Add More Options To Firefox Quicklist

The default Unity launcher quicklist for Firefox could certainly do with a few additional options. It’s easy to add a few more.

This tip I got from AskUbuntu. There are more quicklist tips available and you can read it at this page – http://askubuntu.com/questions/35488/list-of-custom-launchers-quicklists-for-unity. I only wanted to add a few more useful options than the ones given.

The tip at AskUbuntu only included Safe Mode and Profile Manager. These two options I almost never use. I haven’t even used Profile Manager since the Mozilla days back when Firefox was still not an option. What was the name of that old browser from Mozilla again? It wasn’t Netscape, I didn’t use that. There was one in between Netscape and Firefox.

Anyway, how to add an option to the list is simple and straightforward if you know the right commands. First I wanted to add a New Tab option. Second is open Preferences option. Lastly, instead of safe mode, maybe it’s better if it was Private Mode instead. A.k.a “Start Private Browsing”, which can also be found under the Tools menu.

I’d tell you to find the whole procedure of doing this in that AskUbuntu link above. But what the heck, I’ll just repeat the steps here.

1. Copy your original .desktop file into your home directory for editing:

cp /usr/share/applications/firefox.desktop ~/.local/share/applications

2. Open in gedit:

gedit ~/.local/share/applications/firefox.desktop

3. Find and edit the following line:

X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=NewWindow;
to
X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=NewTab;NewWindow;PrivateBrowsing;SafeMode;ProfileManager;Preferences;

4. Add this text to .desktop, then save the file. Normally the entries below will follow the X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts line above.

[NewTab Shortcut Group]
Name=Open a New Tab
Exec=firefox -new-tab about:home
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[NewWindow Shortcut Group]
Name=Open a New Window
Exec=firefox -new-window about:blank
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[PrivateBrowsing Shortcut Group]
Name=Open Firefox in Private mode
Exec=firefox -private
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[SafeMode Shortcut Group]
Name=Open Firefox in Safe mode
Exec=firefox -safe-mode
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[ProfileManager Shortcut Group]
Name=Firefox Profile Manager
Exec=firefox -ProfileManager
TargetEnvironment=Unity

[Preferences Shortcut Group]
Name=Firefox Preferences
Exec=firefox -preferences
TargetEnvironment=Unity

Under step #3 the ones in orange highlights is what I’ve added. The yellow are from AskUbuntu. For step #4, notice how the shortcut groups are in bold (mine) and yellow highlights (AskUbuntu).

If you want to add everything, do the entire steps 1-4 above. If not, pick any of those options and make sure the entry at steps #3 and #4 are edited to match each other.

Note: [NewWindow Shortcut Group] will contain other languages by default so don’t get confused why it doesn’t look the same above. Just leave it as is and only copy/paste what is not already there yet (the ones in bold and yellow highlights). In other words, skip the [NewWindow Shortcut Group] entry as shown in step  #4 above because it is already originally in the .desktop file.


You can add your own options (at your own risk) too. There is a complete list of Firefox commands at this page. It’s really simple. Just make sure that in step #3 you have an entry to match what is defined in step #4. The ordering of the items must be the same for both #3 and #4.

Let us say you wanted to add option FOO. What to do?

X-Ayatana-Desktop-Shortcuts=NewWindow;Foo;

[NewWindow Shortcut Group]

BLaH BLaH BLaH

[Foo Shortcut Group]
Name=Firefox Foobar
Exec=firefox -foobar
TargetEnvironment=Unity

* Oh before I forget, the changes you’ve made here will not reflect immediately. Remove Firefox from the launcher and add it again. You can do this by dragging the firefox.desktop file you just edited to the launcher. If you encounter an issue afterwards where the Firefox icon will not reflect that it’s running, re-login and it should be fine.

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