Tweak: Fx 3 Address Bar

One of the biggest changes to Firefox 3 is the Smart Location Bar commonly called the AwesomeBar. You are either going to like it or hate it as it is a major change as to how the address bar behaves in comparison to Firefox 2. I am not going to get into all the technical details as to how the Smart Location Bar works other than to say it displays the results based not only on addresses you have type previously (Firefox 2 behavior) but as well as browser history and bookmarks. For more detailed information on the technical workings and frequency algorithm of the Smart Location Bar see this CyberNet News article.

  • Bar Appearance – One of the first things you will notice is each result is displayed on two lines. The favicon followed by the page title in a larger font on the top line, followed by the URL in green below. In Firefox 2 the results were displayed on one line with the page URL followed by the page title. This new format may be a little easier to read, but takes up more room.
    • Oldbar – You can revert back to the Firefox 2 style by using the oldbar add-on (note this add-on only changes the display of the results, not the method the results are obtained). See Review: Oldbar for more information and samples.
    • Number of Results – By default the Smart Location Bar will display a maximum of 12 results based on what is typed in the address bar. You can increase (or in my case decrease) this number by going to a new tab and typing about:config; (if needed click the “I’ll be careful, I promise” button) filter for browser.urlbar.maxRichResults; double-click on the entry and enter the number of results you would like displayed.
  • Removing History and/or Bookmarks – Again it is important to understand the Smart Location Bar displays the results on not just previously typed URLs but your browser history and bookmarks as well. Note: If you make these changes, the Smart Location Bar will still display results on Bookmarks and History when you start typing in the bar, but then will automatically filter based on your settings once you add a couple more letters.
    • Remove History and Bookmarks– Like Firefox 2, you can setup so that the address bar only displays results based on addresses you have typed. From about:config filter for browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped; double-click on the entry to change it from ‘False’ to ‘True’
    • Remove Unvisited Bookmarks – Your displayed results will still include your bookmarks, but only those you have visited. From about:config filter for places.frecency.unvisitedBookmarkBonus; double-click on the entry and enter ‘0’ (note this is a zero, not an ‘O’). Restart Firefox and clear history.
    • Remove ALL Bookmarks – Your displayed results will only be based on your browser history as well what has already been typed in the Smart Location Bar. With about:config change the following entries to ‘0’ (note this is a zero, not an ‘O’ also be sure to Restart Firefox and clear history after making these changes):
      • places.frecency.unvisitedBookmarkBonus
      • places.frecency.bookmarkVisitBonus

36 Comments on Tweak: Fx 3 Address Bar

    This UserStyle makes your Awesome Bar colorful based on what type of items you are currently displaying.

    Easily Distinguish between Tags, Bookmarks and History items in your Awesome Bar List.

    Features and Functionality:
    + Tags will be Light Yellow
    + Bookmarks will be Blue
    + History items will be Light Green

  2. Wonderful — THANKS!

    Now, how do I fix the address bar so that it “moves” the last visited url to the top of the bar?


    If I visit in that order (with yahoo being first) How can the address bar be set so that (my last visited site) be on top?

  3. Hey, I second that last post by Larry.

    These tips by The Guru worked great. WTF was Firefox thinkin!?!

  4. THANKS!!! I was so annoyed w/ the new address bar. This tweak worked like a dream, even for a layman.

  5. Great guide, thanks for this. I had to immediately change the address bar once I upgraded to Firefox 3 because of how annoying it was. The tip to change the 12 URL limit was helpful also. Thank you.

  6. Some people think that it’s really awesome thogh. I don’t really know what they mean. What are the features, exept that the address bar now is 2 lines instead of 1?

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  9. I’m still having trouble with this and agree with previous posters–this is an idiotic problem on Firefox’s part. I bookmark things not because I go to them frequently but so I can remember them when I want them. The last thing I want is for the address bar drop down to be littered with pages I go to infrequently instead of the ones I use all the time. I’m trying to go through these directions but if it doesn’t work for me–meaning I can’t do it–I’m going to give up Firefox. What’s with these companies acting like Microsoft? Google’s forcing people to make changes, too, with iGoogle, so I stopped using it because it no longer works comfortably with what I do. Grr.
    Thanks for posting this information.

  10. From a security point of view, we have used a few hacks to disable the Awesome Bar on machines which are shared in our organisation.

    Quick explanation below…


  11. this has not worked for me, even after clearing private data after the change, then restarting again.

    Any clues??

    about to uninstall and go back to firefox 2.

  12. council of | February 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM |

    Excellent article very helpful.

    If you don’t like having the drop down of bookmarks in your url (address bar) install Hide Unvisited 3 it is a great plug in so you don’t get the annoying list of your bookmarks as you type.

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  16. cocciastella | March 24, 2009 at 3:20 PM |

    I hate this new release and want to get back to Rel 2. I think it is a lot of busy work to keep the developers excited but of no value to users. I can even use the history at all with all the extra lines. I am trying to get rid of the bookmarks and tags but I can’t seem to do it.

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  25. I bookmarked this link . Thank you for good job !

  26. would be excellent, except i dont have browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped by about:config

  27. Ashanti Kakeh | December 3, 2010 at 7:50 AM |

    When I view your RSS feed it gives me a bunch of weird text, is the malfunction on my end?

  28. An interesting concept this. I am 1 of those folks whom tend to wait for things to mature prior to taking action but in this case I’m mindful that inaction leads to only failures so I will heed your comments and begin to do some thing about it.

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