Importing Settings from Other Browsers

It's usually a major effort to switch from one application to another. Not only do you usually have to learn a whole new set of finger habits, but you also have to configure the new application to make it work the way you want it to. Firefox makes transitioning from another browser fairly simple by importing configuration information from other browsers as part of the installation process. Firefox can import your settings, preferences, and favorites from IE, Netscape, Mozilla Suite, Safari, Opera, OmniWeb, or iCab.

When you install Firefox for the first time on your computer, the Firefox Import Wizard starts automatically so that you can import settings (as shown in Figure 1-1).

Figure 1-1. The Import Wizard main screen.

All the browsers from which you can import settings and information appear on the screen. Select the browser from which you want to import settings, and click Next. (You can also choose not to import anything at this time by selecting Don't import anything.) Firefox imports the following types of information:

  • Internet options: Firefox imports the browser's general settings and configures itself to match them as closely as possible.

  • Cookies: Many websites save information about you and how you used the websitesuch as login information or basic website preferenceson your computer in a small file known as a cookie so that the next time you go to the website, the website is configured automatically for you. Firefox imports any cookies it can find from the browser so that you don't have to re-enter your login and preferences for each website you normally visit.

  • Browsing history: Firefox imports the history of the websites you have visited to the Firefox history list.

  • Saved form history: Firefox imports the information you enter in website forms. The next time you go to the website, Firefox can enter the information in the form's fields.

  • Saved passwords: Firefox imports your saved passwords into the Password Manager. The next time you go to a website for which you have a saved password, Firefox can enter the password information in the login fields.

  • Favorites: Firefox imports the favorites (also known as bookmarks, depending on which browser you're importing from) from the selected browser, including the folders and the order they appear in.


A few bookmarks come with Firefox. Any imported bookmarks appear in addition to these. You're not stuck with any of these, of course; you'll learn how to add, modify, and delete bookmarks in Chapter 5, "Bookmarks and History."

While Firefox is importing information from the selected browser, it displays a screen like the one shown in Figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2. The Importing screen of the Import Wizard.

When Firefox is done importingthe whole process should take only a minute or twoit briefly displays a screen that basically says, "All done!" You can click Finish or just ignore it; the screen disappears in a moment in any case.

TOOL KIT: Opera Bookmarks

While Firefox is generally guaranteed not to rip, run, rag, bag, wheeze, sneeze, fall out at the knees, or smell bad in hot weather, it doesn't always import everything directly. If you're using Opera as your browser and you want to import your bookmarks into Firefox, you must use a third-party conversion tool to first convert the Opera bookmarks into an HTML file that you can then import through the Bookmarks Manager into Firefox (a process that's described in Chapter 5).

One of the best of these tools for Windows computers is Bookmark Converter (catchy name), available at Many other utilities convert your bookmarks/favorites to an HTML file, too; check for similar tools for your browser or operating system.

If you have several browsers from which you want to import settings, you can import the settings from one browser initially and then import selected items from other browsers at any time. Start the Import Wizard by selecting File Import, and then select the browser you want to import settings from. The Items to Import screen (shown in Figure 1-3) appears.

Figure 1-3. The Items to Import screen of the Import Wizard.

You can select individual items to import. Check the boxes for the items you want to import, and click Next. Again, the import process is fast and painless.


Favorites/bookmarks are added to the current list of bookmarks without overwriting, but importing the Internet options reconfigures the look and feel of Firefox to match the new settings as closely as possible (depending on which options are available in the other browser and what you choose to import). If you import Internet options from several browsers, Firefox has the look and feel of the most recent set of Internet options.

    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage (Garage Series)
    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage
    ISBN: 0131870041
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 185

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