Firefox 3 displays five bars at the top of the application window before it displays the contents of the website loaded in the tab.
There is the title bar, the menu, the navigation toolbar, the bookmarks toolbar and the tabs of course.
They take up about 132 pixels in height on the screen which is more than a fourth of the screen estate of an Asus eeePC 7 and still an eights of the popular 1024x768 screen resolution.
If you analyze the toolbars in the Firefox header you may notice that there is lots of free space there. and if space is of a premium, you may consider it wasted space.
Update: Note that Mozilla modified the Firefox layout quite a bit. Recent versions of the browser show only three toolbars (title bar, address bar and tab bar). You can however display the menu bar with a tap on the Alt key or enable it permanently. Not all suggestions described in this guide can still be applied as a consequence.
The following article is going to show you how to save more than 60% of that header space. It is not necessary to apply all the changes. If you feel that you need the title bar or the status bar then you are of course free to keep them. The article however will be radical and outline how to use minimal screen estate in Firefox.
All the changes outlined are applied by customizing Firefox toolbars and installing several add-ons.
Links are provided when needed. Let us start:
Here is a picture of the default Firefox interface:
And here how it can look like after making the changes
The minimal interface combines several toolbars into one bar and removes the title and status bar.
The status bar and the tab bar are set to automatically hide. They will appear when they are needed.
1. Install Tiny Menu
Tiny Menu compresses the Firefox menu that lists the File, Edit etc entries into one menu item that can be displayed as text or as an icon.
2. Merging the Navigation Toolbar with the Menu bar.
We are now starting to merge toolbars to get rid of some of them. A right-click on blank space in the Menu toolbar will open a menu with the option to customize. Select that option.
Now drag and drop all elements that you need from the Navigation Toolbar (Reload, Home, Stop, Address Bar and Google Search) to the right side of the menu bar.
3. Remove the Navigation Toolbar
The Navigation Toolbar should now only contain items that you have not moved to the Menu Bar.
Right-click the bar and uncheck Navigation Toolbar from the context menu. This should remove that toolbar from Firefox and give us some valuable screen estate.
4. Merg the Bookmarks Toolbar with the Menu Bar
Right-click on a free space of the Menu Bar again and select customize. Now drag and drop the Bookmarks Toolbar Items to the Menu Bar and click on Done. This should clear the Bookmarks Toolbar from any items.
5. Disable the Bookmarks Toolbar
Now right-click on the Bookmarks Toolbar and uncheck it from the menu. This should remove the Bookmarks Toolbar from Firefox as well.
6. Autohide the Status Bar
We already removed two toolbars from Firefox and are half-way through. Install the Autohide Statusbar add-on for Firefox to automatically hide the Status Bar when it is not needed.
Update: Autohide Status bar is no longer needed, as Mozilla has changed the status bar in Firefox 4 and future versions of the browser. The status bar is hidden by default.
7. Disable the Title bar and move the captions to the menu bar
This one is optional. The title bar might be useful for several purposes. It is for instance used to move the window around on the screen. Once it is gone it cannot be moved anymore (only maximized, minimized). The size of the window can be altered but its position cannot be changed. The title bar is also displaying the title of the current website which might be helpful for some users.
Install the Hide Caption Titlebar Plus add-on for Firefox to remove the title bar.
8 Autohide the Firefox Tabs bar
This is another optional step as it seems that many users like to have a view of their tabs bar all the time. If you can live without it for most of the time you might want to consider putting it on auto hide. Moving the mouse into the area where it should be will display the tab bar.
The add-on had to be modified to work with the latest Firefox 3.04 build. You can download it directly here: hide_tab_bar_10dev3a
Now for comparison:
It might not be that easy in the first hours of working with the new interface. Not everything has to be implemented which means that it should be easy to create your very own minimized version of Firefox.
Please feel free to comment, ask or add to the article in the comments.