a website. Once the page loads, start typing a search string, and Firefox will find the first instance of the string. If it’s not what you’re looking for, hit the backspace key until you delete the string and type another. If the string lands on a link, hit the Enter key to open the link.

One caveat

The one caveat is that if there are multiple entries of your string, the only way to cycle through them is by hitting the Tab key and typing the string again. This will have the effect of moving onto the next instance of the string you’re searching for.

I’d like to see the developers add the ability to more easily cycle through entries using the arrow keys (or by simply hitting the Tab key and not having to retype the string). Other than that, this Firefox search feature can make your web page text search so much more efficient. Give it a whirl and see if you don’t leave this feature enabled.

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Image: Mozilla

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