Adblock Plus and the Paste Special Keyboard Shortcut

Adblock Plus

Ads on a lot of websites are out-of-control. My local newspaper’s web site is a good example. There are so many ads on the site that it takes an annoyingly long time to load, even on a 100+ megabits-per-second connection. Not only do the pages load slowly, but some of the ads’ behavior-expanding and contracting by themselves–moves the content on the page around so much that it’s difficult to read the text. I’ve had the ads cause Firefox to hang too, locking it up until the ads finish doing whatever they are trying to do. Then there are the sites with videos configured to auto-run…

I don’t see any way to remain sane without running some kind of ad blocker. I hate to do it, because I know many sites depend on the revenue generated by displaying ads to stay solvent, but without some kind of relief from all the ads, I’m not going to visit the sites anyway.

Adblock Plus comes to the rescue.

Originally created by Wladimir Palant in 2006, Adblock Plus is an open source project. In 2011, Palant, along with Till Faida, founded Eyeo to allow continued development of Adblock Plus.

The Good

In its default configuration, Adblock Plus installs a language-dependent filter and allows some non-intrusive advertising on sites. Without tweaking the default settings at all, Adblock Plus does a fantastic job of blocking obnoxious ads and making the web a better place to be. Pages load much faster. I can even read the articles on my local newspaper’s site again. A toolbar icon makes it easy to disable Adblock Plus on a site-by-site basis, so it’s possible to allow ads on sites you trust, and test those you don’t, then revert easily to blocking the ads if necessary.

There’s Only One Problem

For a developer on a Linux system, there’s only one problem with the 2.7.1 version of Adblock Plus. The developer uses the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+V to display a sidebar of all the objects on a given page that can be blocked.

That particular key combination is the “paste special” keyboard shortcut on Linux KDE and Gnome systems, which allows one to paste clipboard content without formatting, and is an essential for a developer.

The Fix

The fix is easy, and just involves a single edit of the configuration file for Firefox. Here’s how it’s done in Firefox 43.0.x:

  1. Open Firefox and browse to about:config.
  2. You will see the scary “This might void your warranty!” message if you haven’t been in about:config before. Click the “I’ll be careful, I promise!” button to continue.
  3. Type “adblock” in the Search box.
  4. Scroll down until you see the entry “extensions.adblockplus.sidebar_key” in the “Preference Name” column.
  5. Double-click the line to edit the string value. (It’s set to “Accel Shift V, Accel Shift U” by default.)
  6. Delete the “Accel Shift V” so that the sole entry is “Accel Shift U.”
  7. Restart Firefox.