ABOUT:CONFIG for Firefox

The following are the “core” add-ons and about:config settings for using Firefox with speech recognition and/or the keyboard. I mentioned them in various posts, but thought it would be a good idea to have them in one place.

If you don’t want to use about:config, the go-to add-on for accessing links and fields is Mouseless Browsing. For ways to tweak its behavior a little bit, see Opening links in new tabs and Bypassing text fields.

However, you can make Firefox a lot more flexible and/or efficient by using about:config and changing the accessibility entries there. To access about:config, enter that term in the address bar and go there. Ignore the message about voiding the warranty – it’s programmer humor. You will then see a long list of entries and values. Here are the most relevant ones.

Accessibility.tabfocus allows you to specify where the blinking cursor goes when you press the Tab key. To change the value, press Shift F10 or right-click and choose Modify. 1 to 3 will cycle through drop downs, text fields, buttons, and checkboxes in the order in which they appear. 4 and above will focus everything, including links and images – what Tab would do normally, in other words.

Accessibility.typeaheadfind highlights text on the page as you say, spell, or type it. Press Enter or double-click to set it to true.

Accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly will focus links as you say, spell, or type part of the link word. You can then say “Go there” or “Press Enter.” Press Enter or double-click to set it to true. In order for this to function, accessibility.typeaheadfind must also be set to true. You can also press the apostrophe for temporary use. To open links in new tabs this way, press Control Enter.

Accessibility.typeaheadfind.timeout will allow you to adjust the time the Find bar stays visible. Press Shift F10 or right-click and choose Modify.

intl.enable_tsf_support may enable Windows Speech Recognition users to dictate to some extent. Press Enter or double-click to set to true.

For other Firefox accessibility enhancements, see the Firefox tag.

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