Firefox, Part (3): Layout – Increasing Window Space

Before we go through and add functionality to your Firefox, let’s clean up its appearance a bit. Personally, I like to have as much screen real-estate as possible, so I’m going to show you how to condense all of your toolbars at the top of the browser.

First things first, unless you have terrible eyesight [interjection: Holding down the Ctrl key and then pushing the + key will make the text larger on the screen. Ctrl and reduces the text size.] we should shrink down those giant navigation icons a bit. Right-click on any of them, and then click “Customize” in the drop-down menu. You’ll get something that looks like this:

Click the box next to “Use small icons”. You’ll notice you just got a huge amount of screen space back! While we’re here, I should point out that you can drag and drop any of those icons onto your toolbars. You can also drag icons from your toolbars back into this window and rearrange the icons on your toolbars. Fiddle with this until you have exactly what you want.

So now you have small icons, but look at all that extra space to the right of your Menu options and bookmarks. There must be some way to condense this…

Click this link to go download the TinyMenu extension. Extensions are little pieces of code written by members of the Firefox community that add extra functionality to Firefox TinyMenu collapses all of your menus into one and calls it “Menu”. Click the huge, green “Install Now” button. A little dialog will appear that has an “Install” button at the bottom. You’ll see it count down from three before you can click on it. I have no idea why addons do this, but they always do.

After installation is complete, your addons window will have opened up. It looks like the screenshot on the left (only yours will be bigger. Note the three tabs at the top, Extensions, Themes, and Installation. The third tab is temporary and is only there when you have just installed something. By clicking on Extensions or Themes you can view all of the addons you have downloaded and uninstall, inactivate, or change settings for them. This window is available from Tools -> Addons. In order for a new addon to become active, you’ll have to restart Firefox. Click the big button that says this.

When Firefox opens back up, you’ll notice all you have on your top bar is one word: Menu.

Of course, this whole exercise was pointless unless we use all that new space to free up space elsewhere, so that’s exactly what we are going to do. As I showed earlier, right click on empty space in one of the top toolbars and go back to the “Cusomize…” window. This enables the drag-and-drop of icons, so now click and hold down on the left arrow in your Navigation bar and then drag it up right next to “Menu”. Let go of the mouse button.

Now you have gone from this

to this

Keep on dragging the icons, search bar, and location bar until you get this setup:

Now you have an entirely empty toolbar! This used to be your navigation bar, but you have converted the bar above it to this task. Right click on your empty nav bar and uncheck “Navigation Toolbar”. Here are some before and afters:

Before

After

Nice, huh? We’ll be getting rid of the bookmarks toolbar later, after we have gone through a few other addons and keyboard shortcuts.

I’ll be adding more soon. In the meantime, happy surfing!

Back to Part (2) | Continue to Part (4)

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