How to fix some tab behavior in Firefox 3 without TabMixPlus

May 11, 2008

TabMixPlus is one of the most useful AddOns for Firefox. There are regular builds of the extension which you can install in Firefox 3. But if alpha AddOns to beta software is a little too much inconsistency in your work flow, you can replicate some of its behavior through about:config, the control panel for just about every setting in Firefox. There are two main settings I don’t think I can live without, so I set out to fix them:

  1. The close button on the tab bar. You can access this with “browser.tabs.closeButtons“. The values for this are:
    • 0: Close button on active tab only.
    • 1: Close button on all tabs. (Default.)
    • 2: No close buttons at all.
    • 3: Close button on tab bar.

    If I remember correctly, TabMixPlus allows me to set close buttons on both the tab bar and the tabs. I haven’t figured out a simple way to set this. I still prefer the button on the bar to on the tabs themselves, because with lots of tabs open it can be hard to hit the right one. The close button on the tab bar has the same effect as CTRL-W – it closes the active window. Having them on the tabs, though, has the advantage of allowing you to close a tab without first switching to it – assuming your aim is true.

  2. Opening results from the search bar in a new tab. This is controlled with “browser.search.openintab“. The default is “false” which opens the results in the current tab. Toggling this to “true” opens a new tab. I couldn’t find similar options to control the behavior of links clicked in the bookmarks and history menus, or the bookmarks toolbar – although middle clicking on links in the menus does open them in a new tab by default.

You open about:config by entering just that into the location bar. You then use the filter bar to narrow down the list of preferences, find the one you want, right click on the value, and choose toggle or modify depending on the type of value.

I suppose I’ll update this if and when i figure out any other fixes. Losing the TabMixPlus session manager, though – that’s something to cry about. Or it’s reason enough to turn off the security check (instructions here and here) or use the Nightly Tester Tools AddOn.

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One Response to “How to fix some tab behavior in Firefox 3 without TabMixPlus”

  1. Ernie Oporto Says:

    I really miss the new tabs opening next to the current tab in a defined order.


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