9 tweaks for Firefox 3’s location bar

While Firefox 3’s location bar is perhaps my personal favorite new feature and the one I missed the most when I have to use Firefox 2 for some testing, there are a lot of people who find it weird, obtrusive and don’t like it including bookmarks and history among its results.

An option to restore its old behavior was available for a few weeks during Firefox 3 development but it was pulled basically because it would need a lot of testing and it was thought it was not worth it. The option may come back for Firefox 3.1.

In the meantime, for those who prefer the old way and those who want even more power, here are 9 easy tweaks you can try.

1. Make the autocomplete menu show only typed addresses and not visited or bookmarked

  • Enter about:config in the location bar to access the advanced preferences. Accept the “This may void your warranty message”.
  • Look for browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped and double click it to set it to TRUE.

2. To set the autocomplete menu to single line suggestions install the oldbar extension, developed by Seth Spitzer. Together with the previous tweak pretty much restores Firefox 2 behavior, except typed characters are searched in all the address instead of just the beginning.

3. Change the number of suggestions displayed in the autocomplete menu

  • Enter about:config in the location bar to access the advanced preferences.
  • Look for browser.urlbar.maxRichResults and set it to the number of results you want to get.
  • Restart Firefox for the change to take effect.

4. Hide the star button if you prefer to use the Bookmarks menu or a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl + D)

  • Open your userChrome.css file located in your profile folder.
  • Add this line to the end of the file: #star-button {display: none !important;}
  • Restart Firefox for the change to take effect.

5. Always show the Go button. By default it is only displayed when you are editing the current web address.

  • Open your userChrome.css file located in your profile folder.
  • Add this line to the end of the file: #go-button { visibility: visible !important; }
  • Restart Firefox for the change to take effect.

6. If you enter firfox in the location bar and you try to correct it, the autocomplete menu won’t suggest anything because it only keeps working as you edit the last characters. Install the Edit Middle extension, developed by harikaried, to make it work with edits anywhere.

7. To auto select the first suggestion in the autocomplete menu, install the Enter Selects extension, developed by harikaried. You will need to logon to Mozilla Add-ons to install it as it’s still experimental.

8. Tweak the autocomplete menu title and addresses size and colors by adding these lines to your userChrome.css file. Check for the specific hexadecimal color code to use at WebMonkey.

.ac-comment {font-size: 100% !important; color: #444444 !important; }

.ac-comment[selected=’true’] { color: #FFFFFF !important; }

.ac-url-text {font-size: 100% !important; color: #000077 !important; }

.ac-url-text[selected=’true’] { color: #FFFFFF !important; }

9. To include Google and Amazon search results in the autocomplete menu install the Searchery extension, developed by Ian McKellar. You will need to logon to Mozilla Add-ons to install it as it’s still experimental.

10. Bonus tip courtesy of Frederick from the comments: To hide the web feed icon from the location bar, add this line to your userChrome.css file: #feed-button[feeds] { display: none !important; }

Happy tweaking!

Thanks Jens, Marius, and Marcelo for the suggestions and corrections which work better indeed. There were unwanted spaces and wrong quotes in the original post but have now been corrected.

79 thoughts on “9 tweaks for Firefox 3’s location bar”

  1. I hide the star button, but I actually lovee that I can search bookmarks from the address bar.

  2. The Go button, really? Thats why I have an [Enter] key: after typing I hit [Enter] to enter my web address. Why reach for the mouse??

    Could you give us a suggestion on fixing the icons in Linux under KDE? They look horrible but probably fit in decently with Gnome. In my Debian Lenny with a fresh tarball-based install of FF3, its pretty fugly.

    Thanks for the tips!

    1. The go button is useful when you have tried to load a page but nothing happened or you got an error, and you have already moved your right hand back to the mouse.

      I know there’s the reload button but it nice to have the option further to the right as well.

      1. Hi, I not only have no “go bar” but when i type in a new address that I’ve not visited before, and then hit “enter” … nothing happens. It’s like my “enter” bar has no effect. Ever hear of this one? Between this development and being “lucky” enough to be selected for the horrendous new iGoogle experiment from hell, I am so frustrated I could cry.

        If you are able to provide any ideas/fixes, please “dumb them down” for me – I’m no net noob, but I’m no expert either. I just want my web to work. Thanks in advance.

    2. also the ‘go’ button is handy if you want to ‘reload’ the page that’s already in the location bar, *without* resending the info (if it’s a form submission)

  3. The option to hide the star button does not work all that well it seems.
    I added that line to my userChrome.css file and its width became zero. But it is still there.
    I can even still click on it and use it by clicking at some spot where it used to be.
    Is there any other way to do it? I tried this: #star-button { visibility: invisible !important; }
    But that does not work at all.

    Also, when including the lines to change size and color of the addresses and titles in the autocomplete menu, the text does not become white anymore on selected entries. Like intended by these lines i assume:
    .ac-comment[selected=”true”] { color: #FFFFFF !important; }
    .ac-url-text[selected=”true”] { color: #FFFFFF !important; }
    Thus selected entries are likely to become very unreadable.

    1. I think i found a better solution for removing the star button: #star-button { display: none !important; }
      But there is still the other problem with the addresses and titles not becoming white when they are selected.

    2. Just change the quotes to the proper ones and remove the space among the exclamation mark and works as supossed! White text!;-)

  4. To hide the star button try:
    #star-button {
    display: none !important;

    Also, unless you customized your chrome before, there is no userChrome.css under your profile folder. In the ‘chrome’ subfolder of your profile folder you should find a file called userChrome-example.css, copy this one to userChrome,css.

    1. hiding the star is all fine and well, but how do I force it to show? (my current theme disables it)

  5. Ok, I am having loads of fun with my first serious tweak campaign on a new browser, it’s kind of fun to set it up to JUST how I would like it. BUT how does one get the “star” to disappear from the url locator dropdown, and is there any way to increase the number of sites in the dropdown?

    I had to get rid of the “awesome” beast it was just to much and I have serious privacy issues.

    Thanx fellow ‘zillas

  6. Does anyone know the way to do #7 on the list (auto-select first search result) without an extension (meaning an about:config tweak)? That’s how I had it set up in Firefox 2 but I can’t seem to find the tweak anymore.

  7. It’s great to be able to get rid of the star button from the location bar — thanks!

    Does anyone know how to get rid of the RSS button?

  8. With trial and error, I answered my own question.

    To remove the RSS icon from the location bar, add the following line to your userChrome.css:

    #feed-button[feeds] { display: none !important; }

    There were also some questions about the Go button above. I am in the “kill the Go button” camp. To do so, add this line to userChrome.css:

    menu[label=”Go”] { display: none !important; }

    Why doesn’t anybody in Mozilla-land bothers to document any of this stuff?

  9. REPEAT REQUEST please:

    BUT how does one get the “star” to disappear from the url locator dropdown, and is there any way to increase the number of sites in the dropdown?


    1. about:config


      (default = 12, change it to whatever you want; I use 20.)

      Don’t know about the “star” query.

  10. I tried using the oldbar 1.2, but it won’t install – says it is not compatible with 3.0. I just want things I typed in the address bar to drop down..like 2.0.

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  12. Okay, I don’t know if I’m just being silly, but I’m having an issue that I can’t find a solution to. These tweaks are great, especially browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped. However, if I have a website that I access via a desktop shortcut. It’s a shortcut to my payroll website, so it’s the first thing I access in the morning. With Firefox 2, if I wanted to access the website again, I could just start typing it in the address bar and it would appear in the dropdown menu, allowing me to click on it and access the website again. Now, if I have browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped set to “true,” the address for this particular website does NOT appear, even though I’ve already visited it. The only way I’ve been able to fix that issue is by setting browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped to “false,” then selecting the website from the dropdown menu in the address bar (it shows up when it’s set to “false”) then going back and setting browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped to “true” again. Only then will the URL show up in the address bar. This might not make sense, but it’s exactly what’s happening and is seriously irritating me. Sure, I could just add it as a bookmark or set it as my homepage, but I’m just curious as to why this happens and if there’s any actual solution beyond changing my habits. Any ideas?

    1. I believe that would be because the first time you visit the site, you do not do so by typing it in the address bar. Remember, browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped “true” means only sites you’ve typed into the address bar appear in the dropdown menu. Once you set browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped to “false” and clicked the site in the dropdown menu, that counts as “typing” it into the address bar, so it appears there when you set browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped to “true” again. I think.

      1. David, thanks for the response. That’s what I figured, but it was still a minor annoyance. After spending all morning yesterday trying to tweak Firefox 3 so that it would stop searching for things in the middle/end of URLs, I rolled back to Firefox 2. Hopefully there will be an option to completely disable the “awesome bar” and have the exact functionality of previous location bars in their next release.

  13. I scanned thru these posts and seems the ‘awesomeness’ of the ‘awesome (ly sucky) bar’ is still upsetting folks. I changed browser.urlbar.maxRichResults to 0 and it effectively killed it for me.

  14. They have ruined my entire Firefox experience. All I want if to type something like “nytimes” into the address bar and hit enter and have Firefox add www. and the appropriate .com or .net or whatever onto the ending and go for it.

    All this new stuff sucks. It’s typical geek junk that turns off so many ordinary users from open-source or collective-designed software.

    They had a good thing and they overcomplicated it.

    I am just furious about this.


      I dont want it taking me to search results when i hit enter. UGH how do we get this back in FF3?

    2. In reply to Fred Mertz: I totally agree with him. Why is it someone has to “improve” a well working simple system to the point of absurdity.

      “All this new stuff sucks. It’s typical geek junk that turns off so many ordinary users from open-source or collective-designed software.
      They had a good thing and they overcomplicated it.
      I am just furious about this.”
      Me Too!
      Please-please bring back the old system or at least give us the choice.

  15. I need help, it seems that FF3 still shows history in my location bar even though I’ve done tweak number 1

  16. In my XP setup, the address bar won’t remember ANYTHING I have typed in manually and the drop down menu just shows 2 links from the many in my bookmarks menu. This is completely screwed.

  17. Finally! Thanks for this article. I have been looking everywhere for an off button for this “feature” but couldn’t find any. FF3 is great for the most part, but this new address bar drives me crazy. There are many reasons why you would not want to broadcast your bookmarks to whoever happens to stand next to you.

    Although the feature may be useful in some situations it is also very much a privacy issue. It really should have an off switch that a normal user easily can manage, i.e. without digging into about:config etc.

  18. Sorry but the above tips to remove the crappy ff3 URL bar don’t work!! Why doesn’t Firefox release an official waty of doing this as I can see there are heaps of people that hate it. Seriously – who remembers sites based upon their title?? Duh….no one!

  19. I honestly can’t understand how someone could ever like the new location bar autocomplete.
    I sometimes get results which do not contain -any- of the typed characters while i know that the one i’m looking for is in there, somewhere.
    Sometimes i can get it to work by first typing in ‘www.’
    Sometimes it works, kindof, and does show the url i was looking for, but at the same times shows urls that again do not contain any characters i have typed. It shows those results -before- the one i was looking for so i still have to sif through the list (which has become realy weird with all the highlighting and bold stuff.)

    For me it has become one of the downsides of using Mozilla….

    1. I said the same thing when I first upgraded my Firefox. Now, I love it. The autocomplete feature has helped me find pages that I never would have found if I had to search through all of my history manually.

  20. Pls. help i want to delete completely all i have been typed in the address bar. I done the Tweaks #1 or making Shift+ Del on every address but when i restart Firefox, it does not change any affect. I guess I’m not doing the right thing.

    1. In reply, you want to do the 3rd tweak listed and set the number of results to 0 and it won’t drop down anything when you type it, so you don’t have to worry about anything dropping down for people to see.

  21. Thank you so much! It was aggravating to see my bookmarks always popping up whenever I started typing a web address, and this solved my problem. Excellent article!

  22. As previously reported, tweak #1 does not work as advertised. For the programmers reference… I am using xp pro for an os. Despite installing the ‘oldbar’ and implementing tweak#1 I still get history items listed in the pull down. This is enough to end my days with firefox… too bad, it was good while it lasted. Maybe it will get fixed before I completely abandon mozilla :(

  23. I revile the new features. They are utterly detestable. Repulsive. Ill-conceived and ill-executed. Dumbly defaulted. Worthy of Microsoft.

    I set browser.urlbar.maxRichResults to 0 immediately. Repulsive thumb-twiddling punks with too much time on their hands, don’t give us “features” that downgrade a product.

    Even thinking about the 10 minutes it took to find out how to fix the problem makes my blood boil. Those damn Moz Punks. The hell with ’em.

  24. Yeah, I didn’t like the address bar to drop down some of the more…sensitive….addresses and such, so, I tried the first one and that didn’t help, so I just set the number of results that it shows to 0 and it doesn’t do that drop down thing! Sweet, tons of help from mozillalinks.org

  25. Does anyone else have problems with the first weak, getting rid of the bookmarks appearing? I’ve tried the matchOnlyTyped thing and set it to true, but my bookmarks still show up. Help, please?

  26. I wanted to try a couple of these FF3.0 tweaks. But after several minutes of searching, I was forced to the realization that I just don’t have a userChrome.css file anywhere on the hard drives of any of my 3 mach’s. All I could find were userChrome-example.css files.
    Is this normal?

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