Get Back your Screen Space: Maximize Firefox Viewing Area

Last week, I was hunting around for a few extensions that may help me gain some more viewing space in Firefox. I have a few toolbars and around ten extensions installed whose configurations and buttons seemed to have loaded up the interface with a lot of junk. Moreover, I don’t really use the default options and buttons presently in the Firefox window that much. So I wanted to hide them and make my browsing a better experience.

firefox viewing area   Get Back your Screen Space: Maximize Firefox Viewing Area
For the same setup you need addons 1, 2, and 5. Then go to customize and move everything (i.e. navigation and SU toolbar) to the top.

Here are a few tweaks and extensions to help gaining more space for viewing websites in Firefox:

1. Smaller Icons

Do you really need icons in their biggest size? Right-click on those navigation buttons, click ‘Customize’ and check ‘Use Small Icons’ at the bottom. Smaller Icons. Space gained.

2. TinyMenu

tiny menu firefox   Get Back your Screen Space: Maximize Firefox Viewing Area

Install this addon from here. It shrinks the entire menu bar to a small rectangular box or image. It doesn’t work in Mac, though.

3. Hide Menu Bar

hidemenubar   Get Back your Screen Space: Maximize Firefox Viewing Area

This hides the Menu bar completely. You end up gaining a good amount of screen space. To access the menus just hold down the ALT key. Download here.

4. Hide Tab Bar

This addon hides the tab bar. You can toggle the tab bar display via selected keyboard shortcut. Extremely useful if you work with lot of tabs. Download it here.

5. Vertigo

We already mentioned Vertigo in ‘Firefox Addons to Manage a Tab Jam‘. Vertigo will gain you additional only if you have a 20″ or bigger widescreen monitor. Basically it makes the tab bar vertical. Checkit out below.

vertical tabs   Get Back your Screen Space: Maximize Firefox Viewing Area

6. FullerScreen

The standard Full Screen mode in Firefox (press F11) could be better – even when you’re in full screen mode, most of the buttons and the tab bar are still there. Get the ‘real’ full screen experience with FullerScreen – download IT here. Upon operation, you can view the site in your entire screen – the tab bar and other buttons are auto-hidden.

7. MiniFirefox

Claims to hide all the toolbars and keep only 3 basic navigation buttons visible. Download here. Hoever, the extension didn’t hide a few elements like it said when I tried it (for instance – it didn’t hide the StumbleUpon toolbar in my Firefox window)

8. Firefox UI Tweaker

This brilliant extension for Firefox lets you do a myriad of little things. Some things it’s capable of include :

  • Combine a few buttons on the toolbar
  • Auto-hide the search bar
  • Remove a few icons in Full Screen Mode

More listed in this addon page from where you can download it.

9. Little Fox

If you have too many things on your Firefox then this addon is for you. It revamps the Firefox theme and makes the elements smaller. Download it from here, install it, activate the Little Fox theme, restart and see the amount of screen space gained. It makes everything on your Firefox smaller. May not be pleasing to the eyes, but definitely does its job well.

10. Toolbar Tweaks

In MUO, we’ve already discussed merging buttons on your Firefox toolbar. Check out the article here. I’m sure you can implement this easily and eliminate unwanted buttons that clutter the toolbar area.

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32 Comments -

TechPavan

nice tips….

Dito Amero

Quite amazing how much screen space you squeezed out of firefox.
It is a bit less than you can do in Opera, but still very promising to try out.

Thank you for the tips !

Mahesh

Good Work shankar!

BlogsOfSteel

Thanks for the tips!
I have been using the Tree Style Tabs for a couple of weeks and really like the way it manages my tabs and keeps them off screen until needed. It has lots of configuration options to suit your taste.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5890

And I couldn’t live without HyperWords the ultra handy all-in-one search tool in a small package. You don’t need a search toolbar at all, just right click on highlighted text. Lots of configuration options too.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1941

Funny how the bigger our monitors get the more we want to view!

Abdullah Cetin CAVDAR

Hi Shankar,
Very nice tips. I have only one toolbar full of small icons. I liked it. :D
Thanks a lot.

Jeton

You could also include MenuX in that list which enables you to remove the chrome and add a Minimize and close button on the left, and has a Menu icon, Removing the Menu toolbar.
You’ll actually need only one extension instead of 3…
Here’s the link to the extensions http://www.markbokil.org/index.php?section=mozilla&content=c_menux.php

And here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:
http://www.box.net/shared/5dt6hnbwgk

Mark O’Neill

This has always been a pet obsession of mine – to have a minimal Firefox browser. Indeed I have written MUO articles on it. But here’s a quick summary of what I have done :

1. Use “Menu Editor” – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/710 – using this add-on, I removed menu options that were not necessary to me and I consolidated everything else into the Bookmarks. I was also able to tidy up the right-click menu.

2. Look at the icons on the toolbar. If there is a keyboard shortcut that achieves the same thing, ditch the toolbar icon. For example, did you know the Stumbleupon buttons have their own keyboard shortcuts? You don’t need to have the Stumble button and those thumbs on your browser.

3. If you have a search engine sitting on your browser as a toolbar, try and see if there is a Firefox equivalent in Mycroft – http://mycroft.mozdev.org/ – then ditch the other one.

4. A lot of features install themselves both onto your browser AND into your right-click menu. If that’s the case, remove them from the browser and use the right-click function instead.

5. Try to move everything onto the same bar in the browser. Things can be dragged with the mouse. I have everything on one bar and the rest have been disabled. Very Zen-like.

Haricharan

There are a couple more I would like to add to the list

1. Compact Menu
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4550

2. disable Menu – This one is cool. It has an autohide option too.
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3300

Bill

Smart Bookmarks Bar reduces bookmarks spacing and auto hides the bookmarks bar
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/4072

Soham Ghosh

Try personal menu instead of tiny menu. Does exactly the same thing as tiny menu but allows you to customize menu with the most used commands etc on top

Frank J

Microfox is the smallest
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/354
with this theme and using the bookmarks toolbar ( I know, defeats the purpose) I have 60 mini icons across the toolbar for quick access to my favorite sites. Drag and drop the icon, right click description and delete text. 99% are easily recognized without text, tho not quite sure what the little blue & red one is for this site!.

Sumesh

Nice tips, I’m heading over to Vertigo, Hide menubar and tabbar.

How about linking directly to Vertigo extension? Its not nice to have to click through to another post to find the addon page(Googling would require an additional page load too). Its like TechCrunch linking to Crunchbase info rather than directly to a site. Sucks.

Aibek

Since I added this one myself I will reply to it. That was unintentional, I simply forgot to add the link. Both you and I know that we usually link services directly, even if it was covered in MUO directory. ;-)

Codyp

Just wondering, how small is all of your screens to really need do all this? I mean i understand making a minimilist version, but you make it sound like your using 800 x 600 screens.

Aibek

I have a 24″ inch screen here. I already have a decent viewing area but minimalist version makes it a lot cooler.

Joshua

One of my favorites: combine the Stop and Reload buttons. Sure, it only saves one icon worth of space, but it’s worth it.

See here. And it only requires a couple of lines in the userChrome.

tom

Why not just hit F-11????

Me

Well, I can’t speak for others, but my issue is that I window things because I don’t have a panel and my clock and system monitor are there [in the bottom right corner] so I want them visible.

Also, it’s obvious that I’m a bit minimalistic (no panel/tray/etc) and these are great hints.

Jonathan Temple

I’ve had my firefox customized in a similar manner for quite some time. I’ve chosen to take it to an even further level, however. I removed all toolbars and menus using some of the extensions mentioned above, and used keyconfig to set up keyboard shortcuts for everything I needed to do that removing the menus and toolbars took away. The only downside to doing this is that it makes your browser very confusing for people who don’t know about it to use, because when it opens up it just looks like a blank window.

K-IntheHouse

Great tips, Shankar! This is a favorite obsession of mine to get the maximum viewing area out of Firefox. I would like to add FullerScreen, which gives you tab access while in Full screen mode. Very useful when you don’t want to get distracted from other tabs or if you are on a web application like Gmail or GReader where you’d hardly need the navigation buttons.

Sumguy21

miniFoxFlat is THE smallest Firefox theme I have found. It’s smaller than littlefox by quite a bit and even smaller than Microfox. It hasn’t been updated in a while though, and isn’t available for Firefox 3.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1202

Kryptos

I don’t get it. Why bother will all this? Right click the top area, untick the Navigation Toolbar and hit F11. Done, nothing left but a measly scroll bar (which won’t save you much space unless you run on something less than 17 inches.

Shantanu Oak

I) I always follow what you have advised in the tip 1.
>> Right-click on navigation buttons, click ‘Customize’ and check ‘Use Small Icons’.

II) I will like to add what Mark O’Neill has mentioned in his fifth point.
>> 5. Try to move everything onto the same bar in the browser. Things can be dragged with the mouse.

a) Right-click on those navigation buttons, click ‘Customize’. Drag and drop the bookmarks toolbar next to menu bar. Click on Done. Right-click on the navigation bar again and uncheck bookmarks toolbar to save space.

b) You can create folders on the bookmarks toolbar by right-clicking and choosing ‘New Folder…’ option. I can now group my favorites in these folders and open them at once using “Open all in tabs” option.

III) The only problem with F11 is that there is no shortcut for the menu View – Style – No Style, the one that I use the most!

Johan

Another usefull extension:

autoHideStatusbar
http://caspar.regis.free.fr/ahs/

This (obviously) hides the status bar, except when:
-a page is loading,
-or when you hover a link.

Soumyadip

Yup, simply hit F11.

Matt

Thanks for sharing the great tips. It’s a shame TinyMenu doesn’t work on the Mac, I’d really like a function like that for Firefox on my Macbook Pro.

Manny Hernandez

Great tips! I shared them with my readers at:
http://manuelhp42.blogspot.com/2008/03/useful-firefox-add-ons-to-gain-space.html

Also, I thought I’d add Tab Mix Plus to the list of add-ons in here. Very useful for stacked tab browsing, highlighting the current tab, etc.

Oscar

I downloaded #4 above, Hide Tab Bar. But there are no directions for how to use it. It says there is a keyboard shortcut, but how do you find out what it is?

Grant

I simple tip that I use every time with a new firefox installation is to move the “bookmarks toolbar items” from the bookmarks toolbar to above the address bar, then hide the bookmarks toolbar.

huckle

Your firefox is positively cluttered compared to mine – I have removed EVERYTHING except the address bar, and moved that onto the menu bar. I have hidden the navigation bar and the bookmarks toolbar. I use tiny menu to hide all the menus themselves.

I hide my statusbar with stylish and userstyles.org/styles/1515

I do use the stumbleupon toolbar but that can’t be hidden or anything so yeah, I am as minimal as it gets. Oh, and tabs i leave in the default tab bar – it’s pretty slisk already.

Raman

I use the autohide extension found at this site for saving my screenspace krickelkrackel.de/autohide/autohide.htm

RanMan

Raman, I agree. Autohide is the way to go. My setup basically has the tabs-only showing until I hover over the toolbar that I can have as many items (toolbars) as I like. It doesn’t matter how thick the toolbars are because they are unseen until you want to see them This is especially helpful when using a laptop with 15 screen.