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Why Firefox Rocks: Great Firefox Tricks, Part IV

The Plague of Ridiculously Long URLs

  • November 20, 2008
  • By Akkana Peck

Today I have a useful tip that used to be enabled only on Linux, but now is available for everyone.

Have you ever had somebody send you a URL to a web site, only it's so long that the mail system has broken it into several lines? I see these on mailing lists all the time -- always followed by a barrage of followups. "I tried to click on it but I just got a Not Found page!" "It didn't work for me either." "Oh, sorry -- here, I'm trying again." "No, still doesn't work." "Why don't you use TinyURL for it?"

I see that happen all the time -- particularly on mailing lists full of Apple Mail and Outlook users, the two mailers most notorious for breaking long URLs. It always makes me laugh -- as a Firefox user, I'm immune to this problem. Even if a URL spans three or four lines, it's no problem in Firefox.

To demonstrate, here's a URL split across three lines. Note that it's just text, not a link:

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&om=1&t=h&
ll=45.123694,-123.113834&geocode=&q=&spn=0.
004474,0.010976&z=17

What do you do with something like that? You can play a game of "pin the tail on the URL", painstakingly assembling the long line piece by piece in the URLbar. Don't accidentally add any spaces! But in Firefox you don't need to do anything of the sort.

Just highlight all of the lines lines with your mouse, from the beginning of the first line to the end of the last. Then (as in the last Firefox Tricks article) move your mouse to Firefox's content area -- make sure it's not over a link -- and press your middle mouse button. Voil´┐Ż! Firefox pieces together the pieces of the URL and loads it.
Another mystery revealed! Now I know why a new tab or page opens when I accidentally middle-click in the middle of a Web page, and have a URL in the copy/paste buffer--editor

If you want to open it in a new tab (so you can continue reading this article!) that's just as easy: Control-middleclick will do it. Or drag the selected text to the tab bar: dropping it over an existing tab will open it there, otherwise you'll get a new tab.

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