Going Vertical – Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

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vertical bar 300   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]I love Firefox. Yes, it’s not perfect, I’ll admit to that in a heartbeat, but for me, it’s almost everything I want from a browser. One thing that does bother me though, is its slight tendency for clutter. Take, for example, the default orange settings button.  It’s big, it’s ugly, and it takes way too much space. Luckily, there are simple add-ons that take care of this menace and help me keep my Firefox window cleaner and clutter-free.

The problem with trying to get rid of clutter is that it never ends. You get rid of one thing, and suddenly things you’ve never noticed before seem like clutter too. Sounds familiar? If so, there’s one clutter-freeing add-on you have to check out – Vertical Toolbar. What does this add-on do? You’ve guessed it. Vertical Toolbar adds a nice, thin, minimalistic vertical toolbar to your Firefox window, to which you can promptly transfer all those annoying buttons that take so much valuable space up on top.

Going Vertical

By default, this is what your typical Firefox window would look like:

vertical toolbar 1   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

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OK, maybe it’s not that terrible, especially if you do away with that huge orange button like I did, but it sure can look better. After installing Vertical Toolbar, you’ll have the tools to take this matter into your own hands, without losing access to buttons you need to use often. This is what Vertical Toolbar looks like before you start tweaking it:

vertical toolbar 2   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

I’ve reduced the window size in order to take the above screenshot so you can clearly see the default buttons. Included among them are a history button, a  view add-ons button, a work offline button, a fullscreen toggle and more.

Before you start adding and removing buttons, take a few minutes to customize the toolbar itself. Do you want it to appear on the left or the right side? Should it take the sidebar with it? Should it always show, or auto-hide when you’re not using it? Are these small icons enough for you, or do you prefer bigger text buttons?

vertical toolbar   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

If you’re not sure what the “With sidebar” option means, just try checking it with a sidebar app open. If you do that, the vertical toolbar will migrate to the right side of your screen, taking your sidebar along for the ride. This is an easy way to move your sidebar to the right, in case you’ve always dreamed of doing so.

vertical toolbar 3   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

Getting Rid Of Clutter

Now that you have your vertical toolbar, its time to transfer all your unnecessary clutter over to it and free up some window space. To add and remove buttons from the toolbar, right-click the toolbar and choose “Customize…”. You can now use Firefox’s native Customize Toolbar window to drag buttons to and off the toolbar.

vertical toolbar 5   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

You can also drag existing buttons from your top toolbar and place them on the vertical toolbar instead. When you drag buttons onto the toolbar, look for the small black indicator that tells you where your button will be placed. The indicator is a little sneaky at times, but it’s the only way to make sure your button will be placed where you want it.

Vertical Toolbar also comes with several useful buttons of its own – ones you won’t find on Firefox by default. These include a toggle for private browsing, a view page source button, a print preview button and a Web console toggle, among other things.

vertical toolbar buttons   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

This way, you can have more options than ever before right at your fingertips, and still enjoy a minimalistic and clutter-free browsing window.

vertical toolbar 6   Going Vertical   Free Your Browser Window From Clutter With Vertical Toolbar [Firefox]

Multiple Windows & Multiple Monitors

I work regularly with two monitors, and at least two Firefox windows open at any given time. If you have similar work habits, there are several things you should know about Vertical Toolbar. The first is that it doesn’t play very nice with multiple monitors. How so? If you want the toolbar to auto-hide when you’re not using it, you naturally also want it to auto-show when you do want to use it. This is a challenge when using dual monitors with an extended desktop. The toolbar appears just fine when it’s on the edge of your desktop, but if it has to appear on the side between your two monitors, it usually doesn’t.

If you work on it, you can master the exact mouse movement needed to make it appear and stay there, but it’s not very intuitive. To overcome this problem, you can set the toolbar to always show.

The second thing to note is that any change you make to the toolbar, be it in the options or buttons, will not take effect in any of the other open windows. At first I thought this was a feature – you can have separate toolbars for each window! But then I realized this is just a bug. Restarting Firefox will get all your windows back to the same configuration.

Conclusion

Vertical Toolbar is an excellent way to get rid of clutter, and if you’re using a small monitor, it will definitely free up some toolbar room and leave more space for what’s really important. The additional buttons that come with Vertical Toolbar are also pretty neat, especially if you need to access page source, the Web console or work offline often.

While it’s not completely bug-free, I can’t in all honesty find anything really bad to say about it. The only thing its sorely missing is the ability to add bookmarks and bookmarklets, and do away with the pesky bookmarks toolbar as well.

What do you use to get rid of browser clutter? Do you know of other add-ons similar to Vertical Toolbar? Tell us all about it in the comments!

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20 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Henry Le

This is really a good add-on to firefox before i’m very use to having my Start Menu, in Windows 7, on my right side of the desktop.

Reply

Jay Yang

sweet find! wonder if they’ll do one for Chrome!

Yaara Lancet

I tried looking and didn’t find one right away, but there should be something to try if you look through the Chrome webstore.

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Junil Maharjan

I did try it but i felt too much distraction from it so i disabled it.

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Edward Goldblatt

Wow. This is like so many comments about us Opera users: “Oh, you did that with an add-on? Let me show you how I’ve done that for YEARS with just my control panel.”

Bill Board

Huh?

Bill Board

Huh???

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Alan Wade

Thats a great addition to my addons!

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Anonymous

Mozilla is thinking on moving tab bar to side. as the screen width is decreasing every day . the need to free out the spaces on top and bottom of screen increases.
this can also be a good addon.

Reply

bben

Just get rid of the tool bars – I have seen so many monitors with 3 to 6 toolbars and a few with so many they cover half the screen. You need ONLY ONE. the default menu bar. – customize it by removing items you don’t use and adding those you need. Any other tool bars are mostly redundant and are just feeding some tool bar makers pocketbook. (Ask and conduit being the worst) Then, use Adblock Plus – that kills many of the intrusive advertisements that pop up to take up so much screen real estate. If they stayed in the margin, and didn’t have distracting movement and loud intrusive audio They might be tolerable – But no, the ad makers insist on making ads so obnoxious I feel obligated to block them. I have tried whitelisting some sites, but the ad makers manage to screw them up until I block them too.

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Sriyani Dias

nice find.. Thank you soo much for the info.

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Terence Conroy

Very nice extension, but I prefer TotalToolbar.

TotalToolbar allows you to create multiple toolbars and move them to different locations within the Firefox window.

TotalToolbar is not hosted on Mozilla Add-ons but rather on Mozdev.org.

http://totaltoolbar.mozdev.org/

Jeremy Garnett

Will give it a shot. Thanks

Jeremy Garnett

Will give it a shot. Thanks

Yaara Lancet

Interesting, thanks!

Reply

thilina1024

Thanks. Installed it. I’ve been searching for something like this. :)

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Jeremy Garnett

After half an hour’s use it is already gaining popularity at work. Looks like it’ll be even more useful on the laptop at home. Thanks

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Keith Swartz

Neat little device. Awesomely cool toolbar!

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Lisa Santika Onggrid

Maybe you’ll like Flat Bookmarks?
http://www.xuldev.org/flatbm/

Yaara Lancet

Nice, thanks!

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