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In Firefox 3, the Location Bar received a number of improvements. Among those improvements was the move to a XUL richlistbox widget for the auto-complete dropdown. This allowed styled URL/title information, favicons, and highlighted match information. Typing in the Location Bar will now search not only URLs, but page titles, bookmark names, and tags.

Due to the amount of information available when searching those sources, it’s easy to come across cases where typed text will match useless items (e.g., typing “ebay” might bring up a match for “thepiratebay”). To address this, word boundaries are taken into account when searching for matches, making text that matches against the start of a word rank higher than text matching inside a word (e.g., “eb” matching “ebay” over “website”).

This preference determines how to use word boundaries when searching for items in the Location Bar.

Possible values and their effects


Search anywhere within available text, irrespective of word boundaries.


Use word boundaries first when searching, then try matching anywhere in the text. (Default)


Use only word boundaries when searching for typed text in the Location Bar autocomplete.


Match only the beginning of page URLs and titles.

First checked in

2008-04-23 by Edward Lee

Has an effect in

  • Firefox (nightly builds since 2008-04-23)
    • The value 3 only works in builds since 2008-08-25
  • SeaMonkey 2

Related bugs

Related preferences