Epiphany – a couple of tips

Epiphany 2.20

These tips are for Epiphany 2.20 that uses the Gecko engine 1.8 (same as Firefox 2).

Epiphany provides speed increases in a good number of areas as related to Firefox by using the native GTK framework of Gnome over the Mozilla toolkit. Though lacking as many feature as the MTK all the necessary parts for basic browsing are there.

Add Search Engines to the location bar.

Previously I had always visited AltaVista, sometimes Yahoo and had to type in a search. Firefox added a nice ability to be able to search directly from the toolbar. By default Epiphany can do this too but Epiphany uses Google which isn’t always useful.

Epiphany, I discovered has the ability to add other search engines, and a pretty good number of them too. They are called smartbookmarks and they are easy to add. The Epiphany website talks about them. On the bottom of the page is a link to already built smarkbookmarks. Even has some gentoo ones though located oddly in the Software Section.

And a couple more.

Change Default Search Engine

Type “about:config” in the location bar and enter “keyword.URL”. Now change the string to the match the search engine to use. For example, I use AltaVista: http://www.altavista.com/web/results?q=

The google url is:


if ever a need to return it.

Check Spelling

Epiphany doesn’t check spelling by default, but this is easy to change. If Epiphany has the USE flag “spell” enabled then spelling just needs to be enabled in epiphany’s preferences.

To see Epiphany’s preferences type “about:config” in the location bar. In the filter bar locate all the “spell” entries. Now just enable spell checking and select the language dictionary:

Epiphany check spelling


Though providing speed increases in most areas, Epiphany fails at doing this for history. You’ll find that a large history can slowdown typing in the location bar and can take a long time to load the history browser. Unfortunately there is no easy way to change the number of history links. For the History Browser, it can help to load the browser quicker by lowering the search threshold from ten days to say two days.

If you want to limit the number of history links, Epiphany needs to be recompiled.

For Gentoo, locate the epiphany tar ball in /usr/portage/distfiles, and unpack it edit the history file,
cd /usr/portage/distfiles
sudo tar -xf epiphany-2.20.3.tar.bz2 -C .
cd epiphany/embed *
sudo vim ephy-history.c

epi history before

epi history after

Re-tar the folder. The file size will be slightly different and portage is picky about file sizes, so the manifest will need to be rebuilt, then re-emerge epiphany.
sudo tar -cvjf epiphany-2.20.3.tar.bz2 epiphany-2.20.3
sudo ebuild /usr/portage/www-client/epiphany/epiphany-2.20.3.ebuild digest
sudo emerge epiphany

Multi-task Better

The Gecko engine provides almost all the computers resources into loading a single page. This means that pages loaded in the background can make it difficult to scroll the current tab or window being read.

Type “about:config” in location bar. Right click and add a new entry. Add the preference name “content.switch.threshold” and set ito an integer value of 1000000.


About Gen2ly

<3's linux

Posted on 2008-01-10, in Linux. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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