Faster! Accelerate Firefox 3.6 page scrolling

Firefox 3.6 has yet another secret feature that could significantly improve your web browsing on Windows: scroll acceleration.

By default, when you scroll the mouse wheel, the web page is scrolled the same number of lines no matter how many times you have already scrolled it. But, if you have scrolled the page a certain number of times in a short period, probably you are looking for something far below or above, and accelerating may be helpful.

Scroll acceleration was implemented by Mozilla intern Margaret Leibovic, very early in Firefox 3.6 development, but finally turned off because it could conflict with mouse driver based acceleration, detecting it was out of scope. So it was postponed for next versions.

But the feature is there, and I have found it very useful, and have become used to it. To enable it, go to about:config to access the advanced preferences. Then look for mousewheel.acceleration.start, and set it to the number of successive mouse scrolls that will trigger acceleration. I found 3 to be a good number for me. Then, set mousewheel.acceleration.factor to how many times faster you want to scroll. I tried and liked 5.

Accelerated scrolling settings for Firefox 3.6

With Firefox’s default setting it took me 14 mouse scrolls to scroll Margaret’s post (with 30+ comments), versus 6 with acceleration.

If you try this setting, please share the values you found to work best for you.

10 Comments

  1. Wobble January 27, 2010 8:07 pm 

    What are the default values?
    Now I want to change it back

    It is always good to mention the default values in your articles.

    • Percy Cabello January 28, 2010 9:00 am 

      For every about:config preference, right-click it and select Reset.

  2. leandro January 27, 2010 11:44 pm 

    Niceeeeeeee one!
    Solved a big cons for me!

  3. J2bad January 29, 2010 10:47 am 

    Hmmm. Could this new “secret feature” be related to a bug that several people have reported concerning inconsistent scroll wheel performance?
    http://support.mozilla.com/nl/forum/1/561601

    My scroll wheel works fine to navigate within most pages, and to move among open tabs; but it no longer works to zoom in and out in of the charts in google finance. Revert to 3.5.7, and I can zoom these charts as always. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  4. Oxh January 30, 2010 2:05 pm 

    the default values were factor 6 and start -1, excelent trick

    • Mara February 28, 2010 5:12 am 

      Odd…my default value for mousewheel.acceleration.factor was 10.

  5. hapipl February 1, 2010 1:46 pm 

    I got the same problem with J2bad about the scrolling in Google finance chart.

  6. bandi February 5, 2010 6:10 pm 

    You could try the excellent but underrated add-on: ‘Grab and Drag’ (see at http://grabanddrag.mozdev.org/index.html ). It really changed how I browse webpages: instead of scrolling madly with the wheel I can simply just drag my mouse. It has other nifty features like momentum drag (keeps scrolling after you’ve stopped your mouse) and you can scale the effect of the mouse movement. That is why I won’t even look for those settings.

  7. js March 16, 2010 2:07 am 

    Same problem after installation of FF v3.6, with UltraNav TrackPoint keyboard for desktop (similar to TrackPad keyboard).
    Scrolling continues to work without problem in IE v8.

  8. filcon September 17, 2010 4:59 am 

    i am using the latest updated mozilla 3.6.10 and suddenly there is a script appeared i have never seen before. i sent the error report. curious, what’s wrong! i am think to install the previous versions but i have already deleted the 3.6.8 and 3.6.9 program in my download folder.

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