Gain more control over what is saved in Firefox by using the hidden Places tool.
The Firefox web browser has a feature you might have seen, but don't quite understand. That feature is called Places, also known as the Library. You can access Places via the Library icon or the Library entry within the Firefox menu. This is part of what makes it a bit confusing, as the icon and menu entry indicate the feature would be called "Library." It's not. It's actually called Places. Or not.
Hello Mozilla, does anyone know the official name?
Regardless of nomenclature, it makes for a very convenient location to manage entries from bookmarks, items saved to Pocket, browser history, downloads, sync'd tabs, and recent highlights.
I'm going to show you how you can gain access to this tool, so that you have more control over the items in your Firefox Places.
SEE: How to protect against 10 common browser threats (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
What you'll need
The only thing you'll need to use Firefox Places/Library is an updated version of the Firefox web browser. I'll be demonstrating this on the Nightly release of Firefox, running on Pop!_OS. The platform you use shouldn't matter, so long as it's not the mobile version of Firefox.
How to locate Firefox Places
As previously mentioned, you can click either the toolbar icon or click Menu | Library | History and click on any of the sites you've visited in your history. You can also right-click an entry and select to open the entry in a new tab or window, open it in a new Private window, bookmark the page, copy, delete, or forget about the site. Once you've acted on a site, the menu remains open, so you can continue managing that history.
However, working with the Places tool like this is a bit clunky. Fortunately, there's a much better way of using Places. That method is by way of the actual Places tool. Within this hidden Firefox feature you can more easily:
- Delete items
- Control your history
- Manage your downloads
- Search your Library
- Create new bookmarks and/or bookmark folders
- Import/export bookmarks
- Much more
The trick, however, is getting to the tool. If you're curious, let me show you how.
- Open Firefox.
- In the address bar type: chrome://browser/content/places/places.xul.
- Hit Enter on your keyboard.
A new page should open to the Places tool aka Library (Figure A).
Once the tool has opened, you can start browsing the various elements and (as needed) deleting, bookmarking, and otherwise managing. One task you might find very useful is the ability to comb through your history and delete specific items. By doing this, you don't have to completely nuke your history.
This is handy when you have an entry in your history that is known to be malicious. For example, say you have your history synced across all of your Firefox instances and on one occasion you were sent to a phishing site. If that address is saved in your history, it'll sync to your account. Having the ability to locate that malicious URL and delete only that is very handy.
There is another reason to use the Places (aka Library) tool vs the icon or menu entry—the search tool. From within the Places (er, Library) tool, you can click on the Search bar, type a string, and hit Enter. Look through the results (Figure B) and act on whatever entry you need.
And that's all there is to gaining a bit more power to manage all of the places you've visited, bookmarked, or synced in Firefox. Give this tool a try and see if you don't find it quickly becoming your go-to means of managing Firefox Places (in the Library).
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