How to enable smooth scrolling in Firefox

Firefox has been my go-to browser for as long as I can remember. Sure, there have been periods where the open-source web browser collapsed from bloat and security issues, but for the past five or so years, Firefox has been as rock solid a web browser as you can find. It’s fast, secure, and cross-platform.

But, also for as long as I can remember, Firefox has suffered from a rather frustrating issue: poor scrolling (especially on Linux). Instead of enjoying the buttery smooth scrolling you find on other browsers, it stutters its way up and down web pages. Needless to say, that can get frustrating. Even worse, after hours in a web browser, it can become quite tiresome for the eyes.

For those reasons, I finally sought out the means to smooth the scrolling in the Firefox browser. Fortunately, a developer created an extension that vastly improves this issue. The add-on not only smooths out the scrolling, but it also allows you to customize the step size, smoothness, acceleration sensitivity, and acceleration by travel distance for both the keyboard (using your cursor keys) and for the mouse wheel. You can create a smooth scrolling profile for each (cursor keys and mouse wheel) to make the scrolling in Firefox perfectly fit your needs.

Let’s get this extension installed and customized.

How to enable smooth scrolling in Firefox

1. Open Firefox

The first thing to do is to open your Firefox web browser.

2. Access the extension

You can click on the Firefox Menu and then select Add-ons and themes. In the resulting window (Figure 1), type “Yet another smooth scrolling” in the search bar.

Figure 1

Screenshot of the Firefox extension page search tool

The Firefox extensions page is where you manage your add-ons and themes.

Image: Jack Wallen

3. Install the extension

Click on the entry titled Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE and then click Add to Firefox (Figure 2).

Figure 2

Screenshot of the Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE install window

Adding Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE to Firefox.

Image: Jack Wallen

When prompted (Figure 3), click Add and the installation will complete.

Figure 3

Screenshot of the Firefox add prompt for installing extensions

The installation of Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE is almost complete.

Image: Jack Wallen

Once the installation finishes, you’ll notice a tiny steering wheel icon in the upper right corner of Firefox (Figure 4), indicating the add-on has been added.

Figure 4

Screenshot of the Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE icon

The Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE icon in the Firefox toolbar.

Image: Jack Wallen

You should already notice a marked improvement in Firefox’s scrolling. Give it a try, and see if scrolling is better than it was before. In my experience, this extension smooths out Firefox scrolling (even on Linux) to almost macOS-level smoothness.

Personalizing the smoothness

If you find the default settings aren’t smooth enough, click the icon in the toolbar and then click Preferences. In the resulting window (Figure 5), you can configure several options.

Figure 5

Screenshot of the Yet Another Smooth Scrolling WE Preferences window

There are plenty of options to configure for the extension.

Image: Jack Wallen

in the Preferences window, you can configure the following options:

  • Step size (number of pixels scrolled by a single push)

  • Smoothness Forepart (break level in the forepart of a movement)

  • Smoothness (Fade level at the end of a movement)

  • Acceleration scale (Scaling factor for an event caused by a key repeat)

  • Where to use smooth scrolling (with arrow keys, page up/down keys, home/end keys)

  • bouncy edge

You can even create a list of URLs that are to be exempted from the smooth scrolling (in case you find a particular site that doesn’t work well with the add-on). There are also three different presets you can choose from: Blue (slowest), Green (smoothest), and Red (fastest). Select one of those presets to see if one fits your needs before updating other options.

Adjust the sliders for the different smoothness settings until scrolling is to your preference. I found the default settings pretty spot on (using the Green preset). Give this add-on a try, and see how it improves your scrolling in the Firefox open-source web browser.

Jack Wallen: Here’s how to…

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