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Firefox Tweak Guide

November 9th, 2007 · No Comments · Personal

Transposed from Gaiiden’s Scroll

I mentioned in an earlier entry doing a little piece on slimming down Firefox. All the things I’ve done have been taken from the site Lifehacker, so if you don’t check it daily you should because it’s an awesome blog. If you’re a fan of Firefox and use it daily and love to squeeze every spare pixel of screen real estate from your monitor and slim down the UI, then I’ve got just the stuff for you. Let’s start by looking at my daily view as seen through Firefox

This is as close to a completely functional Full Screen view (F11) you can come – at least so far as I’ve found. A number of chrome, extension, and about:config tweaks have brought me this far. Let’s tackle em one by one.

First Tip: Whoops, before I start with the rest, the very first thing you should do to slim down your interface (unless you’re blind as a bat) is to go into view->toolbars->customize and check the Use Small Icons box.


There are several lines of code you can add to the userChrome.css to enable some really cool features. This file is located in C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[default]\chrome under Windows XP. Here are the tweaks I’ve applied:

 * Eliminate the throbber and its annoying movement:
 #throbber-box {
   display: none !important;

This gets rid of the “throbber”, or the dotted circle that appears to the right of the search bar when you’re loading a page

 /* Remove Back button when there's nothing to go Back to */
#back-button[disabled="true"] { display: none; }

/* Remove Forward button when there's nothing to go Forward to */
#forward-button[disabled="true"] { display: none; } 

This is a nifty way to reduce clutter on your Navigation Toolbar. When you first load Firefox you’ll see no arrows. Load a new page and you’ll see a Back button. Load another new page, then go back to the original page and all the sudden you have a Forward button too. Go Forward and the button will disappear leaving just the Back button.

/*Remove magnifying glass button from search box*/
.search-go-button-stack { display: none !important; } 

Another de-clutter for your Navigation Toolbar – why bother have a magnifying glass to click on and initiate a search when pressing Enter after you finish typing is so much easier? Don’t feel like a granny. Kill it.

/* Disable "List all Tabs" Button */
.tabs-alltabs-button {
display: none !important;

/* Disable Container box for "List all Tabs" Button */
.tabs-alltabs-box {
display: none !important;

If you never use this feature, might as well get rid of it.

/* Pop-up bookmarks toolbar */ #PersonalToolbar {display: none;} 
#navigator-toolbox:hover > #PersonalToolbar {display: -moz-box;}

Here’s another space saver. If you use your Bookmarks Toolbar instead of the sidebar, this tweak hides it from view until you mouse over the Navigation Toolbar. I have to admit it can be a little annoying at first, and even after that it takes some getting used to. Some people may find it more trouble than it’s worth as accidentally mousing over the Nav bar will cause it to pop up but it’s worth a shot at trying it out


To access this, simply type in about:config to the address bar and hit enter. There are just a few UI tweaks you can use to de-clutter things some more. Type in the bolded property in the Filter box to find and modify it.

  • browser.tabs.closeButtons – use a value of 3 to revert back to Firefox 1.5 default tab behavior, or if you use the middle mouse button to close tabs, set it to 2 to disable tab close buttons completely. Setting it to 0 shows a close button only on the active tab
  • browser.urlbar.hideGoButton – set this to true to get rid of that green Go button, which is as useless as the search magnifying glass if you’re a true power user (think Enter key)


The last frontier, extensions can be found here. The ones you’ll want to further streamline your UI are:

  • FaviconizeTab – Don’t let a browser full of tabs make you have to scroll left and right. Minimize the tabs you aren’t actively using down to their favicon.

  • Organize Status Bar – If you have lots of stuff filling your status bar or potentially filling your status bar if not everything’s always showing at once, then this extension will help make sure you see things in an order that makes sense to you
  • Personal Menu – This extension saves valuable space by letting you hide your Menu Toolbar and use a Navigation Toolbar button instead. Even better, you can customize it to show only the menus and menu items that you need.

  • Searchbar Autosizer – In case you ever deal with long URLs often, give yourself as much room as possible by keeping the search bar as small as possible, which is what this extension does until you start typing.

  • Stop-or-Reload Button – Combines these mutually exclusive buttons into one. Pure genius. You never need a Stop button until you load/reload a page, so why bother seeing it until you do?

The End

Well that’s the full story right there. All these tweaks and add-ons will help to increase your useable browsing space and decrease the clutter in your browser to make things easier to find, access and control. Hey is there any better way to live?

Thanks goes out to Gina Trapani over at Lifehacker, all the tips and extensions you see up above I’ve found through her and the blog. Here are some posts from Lifehacker that cover what I described above for chrome and about:config but more than just interface tweaks:


If you have your own interface tweaks or extensions you like, please share! Hope you found this useful.

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