Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

You are here: Home / Documentation / Firefox / Introduction to Firefox / Introduction to Firefox, part 3, downloads and browsing history

Introduction to Firefox, part 3, downloads and browsing history

Downloads and the download manager

Going to Firefox > Downloads (Firefox button in the upper left corner) will present the download manager.  Downloading any file will also present the download manager, as well as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+Y (⌘+J on Mac).  The download manager looks like this:


Download manager screen


If you look at the screenshot above, the first thing I noticed was the pleasant user interface, good job Mozilla. As you can see it contains two completed downloads, and if you right-click (Ctrl-Click on Mac) on one of the entries it would look something like this:


Right-clicking in download manager


The features in that menu are simple enough, Open to run a downloaded program, or view an image or a video.  If there aren't any applications defined for that file, Firefox will ask you how it should be opened.

Open containing folder will open the folder that the downloaded file resides in, while Copy download link is useful for example if you want to tip a friend about downloading the same file.

On both the images above you can see Clear list and search, useful functions to Clean (clear) up the list, or search if you have a lot of downloaded files and want to find a specific one (and remember a (part) of the name).

The download manager has a bit different look for a file that is being downloaded:


Download manager with downloads in progress


As you can see, the download of the Ubuntu ISO file has remaining type, a progress bar and two buttons, pause and remove.  Pause is useful for example if you downloading something big and someone calls you for a Video chat, and you need the bandwidth for a good picture and sound quality.  :)

If you work a lot with downloads, the Firefox add-on DownThemAll could be interesting to use.  More about using add-ons in a later article.  :)

Browsing history

Firefox has like other browsers a browsing history.  People work in different manners, some more unstructured than others. If you some day get an aha! moment and need to find a site you don't remember, the browsing history is perfect.

Press Ctrl-H (⌘+Shift+H on Mac) and you should get something like this, notice the history "tab" to the left:


Firefox download manager


As you can see, all pages I've visited are listed, and the default order to list in, is in date the pages was visited.  There are some sorting options you can get by clicking on the View button:


Firefox download manager, right click


The sorting options are pretty self-explanatory here as well, it gives some options to look for that page you used but forgot to bookmark.  :)

This is the third article in a series about Firefox, if you have Firefox-related topics you want covered here, let us know. Comments on this article, thumbs up or flames, can be sent to If you need help using Firefox, we recommend using the Firefox forums.

If you know a language or languages besides English and would like to translate these articles, let us know via as well. :)

Onwards to the next article, the use of bookmarks and setting up Firefox Sync. :)