What is the "box mode" (for a lack of a better word) in Firefox? How can I exit it again?

If I hold down the Ctrl key and left click while the cursor is over some element on a page it becomes boxed:

alt text

Firefox seems to go into some special mode. What is this mode for? How can I go back to normal mode?

Installed add-ons in Firefox:

  • BetterPrivacy 1.29
  • NoScript
  • SQLite Manager 0.4.7
  • (Microsoft .NET Framework Assistent 1.0 is disabled.)


  • Firefox 3.0.6
  • Windows XP 64 bit SP2
  • 8GB RAM
  • I have never seen that in Firefox. Does it frequently happen? Did it start with version 3? Maybe you could try installing Firefox 3.5
    – alex
    Sep 18, 2009 at 13:11
  • OK, I found out how to enter the box mode. I have updated the questiion accordingly. Sep 18, 2009 at 13:32
  • seems you got 2 up vote by accident too :)
    – user8228
    Sep 18, 2009 at 13:43

2 Answers 2


You're selecting everything within the box. It's used for copying and pasting, as well as printing.

You'll find that if you now press Ctrl + C (or use the Copy entry on the Edit menu) and then paste into another application, then everything within the border will be copied.

Similarly if you go to the File -> Print and then click the Selection box, only the part of the page that you've selected will print out. This is a great way of saving paper when you need to print some information from a page that's covered in adverts, etc. that you'd rather not print out.

  • 1
    that is totally awesome.
    – izb
    Sep 18, 2009 at 14:00
  • 1
    cool. i did not know about it.
    – Lazer
    Sep 19, 2009 at 22:42
  • 1
    That's a great tip for FF users. I didn't even know what that was until now.
    – Aznfin
    Apr 5, 2010 at 17:19

Do you have any add-ons installed in Firefox? This looks like something that Firebug would do.

  • I have updated the question with the installed add-ons. Sep 18, 2009 at 13:22

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