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I am running Firefox v10.0.1 with OS X Lion v10.7.3

From the Apple dock, you can right-click on Firefox icon and choose NEW and a new Firefox window will open.

From terminal, I have tried

    open -n /Applications/

but it says (assuming Firefox is already open)

A copy of Firefox is already open. Only one copy of Firefox can be open at a time.

How can you open a New Window in Firefox from the Terminal's command line?

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slhck's answer below is correct and I accepted it, but here is related question and answer:… – jsherk Mar 8 '12 at 5:49
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You need to use AppleScript for this. The ideal solution would be to use a built-in function from Firefox, but it doesn't offer one – its AppleScript dictionary is very limited. So we have to emulate keyboard shortcuts.

Open up your ~/.bash_profile and add the following shell function:

function firefox-window() {
/usr/bin/env osascript <<-EOF
tell application "System Events"
    if (name of processes) contains "Firefox" then
        tell application "Firefox" to activate
        keystroke "n" using command down
        tell application "Firefox" to activate
    end if
end tell

This will call osascript, which executes AppleScript commands, then activate Firefox, and then emulate a ⌘N keypress – but only if it's already running. If not, Firefox will just be opened, so you don't get two new windows. Also, you can exchange "n" to "t" to get new tabs, obviously.

Save the ~/.bash_profile file and enter source ~/.bash_profile to reload it. Then, just call the following function whenever you need a new Firefox window:


Of course, feel free to change the function's name.

If you want to be able to pass an URL argument from the command line, see this answer: How to open a new Firefox window with URL argument.

~/.bash_profile is where all your custom functions should reside. If the file doesn't exist, you can just create it.

Shell functions are more powerful than aliases, as for example they allow you to use arguments too. You could theoretically pass the URL of the new window too, and then tell Firefox to open it with the OpenURL or Get URL command – but I haven't tried them.

Regarding the syntax used: The <<-EOF is a here document, making it easier to pass multi-line input to osascript. The input will be parsed until the EOF marker appears again.

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Ok, I will give this a try. Will this also work to start Firefox if it is not running, or is this only if it is already running? – jsherk Mar 3 '12 at 23:13
Am receiving this when trying to reload: -bash: /Users/myname/.bash_profile: line 9: syntax error: unexpected end of file – jsherk Mar 3 '12 at 23:17
This will also work if Firefox is not running, although it will then open two windows – it could be tweaked not to do this, of course. What's your complete bash_profile, can you post it somewhere (Pastebin, etc.)? I'm guessing there's a missing quote. Check if you typed everything correctly. – slhck Mar 3 '12 at 23:22
Here you go: – jsherk Mar 3 '12 at 23:40
Sorry, it must have been an indentation error. You shouldn't indent EOF. See my updated post! – slhck Mar 3 '12 at 23:42

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