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Firefox for Beginners

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This post is part of a series called Mac for Beginners.
Meet the Mac: OS X for First Timers
Google Chrome for Beginners

Whether you are a new Mac user or simply wish to try a web browser other than Safari, Firefox will serve you well and is an excellent option for those wanting more flexibility and control.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to configure Firefox, browse, bookmark and synchronise your favourite websites, manage your history and install a number of features that will enhance your browsing experience.


Firefox Explained

Firefox is an open-source web browser developed by Mozilla. With Firefox, you can surf the Internet without having to endure advertisement upon advertisement and countless security breaches due to the browser's highly customisable interface.

Additionally, Firefox can synchronise your data cross-platform using Firefox Sync, enabling you to access your information wherever you are in the world.


Configure Firefox

Your first point of call is to download and install Firefox, and then import your preferences, bookmarks, history, passwords and other data from Safari if you are a pre-existing Safari user.

Download Firefox.
Download Firefox.

Download the latest version of Firefox by visiting the Mozilla website.

Install Firefox.
Install Firefox.

Drag and drop the Firefox icon into the Applications folder to install.

Click Firefox to launch.
Click Firefox to launch.

Access the Applications folder and then click Firefox to launch.

Import your settings and data.
Import your settings and data.

If you would like to import your settings and data from Safari, click Safari and then Continue. Alternatively, click Don't Import Anything if you are a new Mac user or wish to start afresh.

You are now ready to browse the Internet.
You are now ready to browse the Internet.

You are now ready to browse the Internet using Firefox.


Browse the Internet

For the purpose of this tutorial, I am going to visit Google, which is an Internet search engine, however, you may navigate to a different website if you prefer.

Enter a website address.
Enter a website address.

Enter a website address of your choosing into the address field running along the top of the screen, and then press the Return key on your keyboard.

Feel free to browse, bookmark or navigate to another website.
Feel free to browse, bookmark or navigate to another website.

Once your chosen website has loaded, you are free to browse, bookmark or navigate to another website.

Create a New Window

Creating a new window is the process of generating another full-frame browser window in order to view more than one website at a time.

Click File and then New Window.
Click File and then New Window.

Click File and then New Window to create a new window, or press Command and N simultaneously on your keyboard.

Browse the Internet using multiple windows.
Browse the Internet using multiple windows.

Enter a website address in the address field of each window to continue to browse the Internet.

Create a New Tab

Tabbed browsing is a simpler way of surfing the Internet as you can view each website within a single window rather than several.

Click the + icon.
Click the + icon.

Click the + icon to create a new tab, or press Command and T simultaneously on your keyboard.

Each tab that you create is displayed above the address field..
Each tab that you create is displayed above the address field.

Each tab that you create is displayed above the address field. You can jump from one tab to another by clicking the tab heading, or pressing Command and a number between 1 and 9. When you're done, click X to close the tab.

Enter a website address.
Enter a website address.

Enter a website address in the address field of each tab to continue to browse the Internet.

Tip: Click History and then Recently Closed Tabs or Recently Closed Windows to reopen a recently closed tab or window.


Add a Bookmark

Bookmarking a website is similar to bookmarking a physical book and will ensure that Firefox stores all of your favourite websites for future viewing.

Click Bookmarks and then Bookmark This Page.
Click Bookmarks and then Bookmark This Page.

Click Bookmarks and then Bookmark This Page, or press Command and D simultaneously on your keyboard. You can also click the Star icon situated on the right-hand side of the address field.

Enter or edit the name of the website.
Enter or edit the name of the website.

Enter or edit the name of the website you wish to bookmark by clicking the Name field.

Click the Folder drop-down menu.
Click the Folder drop-down menu.

Click the Folder drop-down menu to select a location to save your bookmark. Saving a bookmark to the Bookmarks Toolbar will display that bookmark directly below the address field for easy access, while saving a bookmark to the Bookmarks Menu will display the bookmark under the Bookmarks tab. Unsorted Bookmarks are stored in a folder to be organised at a later date.

Click Bookmarks and then Show All Bookmarks.
Click Bookmarks and then Show All Bookmarks.

Click Bookmarks and then Show All Bookmarks to view your entire bookmark collection.


Manage Your Browsing History

Like Safari, Firefox keeps a log of every single website that you have visited within a certain timeframe which is referred to as your browsing history.

Click History.
Click History.

Click History to view a summary of your recent browsing history.

Click Show All History to view your entire history.
Click Show All History to view your entire history.

Click History and then Show All History to view your entire history.

Your browsing history is categorised by date.
Your browsing history is categorised by date.

As you can see, every website that you have visited is categorised by date.

Click Clear Recent History to erase your history.
Click Clear Recent History to erase your history.

Click History and then Clear Recent History to erase your history.

Click Clear Now.
Click Clear Now.

Select a timeframe, check the checkboxes containing the information you would like to erase and then click Clear Now.


Add an Add-On

Add-ons enable you to tweak Firefox to your exact specification by installing features such as language translation and advertisement blocking.

Click Tools and then Add-Ons.
Click Tools and then Add-Ons.

Click Tools and then Add-Ons.

Click Get Add-Ons via the Add-Ons Manager.
Click Get Add-Ons via the Add-Ons Manager.

Click Get Add-Ons via the Add-Ons Manager to browse every available add-on or enter a search term into the Search box located in the top right-hand corner of the browser.

Click Install.
Click Install.

Click Install to install an add-on.

Your add-on will begin to download.
Your add-on will begin to download.

Once clicked, your add-on will begin to download and then install automatically.

Click Extensions.
Click Extensions.

Click Extensions to view a list of every installed add-on. Here, you can adjust your preferences, enable and disable an add-on or remove it from your browser completely.

Tip: I thoroughly recommend that you install Adblock Plus to eliminate annoying advertisements, Lazarus to help you recover lost work and FEBE to backup your Firefox extensions.


Update Plugins

Plugins are used to display interactive content and must be kept up to date to ensure that Firefox runs smoothly and efficiently. Although Firefox will automatically update most plugins, some may need to be updated manually.

Click Plugins.
Click Plugins.

Click Plugins to view a list of every installed plugin, and then click Check to See if Your Plugins Are Up to Date to update each one.


Configure Firefox Sync

Firefox can synchronise your data cross-platform using Firefox Sync, enabling you to access your information wherever you are in the world.

Click Tools and then Set Up Sync.
Click Tools and then Set Up Sync.

Click Tools and then Set Up Sync to display the Firefox Sync pane, then click Create a New Account.

Enter your information.
Enter your information.

Enter your information and then click Continue.

Caption.
Firefox will then encrypt and upload your data.

Firefox will then encrypt and upload your data, ready to be synchronised cross-platform.


And Relax!

In this tutorial, I have shown you how to configure Firefox, and introduced you to browsing, bookmarking and synchronising your favourite websites and managing your history within the browser. Did you find this tutorial helpful? If you have a question, feel free to ask it below.

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