Note: this is strictly Firefox question, as I have way too many addons to switch. However, if you know if I can do it in the other browser, your posts are welcome as well.

I am trying to switch to completely mouseless internet browsing (as much as this is possible). The problem is that my current workflow is somehow incompatible with the capabilities of the Firefox (at least as far as I know).

What I know and use to navigate on the page:

  • Tab and Shift-Tab to navigate between the links
  • F7 to enable/disable caret
  • Space, Shift-Space, PgUp,PgDown to scroll down/up

I also use extensively Shift with DOWN/UP/LEFT/RIGHT to select text, and Ctrl-Enter to open links in the new tab.

The problem:

I open a long page, say, a very long blog post, or a page with many not interesting sections on the top (with caret browsing i.e. F7 switched off - I only activate it occasionally). I quickly scroll with either Space or PgDown or ARROW_DOWN to the middle of the page.

Now, I want to focus some link. When I press Tab or F7, the browser starts navigating from the beginning of the page. If there are tens of links, it takes a while. Moreover, the view gets scrolled to the top, which hurts my flow.


Any hidden shortcuts, add-ons etc. so that upon entering the page and scrolling down, Tab focuses first link in my viewport instead of first on the page, or F7 puts the caret where I am now?


I know I can start with F7 (or in fact, a mix Tab to focus some area and then F7 to get the caret, because in some layouts F7 behaves weirdly) and scroll down using ARROW_DOWN, but it's much slower than scrolling with Space or PgDown.

Solution for scrolling with Space or PgDown while F7 is disabled will be preferred.

Edit: another alternative

It seems that Firefox quick search feature (/) and especially quick search in links only (') can help to get focus to some particular place, and then move on with the caret the normal way with F7 and arrow.

  • 1
    Opera doesn't have caret browsing, but does have spatial navigation: Shift+arrows navigate between links based on their visual locations. If you scroll with Page Down or Space, then press Shift+Down, it will focus on a link at the top of the view. ... – Bavi_H Jul 21 '12 at 2:20
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    ... It looks like spatial navigation was available in a special test build of Firefox in 2005 (documentation). It used Alt+Shift+arrows, and I guess it behaved the same way after paging down. – Bavi_H Jul 21 '12 at 2:20
  • The Opera-like behavior is exactly what I'm looking for! For me in Opera 12 it always gets a link in the current viewport, doesn't scroll (tried at several pages). However, the problematic thing is the shortcut. In Firefox Shift+arrows selects the text. So ideal would be the combination of both :) – jakub.g Jul 21 '12 at 9:25
  • I really wish there was an answer for this. It seems like a good solution would be for F7 to set caret browsing AND set the caret/focus in the exact center of the view port. Another alternative would be an add-in that accepts a short cut that puts the caret/focus in the exact center of the view port if nothing else. Can an add-in change the behavior of F7 to add setting focus? – Arbalest Sep 28 '13 at 23:30

I am offering this as an answer rather than a comment because the current "answer" is that it can't be done and it is known bug in Firefox.

As I have been bothered by this same problem forever this question rekindled by obsession with it. So, I have been looking over at the Firefox Bugzilla page and it turns out that this problem was initially reported as a bug back in May of 2002!!! It is still open with discussion about solutions, patches that have been added and then backed out and numerous other bugs classified as duplicates (other manifestations) of this one.

The Bugzilla Log is HERE

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  • I now think it might be possible (though not very easy) to write a GreaseMonkey userscript to at least partially circumvent the issue. I'll try to think a bit about it when I find some free time. – jakub.g Sep 30 '13 at 21:27
  • Looking at the Bugzilla discussion thread will give you an idea of the scope of the problem. If you can write a script that positions the caret inside the current view port (even with caret browsing off) it would solve the problem with tabbing and text/link searching too as all three actions would start from the caret. – Arbalest Sep 30 '13 at 22:09

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