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Viewing the browsing history - Firefox

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In Firefox, the History menu displays a short list of recently visited web pages. You can view your complete browsing history by opening the History sidebar or, starting in Firefox 3, by viewing History from the Library window.

Contents

Library

In Firefox 3.0 and above, opening the History menu and selecting "Show All History" opens the Library window with History selected. You can also open the Library window via "Bookmarks -> Organize Bookmarks" and select "History" in the left pane or you can use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+Shift+H" ("Cmd+Shift+H" on Mac OS). In Firefox 3.0, History is displayed as a list of visited web pages. This is may not be as useful to you, however, as the History sidebar (see below), where you can view visited pages sorted by date and site.

Starting in Firefox 3.5, the Library window groups History by day visited (Today, Yesterday, Last 7 days, This month, or a specific month). Selecting one of the available groupings in the left pane displays a list of visited pages for that time period, as shown below. [1]

Library - History in Firefox 3.5
Image:Fx35-LibraryHistory.png

Note that Bookmarks and History are stored in the same location (in the places.sqlite database file) and both History and Bookmarks are accessible from the Library window. The Search box searches on both Name (page title) and Location (web address or "URL"). The search applies to all History items or all Bookmark items but never to both. To be sure which you are searching, look for "Search History" or "Search Bookmarks" (in gray) in the Search box, before entering your search term.

Note: You can view all History items by entering a character in the Library window "Search History" box that is common to all entries, such as a colon (":") or forward slash ("/"). Since all web addresses (URLs) include those characters, all History items will be displayed. (This also works for Bookmarks.) [2] This can also be useful in getting item counts.

In the Library window, you can click on any column header to sort by that column (click a second time to reverse the order), and you can rearrange columns by dragging the column header. You can access other columns by right-clicking on a column heading or via the Views menu (Show Columns). In addition to Name and Location, you can also select Visit Date (last) and Visit Count. The other items are for bookmarks: Tags, Keyword, Description, Added (date), and Last Modified.

Your sort column choice will be retained for the next time you bring up the Library List. If you do not want to sort on any column then use the Views menu (in the Library List), Sort, Unsorted -- then listing will be in the same order as your bookmarks (and history) sidebar, and the left side of the Library list. Sorting in the Library has no effect of the actual order of your bookmarks in the sidebar and is only meant for viewing in a different order in the Library.

History sidebar

In Firefox 2, the History sidebar was accessible from the History menu, by selecting "Show in Sidebar". Starting in Firefox 3, this menu item is no longer included in the History menu but you can open the History sidebar in other ways, as explained below.

Note: Selecting "History -> Show All History" in Firefox 3 opens the Library window (see above)

Opening the History sidebar

  1. In the Firefox menu, click on View
  2. Select Sidebar
  3. Click on History

You can customize the toolbar by adding a History button, so that you can open the History sidebar with one click.

You can also open the History sidebar using the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+H" (Windows and Linux) or "Cmd+Shift+H" (Mac OS).

History sidebar - Firefox 3.5
Image:Fx35-HistorySidebar2.png

Changing the view order

To change how the History sidebar displays visited pages, open the History sidebar and click on View (to the right of the Search box). A drop-down menu will open with the view options listed. You can sort the list of visited pages by Date and Site (as shown above), by Site, by Date, by Most Visited, or by Last Visited.

Selecting history items

Selections without invoking the page can be made within the History display, by clicking to the left of the favicon (webpage icon) in the list.

Adding additional selections - multiple selections

You may then use the keyboard shortcut "Ctrl+A" (use "Cmd+A" on Mac OS) to select all that are shown, or you can add more with Ctrl+click again at the left of another item's favicon, or extend a selection with Shift+click.

For multiple selections, the context menu displays "Open All in Tabs", "Copy", and "Delete". When using "Open All in Tabs" suggest you proceed from a new tab ("Ctrl+T"), as the first item in the selection will load into the active tab.

Deleting history items

You can delete selected History items, which is useful if you want to remove unwanted items or reduce clutter in the Location Bar autocomplete drop-down list (this will not affect your bookmarks).

After selecting the unwanted items, open the context menu (i.e., right-click a selected item) and click "Delete", as shown here for Firefox 3 on Windows (or press the Delete key) to remove them from your browsing history. You can alternately context-click (right-click) on individual items and select "Delete" from the context menu.

Deleting most recent of browsing history, or a time interval of browsing history

Use View menu to sort by "By Last Visited" then select and delete the recent range of activity.

Deleting Google searches from browsing history so not shown in Location bar Autocomplete

Eliminate Google searches "http://www.google.com/search?" from history and then do the same for "http://www.google.com/advanced_search?"

Deleting "404 Not Found" entries from Location Bar autocomplete

Eliminate "404 Not Found" entries by typing that string into the History search box, use "Ctrl+A"(use "Cmd+A" on Mac OS) to select all of results, then use the Delete key to remove.

Clearing the browsing history

If you want to clear all of your browsing history, you can do so in your Firefox options/preferences ("Tools -> Options -> Privacy / Private Data -> Settings") but it might be easier to just bring up the History sidebar, use "Ctrl+A" (use "Cmd+A" on Mac OS) to select all listed items, then press the Delete key.

View History in a tab or window

You can enter the following chrome URL in the Location Bar, to view the History in a tab or window instead of in the History sidebar:

chrome://browser/content/history/history-panel.xul    

Chrome URLs can be bookmarked and used in keyword bookmarks, but can't be used in links.

History, cookies, and like

Firefox has included expanded history here to mean more than your browsing history.

Tools -> Options -> Privacy, controls how long Firefox will retain browsing history, whether it will retain download history, search and form history, and what cookies will be accepted and for how long. You can indicate which items should be cleared when Firefox closes, normally you would not have Firefox remove more than cache entries but you will have to specifically change settings very carefully if you choose to clear history when Firefox closes because the default for clearing is to remove everything. [3]

Tools -> Clear Recent History, this option appears if you choose to clear history when Firefox closes. [4]

Private Browsing

Firefox won't remember any history for this session (Firefox 3.5 and up)

Firefox won't keep any browser history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files. However, files you download and bookmarks you make will be kept.

To stop Private Browsing, select Tools > Stop Private Browsing, or close Firefox.

While your computer won't have a record of your browsing history, your internet service provider or employer can still track pages you visit. [5]


See also

External links

Related bug reports