How To Use Multi-touch in Firefox

Did you know you can switch tabs in Firefox by making a twisting motion with your fingers on a multi-touch surface? I did. Turns out I’ve been doing this for months – I thought I was late to the party and was too ashamed to mention it to anybody for fear of an epic internet ribbing. But no, apparently it was top secret and highly experimental. That was in the beta; it loks like the official version has reduced it to a hack. Fortunately, mastering this multi-touch-enabling technique will allow you to tweak your gestures, resulting in everlasting glory.

  • Open a new tab in Firefox… (I’ll wait)
  • Put “about:config” in the address bar, no quotes. It’ll ask you if you’re sure. Yes, you are.
  • Ready? Okay, now type “twist” into the search box.
  • Double-click on the twist right, and put “Browser:NextTab” into the box, without quotes.
  • Theeeen, in twist left, put “Browser:PrevTab” without the quotes.
  • You’re done! Now, I found the gesture (it applies immediately, try putting one finger down and rotating another around it) to be a bit slow to respond, so I changed that other setting, the threshold one, from its default (25) to 10. You can mess around and figure out what’s best for you.

See, tweaking is easy! If you’re afraid you’ve ruined something, just right-click on any box you’ve modified and hit reset.

Curiosity piqued? Type “gesture” into the search box and try modifying a few of those settings. I don’t particularly like the twist, so I’m about to set tab switching to three-fingered swipes. Aren’t we just having so much fun?

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