Icons Used in This Book
Tips are helpful Firefox shortcuts that you might not discover on your own. You don't have to follow any tips to get the job done, but they'll often save you time.
These icons point out the kind of nuts-and-bolts information that make the geek in me smile, but might be of little interest to you. However, feel free to check them out if your inner geek wants some extra information.
Warnings are in place to prevent you from losing data, revealing your passwords to nosy onlookers, or otherwise doing something most people would consider undesirable and unintended. You should always read and make sure you understand warnings before continuing.
File these rare tidbits of information away in your brain for later reference. They're sure to come in handy.
Most of this book is written in the English language, which appears to be just fine with you. However, I discuss keyboard shortcuts so frequently that it helps to refer to them in shorthand. As the name suggests, a keyboard shortcut is a quick way to access a program command from the keyboard, and you execute them by pressing two or three keys simultaneously — special keys, such as Control (Ctrl), and a letter, such as C. (This is a common shortcut to copy text.) Rather than spelling out shortcuts each time, I abbreviate them as key+letter (for example, Ctrl+C).
When I suggest or mention keywords that can be entered on-screen as search terms, I put them in italic. When you have to choose commands from menus, I write File Exit when you should choose the Exit command from the File menu.
Firefox — and, by extension, this book — exists because hundreds of people just like you asked for a better Internet experience. Your feedback motivates us to keep working toward that goal. I encourage you to send comments, suggestions, or rants about this book or Firefox itself to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I read and respond to all mail.
Part I: Getting Fired Up
- Chapter 1: Why You Should Fire Your Old Browser
- Chapter 2: Finding Your Way Around Firefox
- Chapter 3: Setting Up Firefox
Adapting to new software can be painful, but Firefox makes it easy to transition away from your current browser. The developers of Firefox have purposely mimicked certain design elements and keyboard shortcuts of Internet Explorer and other browsers, and Firefox can import your settings, bookmarks, browsing history, and saved passwords.
This part opens with a brief overview of why Firefox is worth switching to and then walks you through the brief transition process. The chapters in this part help you on your way to a better browsing experience.
Chapter 1: Why You Should Fire Your Old Browser
There's just one Internet, but there isn't one Internet experience. How safely, easily, and quickly you browse the Web is a function of the browser you're using. Firefox is the only one designed to meet the demands of a wired world, so if you're not using it, you're stuck in rush hour traffic - while 100 million others whiz by you in the carpool lane. But before I tell you why to change lanes, I tell you what a browser is.
What Is a Browser, Anyway?
Many people confuse a Web browser with a search engine, such as Google. It's a reasonable mistake because most daily browsing begins with a search. However, whereas a search engine finds Web sites, a browser displays them. Think of the browser as your window to the Web. It doesn't have specific knowledge about the scenery (like a search engine), but you need to look through it to see what's out there.
In addition to displaying Web sites, the browser provides tools to help you navigate among them. I talk about basic commands like Back and Forward in Chapter 2, but most browsers also include features like Bookmarks, which help you keep track of your favorite pages. Successful browsers hide the complex underpinnings of the Web and make surfing safe, pleasurable, and easy. Check out Figure 1-1.
Figure 1-1: Firefox includes just the features you need, making the Web the center of attention.