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Configuring the Backspace Key in Firefox



Mozilla Firefox is steadily increasing it's market share in the Browser Wars and is in a clear second position. Also, the usability of Linux is improving making distributions like Ubuntu more popular, where Firefox is the default browser. There are however a few quirky differences between Firefox for Windows and Firefox on other operating systems. Most notably, the Backspace key can have some quite different behaviour. Most people who use Windows all the time may find it frustrating that the Backspace key doesn't go to a previous page on Ubuntu.

Firefox Configuration

In order to tweak the software, we need to access it’s configuration interface. In Firefox, all we need to do is type about:config in the address bar, and press Enter. It may prompt you with a warning, just accept this. This should give you something like the following in Firefox:

Firefox Configuration

From this window we can change any settings. All we need to do is find the necessary setting, and double click on it to change it. This will either toggle it’s setting, or bring up a window for you to enter a setting of your choice.

The Options

0 - Backspace goes to the previous page in history, Shift + Backspace goes to the next page in history (if available) - this is the default setting for Windows, and replicates behaviour of Internet Explorer.

1 - Backspace scrolls up the page, Shift + Backspace scrolls down the page - this is the default in older Linux distributions.

2 - The Backspace key does nothing - this is the default in current Linux distributions.

Changing the Setting

In this instance we need to search for browser.backspace_action by typing in to the Filter box at the top of the about:config window. This should leave just the one setting in the main window pane that you can double click on and change. Simply change the setting to the option number above and close the window. Now the Backspace key should function as you set it.

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