For those of you who are unaware, I have converted to the “dark side” and now own and use a MacBook Pro laptop at home. One of the awesome things about the laptop is the multitouch trackpad. Used as part of the OS it is great – swipe 4 fingers down triggers expose swipe them up show desktop and a couple of others.

Having said that I spend a good chunk of my time on Firefox while using my Mac and there are some very useful multitouch gestures you can add! There are a couple of other tutorials out there already, but for some reason the ones I’ve found only talk about the twist left/right to move to the previous/next tab. Being curious me, I went exploring and found out how to get some more equally helpful gestures working!

Here is a screenshot of my about:config page.

Firefox Multitouch Gestures

Firefox Multitouch Gestures

Adding/modifying these values is very simple – here is a quick tutorial:

  1. Open firefox and enter about:config in the URL bar
  2. Filter the list of gestures by entering: gesture into the filter (optional by recommended)
  3. Modifying a value:
    • Double click on an existing preference name (eg: browser.gesture.twistleft)
    • Enter a value (eg. Browser:PrevTab)
  4. Adding a value:
    • Right click somewhere in the window (probably best on empty space)
    • Select New->String
    • Enter a preference name (eg: browser.gesture.swipe.down.alt)
    • Enter a value (eg. History:UndoCloseTab)
    • Note: You will have to refresh the filter for your new custom value to appear.
  5. Close the ‘about:config’ tab – and you’re done!

You might want to play around with it to find out what you feel is most useful for your browsing habits, but these are the ones that I like the best/use the most:

Preference Name Value What it does?
browser.gesture.twist.right Browser:NextTab Twist two fingers clockwise to go to next tab
browser.gesture.twist.left Browser:PrevTab Twist two fingers anti-clockwise to go to previous tab
browser.gesture.swipe.down cmd_close Swipe three fingers down to close the current tab
browser.gesture.swipe.down.alt History:UndoCloseTab Press ‘alt’ and swipe three fingers down to “undo close tab”
browser.gesture.swipe.down.shift cmd_scrollBottom Press ‘shift’ and swipe three fingers down to jump to the bottom of the page
browser.gesture.swipe.up.shift cmd_scrollTop Press ‘shift’ and swipe three fingers up to jump to the top of the page

The zooms are also quite cool but they are there by default so it should work without you having to do anything. Hint: hold down shift and zoom in/out and it’ll reset the magnification to the default.

Once you get used to your gestures you’ll wonder how you lived without them! Be interested to hear what other gestures you guys have set up :)

  • Chii

    lol – macs are the “dark side”?!

  • Nicolas B.

    These imps are undocumented, and very secret. I had never heard of them.