I've just came from a Windows system (in fact, I'm dual booting Ubuntu 12.04 and Win7), and in my Firefox installation back then, when I pressed the middle mouse button (mouse wheel), it displayed a circle that I could move the pointer away from to navigate around the page in a 2-dimensional scrolling. In Ubuntu's Firefox, I don't see this behaviour. Is there a way to enable this feature? I beleive it would require a different version of Firefox, because when I search middle in about:config, ot only has


I'm using the canonical release 23.0, by the way.

EDIT: Downloaded a clean install from firefox.com and nothing changed. Maybe it's a system bug?

2 Answers 2


The function you describe is called 'autoscroll' and it's an option you can enable in Firefox. Check the preferences menu, it's in there.

  • Wow, thanks! Strange that this setting didn't sync from my Windows install of Firefox...
    – Kroltan
    Aug 11, 2013 at 22:20
  • 4
    @Kroltan I'm a bit late, but the reason that it didn't sync is because it was at its default on Windows. if you had explicitly set the option, then it would have sync'd.
    – strugee
    Nov 21, 2013 at 5:49

It's not a system bug, just one of the ways things are different on Ubuntu (and Linux in general) compared to Windows. Middle-click is used to paste from the xclipboard -- this is distinct from the Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V clipboard you are probably used to. Any text you highlight with your mouse will be available to paste by middle-clicking.

This may not sound useful at first, but it really is -- middle-click paste is one of those small things that I really miss when I have to use Windows.

This is handled by Ubuntu rather than any individual program, so using a different version of Firefox won't help you. I'm sure it is possible to enable the behaviour you're describing, but it would probably be quiet a lot of effort.

  • Oh, what a shame... I would make much better use of a scroll-ball. Thanks for clarifying.
    – Kroltan
    Aug 11, 2013 at 21:39

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