Firefox: non-Vimperator way to do mouseless browsing


Is it possible to do efficient browsing with Firefox using
only the keyboard (like in Opera)?

By efficient I mean something faster than using TAB – this
takes far too long. The arrow keys should be for navigation
(in Opera it is Shift + arrow key). It can done with the
Vimperator add-on or its successor Pentadactyl,
but isn't there a simpler way?

The closest to Opera's way is to enable caret
(F7 toggles this mode). It doesn't
jump between links so it is a little bit slower, but the
normal navigation (arrow keys, page up, page
, etc.) works and the focus/caret/cursor follows
(in contrast to a text editor for page up/down). And text
can be selected and copied like in a text editor.

The biggest drawback is that in practice it is necessary to
switch in and out of caret mode. And there is no indication
of which mode is currently active.

A workaround (proposed by several, but is not
really what I am looking for) can be used if three settings are
changed (to make it practical). After these changes the
first few letters of a link text can be typed and that link
will selected so pressing Enter will open it.

Using the workaround, the screen will jump around if it is a
long page as it does not restrict itself to the current
visible page, but it is usable.

Changes (see below for other versions of Firefox):

  1. Hamburger menu (upper right) → Preferences
    General. Under headline Browsing (scroll down) → Search for text when I start typing

    Turn this option on.

  2. Set option to only go to links; in the address
    bar enter


    followed by Enter. Then: press Accept the Risk and Continue!, find the line accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly, select the "toggle" icon (e.g. by TABing to it) and change the value to True by hitting Enter.

  3. Turn off case-sensitivity. Set
    accessibility.typeaheadfind.casesensitive to 0 (same
    procedure as for accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly, see
    above. When Enter is pressed a dialog box will appear with
    the current value. Type 0 and press Enter).

To use it: type some part of the link. If there are several
possibilities use Ctrl + G (or F3)
to jump between them. Use Ctrl + Enter to
open in a new tab.

For older versions of Firefox

It is the same as the above, except:

Option Search for text when I start typing:

menu Tools/Options/Advanced/tab General/Accessibility/Search for text when I start typing

Opening the about:config page, the button is I'll be careful, I promise.

Platform: Firefox 3.0.6, Windows XP 64 bit SP2.

Best Answer

Firefox has two search keys: / searches any text; ' searches for just links. Both continue the search with F3.