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Enable pinch and twist gestures in Firefox 4



If you’ve downloaded Firefox 4 to your multitouch Windows tablet and wondered why pinch-to-zoom wasn’t working, it’s not just you. The update has that disabled by default, but a little configuration magic can get it up and running again, as well as a twist gesture to roll between tabs.

To re-enable the gestures, enter “about:config” in your address bar and then click the button saying you promise to be careful. Either scroll down the list or search on “gesture” to whittle it down until you find the “browser.gesture” strings. To enable pinch gestures, change the following values.         cmd_fullZoomReduce   cmd_fullZoomReset
  browser.gesture.pinch.out        cmd_fullZoomEnlarge
  browser.gesture.pinch.out.shift  cmd_fullZoomReset

To enable twist gestures, change these values

  browser.gesture.twist.left       Browser:PrevTab
  browser.gesture.twist.right      Browser:NextTab

The pinch gestures enable the standard Windows zoom functionality (sorry, no silky smooth zooming like in Opera Mobile 11). The twist gestures have been part of Firefox since version 3.5 (I think). Great for jumping tabs while working in fullscreen mode. For best control, I recommend holding your thumb and forefinger like a compass with thumb stationary and finger turning around it. Don’t know why these gestures were disabled by default, but if you missed them, they’re easy enough to restore.

Originally shared by Mac OS X Hints. Twist gesture tip from Lifehacker.



  1. Hozefa KB

    03/24/2011 at 6:57 pm

    how to perform

    • Sumocat

      03/24/2011 at 7:25 pm

      Oh right, that’s a two-finger tap, no pinching. After zooming, that puts the screen back to the normal zoom level (cmd_fullZoomReset).

  2. guest

    03/24/2011 at 10:42 pm

    Great! I was wondering why it wasn’t working anymore.

    I notice that when I try to pinch-zoom on google maps, it resizes the page, not the map (similar for the acrobat reader plugin). Is there a similar trick for getting pinch-zoom to work better in these applications?

    • Sumocat

      03/24/2011 at 11:03 pm

      No, but there is a separate gesture in GM for zoom. Two finger up and down zooms in and out but I forget which is which.

  3. Bigmouth

    03/28/2011 at 6:56 pm

    Wait, is there some way to program Firefox to do the two-finger tap like IE 9?

    • Sumocat

      03/28/2011 at 7:50 pm

      You can set the “shift” commands to do whatever you want, but they only work after pinching in or out. I’m not aware of a separate line for two-finger tap.

  4. Thomas Ramirez

    10/23/2011 at 7:04 am


    do you happen to know what value I have to type to close a tab?

    I want firefox to close the open tab when I twist left and idealy reload when I twist right.

    I just cant find the right values to enter.

  5. Shane Fielder

    07/02/2012 at 11:36 am

    This helped tremendously with my new Samsung slate 7! Thank you for the awesome tips!

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